from The Office of the Chaplain
Being indifferent and silent at this moment is to be complicit with a system and world that is against God’s intention for us all. I express my anger and deep sorrow over the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor, Willie Earle and so many others. The evil of racism gives birth to such acts of inhumanity. We honor their lives with our actions.
As Chaplain of Wofford College, my call to action is grounded in the Prophet Micah’s call to “…do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8).
In order to be part of the solution, I will:
- Confront bigotry and racism, including my own, and work diligently to be an active antiracist. I will interrogate the colonial roots of white, Western, Christian supremacy. This means doing some difficult inner work. It means acknowledging the privilege gained from my complicity with the powers and principalities that perpetuate racism. It means working to change the narratives that sustain injustice. It means bringing light to shine upon the darkness of bigotry, racism, intolerance and hatred.
- Engage with others to create courageous spaces where the campus and community may have difficult conversations. Institutional racism, structural racism and systemic racism are perpetuated through racist policy, both written and unwritten. The struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes and understandings, and these new relationships and must be reflected in laws, policies, structures, and practices.
- Treat people with kindness, mercy and compassion by bringing more light than heat to my interactions. I will improve my skills as a certified clinical pastoral educator (ACPE, Association of Clinical Pastoral Educators) in dealing with racial trauma. This trauma manifests itself in the physical, psychological and spiritual symptoms that People of Color often experience after being exposed to stressful experiences of racism. I will avoid violence in my actions and my words. Through active listening, I will seek to heal rather than to hurt.
- Advocate with those who are deeply committed to this struggle for justice, equity and healing. Working toward a world in which each person’s value is respected and nurtured means supporting curricular and co-curricular antiracist efforts on-campus through teaching, advocacy, participation and funding. It means collaborating with students, staff, faculty, alumni, faith groups and others. It means supporting antiracist efforts in personal relationships, faith and civic commitments, and through local, national and international affiliations.
Racism is the church’s unfinished business. This statement alone is not sufficient. We stand at an opportune moment– a kairos moment—a critical time that calls for action. Those who have held the Office of the Chaplain at Wofford have long been committed to positive engagement across difference. In this significant moment in time, spiritual work means standing in solidarity with Black people and proclaiming boldly that Black Lives Matter. It is not lost on this Office that the Hebrew word for spirit (ruach) means breath. In these days, spiritual work means animating that proclamation by engaging in work that breathes life into the ideals of love, peace, racial equity, and justice.
Perkins-Prothro Chaplain & Professor of Religion