Reading Course One: Learning to See Color
Thursday Evenings | August 6 - 27 | 7:00 pm via Zoom
The first course of reading will be through White Awake by Pastor Daniel Hill.
We encourage reading ahead, so get a copy anytime and start reading.
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In White Awake Pastor Daniel Hill leads us through an exploration of his realization of what it means to be part of the dominant majority culture in society. His book is an exploration of becoming awake to issues of race and color.
The Color of Compromise is history. Jamar Tisby shows a brief history of racism in America and the complicity of American Christians. While there are plenty of examples of overt participation, more importantly he focuses on the far subtler complicity of silence and inaction.
Between the World and Me is not a Christian book. Ta-Nehisi Coates is not a Christian. His book is written as a letter from Ta-Nehisi to his teenage son about growing up in America as a black man. Though not the type of book we commonly read, it is valuable for offering a frank, and sometimes angry account of our history of violence against the black body.
Divided by Faith is the result of a nationwide telephone and face-to-face survey by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith on evangelical attitudes toward race. They found most White evangelicals see no systematic discrimination against blacks. The authors contend that it is not active racism that prevents evangelicals from recognizing ongoing problems in American society. Instead, it is the evangelical movement's emphasis on individualism, free will, and personal relationships that makes invisible the pervasive injustice that perpetuates racial inequality.
In The Next Evangelicalism professor and pastor Soong-Chan Rah calls the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic. Rah brings keen analysis to the limitations of American Christianity and shows how captivity to Western individualism and materialism has played itself out in many American evangelical churches.
In the Third Edition of The Next Christendom, Philip Jenkins continues to illuminate the remarkable expansion of Christianity in the global South - in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Drawing upon extensive scholarship that has appeared on this topic in recent years, he looks at the ramifications of this shift in Christianity's global center of gravity and asks how this is likely to affect the poor, among whom it finds its most devoted adherents.
* This is not an endorsement of all the views of these authors.
Why a Ministry of Racial Reconciliation and Justice
In Genesis 4 we see the immediate results of the sin that entered our world and ourselves in Genesis 3. The short version is this: a man kills his brother out of jealousy and anger. When asked by God where his brother is, he replies “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Interestingly, God doesn’t answer the question in the context of Genesis 4. However, the narrative throughout the rest of the Scriptures shows a God who wants his people to be actively on the side of those who are poor, oppressed, outsiders – in short, the most vulnerable in society.
So, the answer is yes. We are to be keepers; to champion, watch out for, and protect the vulnerable. As keepers we preach the gospel of Jesus so that hearts will be changed, that disciples will be made. We also disciple the church toward kingdom priorities, one of which is being our brother's and sisters' keepers.
Learning and Learning to See
Before we, a majority White church, try to do anything active in the areas of racial reconciliation and justice we must start from a position of learning. Round One will be dedicated to listening to voices on the subject of racial reconciliation and learning, learning to see the role of color in America.
Seeking to learn puts someone in a position of humility. And there is much we can, we must, learn before we act. First, we must understand what it means to be part of the dominant majority culture in America. What are the ramifications and responsibilities of being white? Second, we must learn to see color, to understand and appreciate the history and life experiences of people of color in our majority white society. In these ways we must learn to overcome our luxury of being color blind. Put simply, the first steps are learning and learning how (and what) to see.