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Play to listen to author Sandra Van Opstal

Individualistic Christianity will not lead to a practice of mutuality. How can we live justly if our spirituality centers ourselves? Justice starts with shifting concern from ourselves to others. Western Christians across traditions have taken communal practices and colonized them into individualized practices. God’s people have a long practice of feasting and fasting in households along the way. Our rituals, which can be done anywhere, provide an embodied connection to our salvation (liberation, healing, flourishing). Submerging into water for baptism, lighting a candle on our birthday, and kneeling for prayer are ways our bodies connect a moment with meaning. Lent rituals can be meaningful markers to remember what Jesus offers us in his life, death, and resurrection. Here are some practical ways we can decolonize lent:

  1. Communal Examination: Invite one another to reflection and repentance by praying and meditating on scripture. 
  2. Liberative Repentance: Ask for forgiveness from those you have dismissed, harmed, or silenced. Apologizing is liberative. Confess the times you have kept silent and commit to raising your voice on behalf of those suffering. 
  3. Intentional Sacrifice: Give up or pick up something that will be a blessing to your body. Fasting from something or inserting a new practice could bless you and renew you. (Focusing on food is not always helpful for folks who have a complicated relationship with eating.)
  4. Disruptive Wisdom: Confront your narratives by engaging music, poetry, visual art, and books created by people who are of a different ethnic, racial, class, and denominational perspective. 
  5. Equitable Space: Center BIPOC Voices. Black Christians have been denouncing systems of racism in the church for years. Brown Jesus-loving theologians have been decolonizing faith for years. Find ways to amplify these voices in your community. 
  6. Collective Solidarity: How can we, as BIPOC folk, advocate and elevate one another’s struggles for justice? Talk to your brothers and sisters and seek out specific ways to support and encourage their work. 
  7. Generous Giving: Financially support BIPOC led movements and people caring for the most vulnerable. Make your budget a place where you practice fasting and emptying.

Follow our lenten journey towards liberation on IG @chasingjustice_ and Youtube.

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