Church, Leadership


I spent 90 minutes with a congregant yesterday plotting an adult education unit on race. We’re pretty sure what we don’t want.

We don’t want people to say, “Ugh. Are we still talking about this?”

We don’t want white self-flagellation (my congregant is African-American).

We don’t want abstract theorizing about problems “out there.”

Instead, we want candid conversation about who we are as a congregation that both acknowledges the barriers to racial diversity our worship and fellowship erect but that also is grounded in the reality of who, really, is likely to participate in a Presbyterian church in a community that is 3/4 white.

We want a space where stories are shared: stories of struggle, stories of endurance, stories of faithfulness.

We want to raise awareness about the discrepancy between the racial composition of our community and the ones to our south and east.

We want to be transformed by the gospel:

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

And we want all that in three 45 minute increments.

As thought bait, watch this Vox video on race and tell me what you think.


4 thoughts on “R-A-C-E

  1. I had a surprising conversation with a mom friend last week. She has blonde pale eyed children, and she looks “ethnic”. She described one time when her toddler has having an epic fit, and she had to go on an errand to pick up their to-go dinner. The kid screamed non stop. While she was getting her food, a woman bystander planted herself near her car and stared at her the whole time.

    My friend was pretty sure that this bystander thought she had kidnapped the kid. She vacillated between feeling afraid that the lady was going to call the authorities on her, and resenting that idea, and then wondering why (since the woman obviously thought something terrible was happening) she DIDN”T follow through on her responsibility to act.

    It’s about feeling different. I myself look blazingly anglo. And yet most of the time I feel totally totally different and other-than whatever environment I’m in.

  2. My church is using The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander as a springboard for a discussion on institutional racism. The book has a helpful study guide. I recommend it. The class is going well.

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