The danger of a single story
Dr. Shanitria Cuthbertson addressed the assembly regarding the work we are doing as a synod to address issues of bias and racism. “As toddlers, we begin to understand and conceptualize our world through difference. It’s essential in human development to note difference. The problem is in adulthood, difference and otherness are often manifested in systems of power and oppression.”
Cuthbertson continued, asserting that difference is beautiful, but the church is a place where we become one. And we are one in our Lord. When he meets the woman at the well, the man possessed by demons, the woman who anoints his feet, and the thief on the cross next to him, Jesus tears down gender expectations, the religious practices, and boundaries we have set. So, in following our Lord, this is our work, too.
In response to the resolution to work toward racial reconciliation, the NC synod has been conducting Transforming White Privilege trainings for all rostered ministers. This is only step one in a plan of action to continue to grow in humility and truth regarding power and bias.
This training is important because we have a mission of reconciliation, but unfortunately, we are divided. “This should not be so,” declared Cuthbertson, “not for the ones who are called to be one. We are behind, and this training is the work we need to do before we can lead well.”
Next, Dr. Cuthbertson introduced Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” At the conclusion of the TED Talk, Dr. Cuthbertson invited us into conversation at our tables around the question of how we find ourselves boxed into single-story representation and how we have boxed others into a single story.
The Rev. CeCee Mills finished the session by helping us understand that we have access to training in anti-racism and painted a picture of hope for us, as we move forward in Christ crossing and erasing boundaries that keep us captive. Last but not, they did a drawing for a set of Luther’s Catechism with African-Descent Reflections, and Prince of Peace, Greensboro’s name was drawn to receive them.
Story: Pastor Jennifer Shimota Krushas serves alongside the people of Emmanuel in High Point.
Photo: Sage Rufsvold is a graduate student in the Communication Studies program at UNC Greensboro.