Many of us at John Knox Presbyterian Church, along with other Presbyterians in our area, are beginning a project called "Sacred Conversations". This is a project designed to help people of different racial and ethnic groups talk with each other about race. Sounds simple, right? Sounds obvious. Friends from different racial groups talking together about their own experience of race would be a very good way to combat the racial stereotypes and misunderstandings that we are seeing all around us these days.
So why are we so shy about these kinds of conversations? Are we afraid of hurting someone's feelings? Afraid we are even less knowledgeable about the experience of others than we think? Afraid we will be "called out" as racially insensitive? Afraid that when the time comes we won't know what to say? All of the above?
Counselors know that when a client comes for help and says there's one thing they don't want to talk about, often that's the thing that they need to talk about. Though it can be stressful, uncomfortable, and even embarrassing, talking out loud about an issue robs it of its power over us. It doesn't answer every question or solve every problem, but it does create some space for the Spirit of God to enter in, to bring healing. Maybe that's one reason these conversations are called "Sacred."