Sunday, April 28, 2024

Recovering White Savior

Happy Sunday, Friends,  

As predicted, there has been a spike in folks checking out this blog since my name was published on the list of the United Methodist Council of Bishops' nominees for Judicial Council.  What I didn't think about was that I'd start getting the question "Why do you so prominently call yourself a 'recovering white savior,' and what do you mean by that?"

Welp, I've got a short answer and a very long one. The long one is so long that for about the past seven years I've been chewing on the idea of turning it into a book with the working title Confessions of a Recovering White Savior.  The short answer is this: I grew up in a culture that taught me an understanding of discipleship that was rooted in paternalistic white supremacist assumptions about what doing good in the world looks like.  (I encourage you to read Teju Cole's Atlantic piece titled The White-Savior Industrial Complex for more on this) Along my life journey, I have come to understand and am able to articulate in an academic way why the savior complex is toxic, and I now proactively work to address the racist and classist assumptions that undergird it as well as the counter-productive behaviors that stem from it.  That said, just as a person who has been sober for 20 years may identify as a recovering alcoholic, I identify as a recovering white savior as a reminder to myself where I began and what I could easily slip back into if I don't regularly remind myself to pay attention.  

Hope that makes things a bit clearer, and welcome to my website!  

Also: If you are looking for me IRL this morning, I'll be worshipping at First UMC Charlotte with some of my favorite people. Look for the woman in the orange earth toned patterned dress. If you are too far away to join us, you can tune in to their livestream at 11am local time. 


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