Welcome to The Basilica of Saint Mary’s Lenten Series, Becoming Human.
Here is the Zoom link for the Summer, 2020 Course:
Here are the materials for each week:
The theory guiding this series is that the racial history we all inherit is dehumanizing for all of us, though it is dehumanizing for white folks in different ways than it is dehumanizing for people of color. The only way to “become human” is to confront the legacy of white supremacy and undergo a process of transformation, even conversion, to engage more humanely in the world, especially across the color line.
Key to this effort is learning the history of how white supremacy has been structured into the American legal system from its founding (week one), persisting beyond the era of Civil Rights especially through the “war on drugs” (week two), and leading to the contemporary reality of mass incarceration (week three). Learning the stages of development in racial identity can help to disrupt the “White Savior” complex, the tendency of white people to engage in efforts that are unhelpful at best, and patronizing at worst (week four). True social transformation can happen when there is a match between our unique gifts and the world’s need. As Frederick Buechner put it, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” (week five). Since theology is a carrier, too, of white supremacy, learning about the Blackness of God might also help in recognizing the moral imperative behind this religious calling to engage in the work of social transformation (week six).
This series will echo the Christian cycle of creation-fall-redemption, starting with the theological idea that humans were created in the imago Dei, but fell into a sinful condition where persons, relations, and structures fail to function in the ways that God desires. Humans were created reflecting something of the divine life, but sin–especially the social sin associated with the domination of one over another–has diminished life, not only for people of color, but also for perpetrators. The final two sessions in the series will point to the hope that God is redeeming us from the condition in which we find ourselves. The series holds onto the hope that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world, enlightening us, empowering us, and encouraging us to resist systems of oppression, and to cooperate in the task of reclaiming our common humanity.
Becoming Human is a partnership between The Basilica of Saint Mary, Chasing Kingdom Media, and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is funded in part by the SOLV Initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences, an interdisciplinary mix of big thinkers, students and community members working together to address real-world problems wherever they exist, and by Academic Affairs at the University of St. Thomas.