Saturday, February 13, 2016

Discussing Race & Racial Justice & the Beloved Community in Lent

Lenten Series: Engaging the Beloved Community

"The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke those words in a 1957 speech, Birth of a New Nation. The tenets of nonviolence that King espoused are the basis for envisioning and building the Beloved Community. The Beloved Community, King believed, is a tangible state of community in which there is no hunger, racism, or oppression. Because each person is equally valued, nonviolence is the answer to conflict, and justice reigns. Reaching the Beloved Community requires difficult and long-term community work rooted in love and justice. Today, as our world watches the children of Flint suffer from lead in their water supply and young people of color cry out for justice in their streets, people of faith above all are called to reengage the holy work of building the Beloved Community. Last summer, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church voted to prioritize evangelism and racial reconciliation by allocating significant funds to that work in our Church’s budget. By funding these dual priorities, The Episcopal Church signified to the world that it is ready to fully engage the work of racial reconciliation and justice. As we enter the holy season of Lent on this Ash Wednesday, we invite you to turn in a new direction toward reconciliation, and walk with us as we explore what it means for The Episcopal Church to build the Beloved Community.

Discussing Race in Lent: Free Online Series
This Lent, ChurchNext, in partnership with Trinity Institute, is offering free online series on racial justice, for all who desire to journey deeper into faith. This series of five courses is based on Trinity Institute’s 2016 conference, Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice.

The Five Free Courses

To take part, you must sign up with You can access the courses at anytime by clicking on the links below. Each course will guide you from video to questions on content and then downloadable discussion questions that invite you investigate how these topics intersect with your daily life. The individual option offers online interaction with other students, the group option includes a facilitator’s guide.

Spirituality and Racial Justice with Michael Curry
available in For Individuals and For Groups formats.

Whiteness and Racial Justice with Kelly Brown Douglas
available in For Individuals and For Groups formats.

Reparation and Racial Justice with Jennifer Harvey,
available in For Individualsand For Groups formats

Theology and Racial Justice with J. Kameron Carter
available in For Individualsand For Groups formats

Racism and Racial Justice with Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
available in For Individuals and For Groups formats

Potential Outcomes

It is the Church’s responsibility and its privilege to take a leadership role in building racial justice. As Bishop Curry teaches in his class, we must review our history, confront our mistakes with humility and courage, and work to turn our culture in a new direction. It is our responsibility, in short, to find the courage to rise up and follow God away from racial oppression, in the hope that others will follow us. We hope these courses help you and your congregation work effectively with the many people across our country who are striving to build a more just world.  For more from ChurchNext on Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations on Racial Justice and how it might be used during Lent, read their blog post here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Church to focus on anti-racism, reconciliation

From today's Forward Day by Day...

Genesis 16:13 So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi.”

Every day, we become more and more aware of national and local discussions about race and the biases we hold. Some prejudices we are aware of, and others lie beneath our consciousness. These biases are a kind of impaired sight. We are not typically consciously judging people based on how they look, but our subconscious vision and our judgment is fallible.

In our Genesis lesson, Hagar calls God El-roi, which means “God who sees” or “God of seeing.” If we follow the God of seeing and we follow Jesus (who instructs us to love others, even the enemy and the stranger), then we are compelled to do all we can to correct our vision.

I often imagine religion, at its best, as a corrective lens. Our liturgies and prayers and communities are tools to help us know and love each other better, to bring us closer to one another where we can see more clearly.

Read it here.

For further consideration:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Racial Equality (Free ChurchNext) Lenten Curriculum

 (The 2016 Trinity Institute conference (TI2016), "Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice," began Thursday, January 21 with a sermon from the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Preaching on chapter 8 of the Gospel according to Matthew, the story of the centurion's servant, Curry urged his listeners to join what he calls "the Jesus movement" to change the world.)
Trinity Institute and ChurchNext are teaming up to help you and your congregation go deeper with one of the most pressing issues of our time. Based on Trinity Institute’s 2016 conference, Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice, a complete Lenten curriculum is being offered including these presenters: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, PhD., Kelly Brown Douglas, MDiv, PhD., Jennifer Harvey, and J. Kameron Carter, PhD.

Each course is free during Lent, 2016.

We’ve just launched the first of these five courses: Spirituality and Racial Equality with Michael Curry, which is available in two formats, For Individuals and For Groups. The second course, Whiteness and Racial Equality with Kelly Brown Douglas, will launch on January 24, with the other three courses to follow on February 7
Bishop Curry has made racial reconciliation one of the priorities of his ministry as Presiding Bishop. He has said,”The choice is ours: chaos or community. That work is the work of finding ways for people to come together to really create and be what Dr. King called the ‘beloved community.’ That’s not just some Utopian ideal. That, frankly, is the difference between life and death for the world.”

Friday, January 22, 2016

We Need to Talk About an #Injustice In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. (from Youtube)

This is a video worth watching and thinking about...

Almighty God, who sittest in the throne judging right: We humbly beseech thee to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of thee alone; through him who shall come to be our Judge, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lear more about what you can do here:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Richard Rohr on White Privilege

There is a very good article in the Huffington Post on White Privilege,;an interview with Richard Rohr.


RT: What does White privilege mean to you? How do you define it?
White privilege is largely hidden from our eyes if we are white. Why? Because it is structural instead of psychological, and we tend to interpret most things in personal, individual, and psychological ways. Since we do not consciously have racist attitudes or overt racist behavior, we kindly judge ourselves to be open minded, egalitarian, "liberal", and therefore surely not racist. Because we have never been on the other side, we largely do not recognize the structural access, the trust we think we deserve, the assumption that we always belong and do not have to earn our belonging, the "we set the tone" mood that we white folks live inside of--and take totally for granted and even naturally deserved. Only the outsider can spot all these attitudes in us. It is especially hidden in countries and all groupings where white people are the majority.
RT: Do you think you have benefited from white privilege? If so, how?
I would have never seen it if I had not been forced outside of my dominant white culture by travel, by working in the jail, by hearing stories from counselees, and frankly by making a complete fool of myself in so many social settings--most of which I had the freedom to avoid! And so recognition was slow in coming. I am not only white, but I am male, overeducated, clergy, a Catholic celibate, healthy, and American! I profited from white privilege on so many fronts that I had to misread the situation many, many times before I began to feel what others feel and see what others could clearly see. Many must have just rolled their eyes and hopefully forgiven me!

Read it all here:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Confronting the Demon of Racism

A wonderful video clip from Trinity Wall Street:

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach Thursday January 21 at Trinity Church Wall Street to open TI2016 “Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice.”  Bishop Curry compares racism to a demon, but offers some encouraging words: he says there is a way for each of us to strip that demon of its power.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Being a Christian in Everyday Life

The Anglican Witness initiative, coordinated by the Anglican Communion Office, has produced a new video, Being a Christian in everyday life, to highlight current issues in churches in the Global South and North, with a view to a possible Communion-wide response through a focus on discipleship or Christian living. [ACNS]

Learn more here.