Lent is a time for self examination. On his blog, self-described, “Writer. Performer. Youth worker. Educator. What I know is eclipsed by what I don’t. Working and writing for justice in all the ways I know how. Radical imagination. I’m coming for whiteness” Michael Lee writes,
It doesn’t even mean the work you are doing is actually good work, in the same way a white person working with youth of color in a service or philanthropic capacity doesn’t by any means disqualify them from being racist. One of the ideas we have to get beyond is the idea of someone being inherently moral or just or generally “good” because of the nature of the work with which they are involved.
Ouch! Michael is writing about the stumbling blocks, both personal and systemic, that lead us to believe we are good simply because we do good. Centering on white privilege in the world of service to the marginalized, Michael is pretty brutal when he speaks about our complicity in systems, structures and practices that perpetuate inequality.
Thus, I do not position anyone as inherently good for doing “good” work, least of all those of us who benefit most from systems of inequality. Especially when that “good” work can, and often does, quite literally reify the power dynamics which created the need for that work in the first place.
Ouch! So we’re not always as good as we think we are. Vincent and Louise knew this, and called us to practice the virtue of mortification. A modern interpretation of this would be to constantly engage in self-examination and transformation: to reveal to ourselves our own sinfulness and the sinfulness in which we are enmeshed, and ask for the grace to change. Read Michael’s article here. Then take some time and reflect on this video from Vinformation on mortification in our tradition.
How do you feel when confronted with your own sinfulness?
What will you do about it?
I am sinful. #IamVincent.