Food for the Soul
by Tom Fiebiger
At the Soul Food Dinner on October 30, 2016, the people were fed. Souls were fed. In a packed basement we did what Lutherans often do––share meals and conversation.
Ah, but the Redeemer soul food dinner. No hot dish or jello at our church. Soul food that was lovingly made, delicious and comforting for stomachs and souls. Thanks to all who lovingly prepared and served this feast.
Before sharing the soul-filled meal, we had our hearts filled with soulful music, led enthusiastically by Trai and the Redeemer singers. We had new members intentionally say “yes” to joining our Redeemer family. Our Redeemer family warmly received them and asked God to help and guide us. Amen.
We also listened, as part of worship, to an audio of various scenarios that lifted up the way white privilege and systemic racism permeate our everyday life––from our work, to our schools, to our social interactions. How it is present both in ways that are readily apparent, and in ways much more subtle but no less disturbing. There were some technical difficulties that prevented the video from being projected in our Redeemer basement. Yet, that did not seem to matter at all. During the audio presentation, you could have heard a pin drop. Folks were clearly engaged.
That engagement continued as Pastor Kelly invited us to share honest and real conversations at our round tables about what we had just heard. More importantly, he encouraged us not to intellectualize what we heard, but to speak from our emotional self. To speak from our hearts, not our heads. How did what we heard make us feel?
People jumped in at my table and, from what I heard, other tables as well. Truth telling of painful, racist and white privilege experiences were generously shared in a safe, Redeemer family setting. People allowed themselves to be seen, to be vulnerable and human. People listened. What a gift to be able to share in such moments where God is truly present among us.
People shared with the whole group the words they would use to describe the topics they tackled at their respective tables. People used terms like “racism,” “white privilege,” “soul filled,” and “relationships.”
Moving into real and honest dialogue about white privilege and racism in the safety of our church family and loving God, in whose image we are all created, is both challenging and necessary as we continue our journey to become a truly beloved community.
Oh, in case you were wondering, the desserts were my favorite.