The Inbreaking of the Antiracist Work of Christ

Advent is a season when we typically think about the coming of Christ in the birth of Jesus. And yet, advent means so much more; it is about preparing ourselves for the Christ to come in personal, interpersonal, and systemic ways. In the very systems, places, and processes where we are racialized to be black, brown, and white, to be majority and minority, to be white and BIPOC, Christ comes. Christ comes to redeem us within and from these systems. While their legacies are historic and their power is strong, the power of Christ to come anew can be, and must be, more transformative.

“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist,” taught Angela Davis years ago. Unfortunately, the church in American still contributes to racism, but it is not enough for the church in America to become nonracist; it must become antiracist. And, in a racist world, it is not enough for Christ to come to us and be with us as a nonracist. The Christ who comes to us must also be antiracist. We must anticipate and participate in the inbreaking of the antiracist work of Christ seeking to transform our white supremacy culture.   

How do we be on the lookout for this realization?  How do we observe and make it real in our own lives? I am interested in the antiracist work of the church and can see how much more work there is to be done – work that certainly extends beyond Advent! So too will the personal work take time. That is my focus in this series. What are the ways we each personally anticipate, participate, and incarnate God’s coming to us anew? 

Such recognition requires inner work; it requires a prayerful openness to God’s indwelling daily. During advent, we pray for God’s coming with a spirit of penitence and hope, peace, joy, and love. And, through this series, we pray for these with a focus on how we participate in and respond to the role of race and racism in our lives. 

In teaching about God’s coming to Mary, to dwell within her, Richard Rohr reminds us that “there is no mention of any moral worthiness, achievement, or preparedness in Mary, only humble trust and surrender. She gives us all, therefore, a bottomless hope in our own little state. If we ourselves try to “manage” God or manufacture our own worthiness by any performance principle whatsoever, we will never give birth to the Christ, but only more of ourselves.”

If we are not mindful of how our personality gets in the way, then we will never give birth to the Christ, but only more of ourselves. This series invites us to reflect on how the core Enneagram number with which we identify shapes our response to the work of antiracism. We must remember that our number is not something to celebrate, but a passion, a vice, an ego addiction to a false self. This means that 3’s cannot achieve an end to racism; 2’s cannot help their way to ending racism; 5’s cannot investigate our way out of it.  8’s cannot be effective in fighting it nor 9’s by avoiding it. We must grow in new directions by allowing God to do a new thing in us, by being open to how Christ might be born through us.  

…we will never give birth to the Christ, but only more of ourselves.

-Richard Rohr

In seeking this, the Enneagram invites mindful reflections on the responses of your personality.  What kind of response to racism do you offer that is rooted in your number?  To help us see ourselves more clearly, Magee uses the work of Michele McDonald to help us practice RAINing Racism. RAIN includes the processes of recognizing our response to racism, accepting it for what it is in this moment (not accepting it forever, but for a brief moment to learn from its impact on us), investigating more closely how it feels and what it means, and non-identification with its power over us (in order to become unstuck from our habitual patterns and behaviors and to be open to new responses). Being open to this recognition of racism within me and practicing compassion and lovingkindness for myself and others foster courage in our collective work for racial justice.   

This season, through this intentional work, may the antiracist Christ break into our world as never before. May Christ be with us to help us participate in transforming our hurting world.  May we see the ways our personality has hindered this work and continue the journey to Christ being made new in us.

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