We generally don’t see root systems. Despite being out of sight, they are critical to the life of an organism. They provide fuel for its growth. They keep it anchored in place. In his new book, The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy: And the Path to a Shared American Future
“Despite the emphasis on sin in Christian theology as it gets taught in White evangelical churches … I think that many White Christian churches have this deep sense of their own goodness,” Jones explained to Brian Kaylor in a recent episode of Dangerous Dogma.”
When we read about sin and transgressions in the Bible, it is so often in regard to the entire people, not just an individual. Yes, there are plenty of examples but so much of the Bible is about ALL mankind. Western Christianity has come to regard only the individual as the sinner. The Reformed tradition under John Calvin knew full well that we are all corrupt. In the Presbyterian tradition of acknowledging our common sin we almost always use a corporate prayer of confession early in the service. Acknowledging our fault we confess so we can then enjoy the wonderful love and grace of God.
When we emphasize the individual, it’s quite easy to pretend that we had nothing to do with those sins in the past, after all none of us were born at that time so “It's not my problem.” Fortunately, we are the body of Christ and that includes all who came before and all to come. When we don’t confess to our history then God’s restorative justice will never be restored to us!