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PVJ/Voices of Sophia speaker reflects on de-centering privilege

‘Perhaps it’s time we move to the margins.’

July 8, 2010

a woman speaks at a podium

The Rev. Christine Smith, United Theological Seminary, Twin Cities, spoke at the Voices of Sophia Breakfast Tuesday. —Photo by Danny Bolin

MINNEAPOLIS

More than 100 people gathered early Tuesday for the Presbyterian Voices of Justice (PVJ)/Voices of Sophia breakfast as part of the 219th General Assembly (2010).

The Rev. Christine Smith, professor of preaching at United Theological Seminary, Twin Cities, spoke to those gathered on “Reimagining Church: De-Centering Privilege as an Act of Global Citizenship.”

“This notion of de-centering privilege requires reimagining what it means to be human from those who are not privileged,” began Smith. “Then the definition of (who are) God’s people needs to reflect the more than three-fourths of his people who are not so privileged.”

“As I walk into my furnished house and eat the food I have – like this breakfast – and realize that I spend more on my dogs than most people earn to support a family, I realize where I am in all this and that I am not like most of God’s people, and that’s painful for me,” Smith said.

She concluded by challenging attendees to examine the center-to-margin concept. “We are guilty of creating a pseudo-reality where we put ourselves in the center,” Smith said. “Perhaps it’s time we moved to the margins.”

PVJ mission, in part, is to seek the wisdom of the Spirit for following Christ’s example and for living into the hope of sustained gender equality, racial reconciliation, full human rights for lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) persons, economic justice, environmental wholeness, an end to war and all forms of violence and a justice-loving shalom over all the earth.