by Peggy Hahn. LEAD Executive Director

In the midst of all the disruptions in our lives, NOW IS THE TIME to stop saying hurtful words that reinforce stereotypes. Jokes, idioms, and slang comments included.

As one school teacher learned, even the children are paying attention. Thank you, Cora, for your courageous leadership.

When Cora was asked to complete a worksheet she chose to edit the teacher’s work. The teacher took the lesson from the fourth grader to heart. But why did she need it in the first place? Editing for content is even more important than grammar. Don’t miss out on opportunities like this to clean up our act.

We don’t call people “Indians”, we don’t say “too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” and we don’t say “Indian-giver.” When this language, or other words that dehumanize people, come out of our mouths accidentally, we can self-edit by apologizing and removing it from our vocabulary.

Habits may be hard to break, but ask yourself “Why do we have these habits?” and “Whose lives are being devalued by what we ‘don’t mean to say’?” Raising the bar as we gather is only one of the many ways we can adapt to the world around us, but this work is essential.

Following Jesus means calling a thing what it is. Racism is racism, even if we are used to it. Thank you, Cora. You are teaching us all. As much as I want Cora to lead us, I wish with all my heart we didn’t need this lesson. I wish the school had done its work.

As our congregations regroup for Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas and beyond, we have the opportunity to edit our language for authentic relationships with God’s people. Having the courage to step up and call out the way our behaviors separate us from one another is a must-do. Our world is turning and we are leading through this shift. We can trust that God is reforming us to be made new and that means an adamant STOP on words that hurt. This is our work.