Privilege -- noun

a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by person beyond the advantages of most:

a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities:.

a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions.

the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.

Dictionary.com

Privilege is a buzz word these days. To call it a buzz word is not to be flippant or to take the issue of privilege lightly. To call it a buzz word is to acknowledge that it is being talked about, written about, discussed, debated and engaged. Who has privilege? Who does not? How does privilege manifest itself? What are the consequences of privilege, not just for the people who have it, but for those who do not?

These are questions that will be asked at United Presbyterian Church’s next Community Forum on Thursday, June 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Invisible Privilege/Visible Consequences is the topic of this second forum; it developed out of the discussion at our first forum, Being Christian in a Divided World. We believe that privilege is present in all aspects of society. It is not limited to race, but intersects with class, gender, orientation, religion, age, and so on.

As people of faith, we want to uncover privilege and understand better how it affects us and our relationships. Jesus called people to reexamine who is our neighbor. As people of faith, we want to be better neighbors to all of God’s children. If privilege challenges our ability to be the kind of neighbor that Jesus called us to be, then we want to not only understand it, but to work to dismantle it.

The forum will be moderated by the New Vision Committee of United Presbyterian Church. No one on this committee is an expert on the issue of privilege. But we know that we have it. We know that it works in our lives for good or bad. We are still learning what privilege means, but we want to make visible what is invisible. Our hope is that this forum will not only start the conversation, but give us new ways to talk about privilege that will help, heal, reconcile and encourage.

We invite our neighbors to join us in this important conversation. We hope that it will be the next step in building a Shawnee that is even more united, compassionate and inviting to all. Please join us on Thursday, June 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at United Presbyterian Church, 120 N. Broadway, Shawnee. Won’t you be our neighbor?