Over the last week, I have attended the Convocation on the Rural Church where our excellent speakers (Ruby Sales, Rev. Dr. Michael Waters, and Dr. Robert P. Jones) helped us better understand the complexities of racism and the role that the rural church needs to play in addressing them. Upon my return home I gathered with a diverse group of friends to preview Wilmington on Fire, a documentary about the Wilmington Massacre of 1898 and later watched an episode of America Divided called Democracy for Sale that helps us better understand gerrymandering in North Carolina. All of this fueled a growing passion to do something to improve race relations, and then, we learned about all of the turmoil in Charlottesville and it reinforced my convictions. Friends, we have got a lot of work to do.
Here are just a few things I’m learning from all of this:
- White supremacy is related to purity laws. We need to make the connection between the two as Jesus did. Jesus came from a society of purity laws that separated people from one another and he fought against it. We are to do the same.
- History matters. We must begin with the truth. We have failed to be honest in our textbooks and our society has been robbed of knowing the truth about racism in our country.
- Churches have not dealt with the spiritual crisis that is brewing in America. We are in a theological crisis. We have been in the grips of a pernicious, parasitic death driven disease for more than 400 years.
- We are in a cultural war for the soul of America. There is room for all skin colors!
- We need to intentionally develop relationships with people from other races to learn their stories, recognize their gifts and we need to lead others to do the same thing.
- We have all inherited pre-conceived notions about other people. Each of us need to ask ourselves some questions and to search our own hearts.
- Power and materialism are a death sentence that separates us from the love of God and each other.
- We must begin by saying I’m sorry, and then we need to make it an action.
- We are not called to stand still and be quiet. We are to expand and learn and become advocates.
- We need to tackle discrimination of any form related to race, age, gender, and sexuality.
- We need to begin with a tenderness of our own hearts. We don’t have to look very far to find out what we are to do. We have the gift of sacred text and Jesus has laid out excellent examples in the Bible.
A good starting point is to gather with others and ask some of these questions:
- When did you first become aware of race?
- Where is your hurt?
- What is God’s vision for reconciliation and how does that inspire me personally?
- What is my vision for reconciliation?
People of faith need to boldly become involved in the political process and encourage strong leaders to run for positions that can make a difference.
Until we can consider the children of other races as our own children, we haven’t solved racism problems.
God gives us opportunities to make a difference and we need to take advantage of them. We must balance personal holiness and social justice.
Love is shown by doing. If you consider someone a brother, then feel his or her pain. Then get pissed off and do something.
You are invited to participate in the following opportunities:
August 17, 7 pm: Gather for a conversation around race with Latercha McKnight (lay member of Wilson Temple UMC) and me. (St. Francis UMC 2965 Kildaire Farm Rd in Cary)
September 19, 8 am -6 pm: Bus trip to Greensboro to visit the Civil Rights Museum, to have lunch at Bethel AME Church and then to visit the Beloved Community Center. Online registration will be required. (Bus will depart and return to St. Francis UMC in Cary)
October 11, 7 pm: Gather to watch America Divided episode Democracy for Sale that focuses on Gerrymandering in NC (Saint Francis UMC in Cary)
October 18, 10 am-1 pm: Visit the RACE exhibit at NC Museum of Natural Sciences, followed by participating in a Cultural Conversation. Online registration will be required.
November 5, 3 pm: Gather to watch Wilmington on Fire film, followed by a conversation with the Director, Christopher Everett. (Saint Francis UMC in Cary)
To learn more about these and other opportunities, send an e-mail to Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the Racial Harmony e-mail distribution list.
If you would like to print or share this edition of Claire…ification,
you are encouraged to use this pdf:
Claire – What I’m Learning About Race – 08.14.2017
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