jesus, politics, justice, mission & life

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exploring privilege

Chicago and Oklahoma are very different places. Not just in the pace of life or the weather. But in more real ways like wealth disparity, racial tensions, gang violence and major failings in public education.

My experience on these issues has been extremely one-dimensional. I have an awesome family that gave me every shot at success. I’ve grown up in predominantly wealthy communities and went to affluent churches. I went to schools and universities that lacked diversity. I grew up in a well-to-do family and never felt out of place or unsafe. I have a nice sales job that I’ve always wanted. I’m largely thankful for all of it.

However, over the past months I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the privilege in my life. Whether it me that I am male, white, American, Christian, straight, wealthy, etc. There are numerous ways that I have been given advantages in the world and have had opportunities others work a lifetime to be able to hand to their children.

Over these months, I have made it a value to expose myself to different voices with beliefs, income and skin colors that differ from my own. I’ve enjoyed reading, following and listening to leading voices in the Black Lives Matter movement, those struggling at the border, the abandoned women and children, the hungry and broken panhandlers and the countless protesters fighting to be heard and recognized around the country and the world.

It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing; nor is it about right or wrong. It’s about understanding and acknowledging the different realities those around us live in. Being exposed to these stories and experiences opens my eyes to the different realities we live in. It allows us to better understand the struggles and oppression people are fighting against. It allows us to fight against the racial discrimination and economic injustice that pervades Chicago and the world. I’m convinced if we don’t look outside our own narrative, we will always be stuck in our own experiences and not be able to emphasize with others. Being stuck in our own story keeps us turning a blind eye to the injustices we see around us rather than stand in the gap and fight oppression.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to explore how my privilege has affected my views and beliefs. I have a feeling it has affected more than I know. It has likely touched every area of my life.

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