We at the Tennessee Association of Pastoral Therapists join with those in pain.
Living at the intersection of psychotherapy and pastoral concern does not mean that we hide in our offices and places of worship. Living at the crossroads means being present to, engaged with, moved in our deepest beings by current events not just in our inner circles but in the world around us. Some things affect us in similar ways – tornadoes, viruses – but some things hit us very differently. For those of us who are white clinical pastoral therapists, some things don’t hit us at all – things like batons, tasers, pepper spray, and police bullets.
Say their names: Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Horribly, by the time you read this, some of these will be already fading, and there will be new names.
Systemic cruelty, police brutality, racial profiling and violence – these are embedded in our culture, woven into the fabric of what it means to be American, what it means to be a Tennessean. At TNAPT, many of us are white and enjoy white privilege, while being unconscious of it. We confess that we are complicit in this unjust system. We commit to raising our awareness, confronting our unconscious, condemning injustice in all its forms.
We at TNAPT believe that Black lives matter. Don’t all lives matter? Yes, of course, but plainly some lives matter a lot more than others. In the words of the Reverend Stephanie Dodge, “Because we serve a God who sides with the oppressed, because we serve a God who would leave the ninety-nine in order to find that one lost person, we will continue to proclaim that black lives matter, until black and brown people of all colors are valued as much as white people are.”
As people of faith, we have a responsibility to resist evil. As pastoral therapists, we are committed to shepherding individuals and families in their personal and systemic healing and therefore we have a responsibility to carefully construct paths towards reparation and reconciliation when possible. We who gather under the banner of the Tennessee Association of Pastoral Therapists commit to our African American members and siblings to engage in the struggle for justice. Where there is no justice, there is no peace. We resolve to stand with our oppressed brothers and sisters, in general and in specific, in principle and in person. We pledge to resist evil and injustice in whatever forms they take. Racism and white supremacy are sins, are evil, are things we must repent of as a society. We commit to loving acts of resistance, to giving our lives away to protect, to serve, to heal, to stand with and walk with, any and all who walk these crossroads.
DST + LRK 06.03.20