Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
February 03, 2021

 Listening to the news this morning, something caught my ear in an unusual way. The reporter was discussing the varying effects of COVID-19 on different communities. The reporter stated that “black communities are harder-hit by the effects of the virus.”

For the first time I asked myself why we refer to certain communities as sub-groups, when we are really all in this human race together? For example, if we refer to Black, Latino, or Asian communities in a manner that makes them sound like they don’t belong to “regular communities”, we are reinforcing the separation that has crippled us as a Nation to this day.

If we refer to “gay communities”, we are perpetuating the idea that we are separated by sexuality. If we refer to “straight” communities, we are really saying the opposite of “straight” is “crooked”, or non-conforming.

Any language we use that divides any group or sub-group from another, widens the gap between humans. This has been a problem since the founding of this Nation, and the founding of the world. Humans insist on separating one another according to a shifting set of values devised in our own minds.

Unfortunately, the way we live-out our differences has changed very little. We still choose to separate one another into “communities” that often do not interact with or respect each another. We perpetuate this separation with our use of language that highlights our differences rather than our commonalities.

 Why can’t we say, “some communities are harder-hit than others”, without assigning a demographic explanation or justification? If asked which communities we are talking about, we could refer to geographic areas rather than use language that wrongly defines and perpetuates division.

I understand this is not as easy as it sounds. Some people will continue to define others by the same old destructive language. Others will be willing to re-shape their use of language toward a more inclusive style.

It will take time, and the passing of a generation or two, before we realize a significant improvement in our use of language to describe one another, and it must happen. The time to begin is now.

In the well-known hymn, “In Christ There is No East or West”, these words are sung: “Join hands, then, people of the faith, whate’er your race may be. All children of the living God are surely kin to me.” (John Oxenham, 1908)

We all share this island planet. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. We all cry when we are sad. We all bleed when we are injured. We all suffer when any one suffers. And, we are all redeemed by Jesus Christ.

If we proclaim Jesus as Lord, we cannot deprive anyone else of God’s love. We simply don’t have the right or the power to do so. It is time we stop devolving and begin evolving toward a brighter image of Christ.

Blessings and Peace to You All,
Fr. David+


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