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Written by Gradye Parsons

Each month the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Moderator or Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly write a column of general interest for the church-at-large.

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September 1, 2014

September 2014 - A theology of preciousness

School has started in our city. I watch the young people from our neighborhood trudge up the little hill to the front of the subdivision to catch their bus. Because it takes a while to figure out which bus is the right bus, the mothers are often seen standing in front of homes watching their children until the bus comes along. Then, one by one, they take their coffee mugs and head back into their houses.

I am even more aware that some of the moms still carry a great deal of anxiety about those children. The mothers of color have the extra burden that some unintended action by their sons may get them into trouble and possibly shot. They might not receive their sons back at the end of the day, but receive a phone call or a knock on the door with the message that no parent ever wants to receive.

As Reformed people we don’t have a theology of perfection. It is probably because we have met so many other Reformed people. But I want to suggest we consider a theology of preciousness—a theology that honors God’s love for all of God’s children.

Now maybe you think preciousness is a word for grandchildren. However I think we need to incorporate it in the storyline in our head about all people. So we see the tired clerk at the convenience store as precious, the grumpy nurse as precious, the bad driver as precious, and other people’s children as precious. If we wait to find the perfect person to bestow the title of precious, we will never ever change that tape in our head.

It is that tape that must be changed. It is that tape that must develop a new song about God’s sons and daughters. It is that tape that must be reprogrammed to not prejudge one of God’s children because of the color of their skin. I owe it to the moms of color in my neighborhood to try to build a world where they can be certain their sons will come home.

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Tags: anxiety, gradye parsons, monthly column, preciousness, school, stated clerk