Christians and Race

"Once again, it is time for the followers of Jesus to make our voice known: Racism is sin. Racism is evil. Racism stands over against everything the Christian Gospel proclaims and believes."

-- from Senior Pastor Sid Batts' Aug. 20, 2017, sermon in response to the events in Charlottesville.

See the entire sermon here. In his sermon, Sid quoted Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail." You can read King's entire letter here.

 

Responding to Inequality header

FPC has a task force dedicated to exploring racial inequalities and our response as a faith community, led by Outreach Committee chair Margaret Arbuckle.

The task force recommends these opportunities and resources:

Racial Equity Training

The Partnership Project and Racial Equity Institute invite FPC members to a Racial Equity Training session May 10 and 11 at First Lutheran Church, 3600 W. Friendly Ave. The training meets from 8:30 am to 5 pm both days. Learn more and sign up using this pdf or sign up online here.

Training is designed to build the capacity of educators, health practitioners, child welfare advocates, judicial representatives, other professionals and those persons who are interested in understanding and eliminating racial inequities and disparities within our society. This workshop is important for people who want to dismantle racism.

If you have questions, contact Margaret Arbuckle,336-274-7122 or margbuck@bellsouth.net.

Readings

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving.

Waking up White book“Here’s the thing: Being uncomfortable isn’t the only thing going on when reflecting on the stories in this book. What you’ll find … is that your life is much richer than you thought, it’s more vibrant, and you have way more resources than you thought you did for understanding what’s goin on with racism in our country. Learning about how to interrupt racism is part of learning how to be a disciple of Christ. We’re learning how to love God and love others as ourselves.”

That’s what PC(USA) says about this book, which was an all-church read in 2016. If you’d like to do a personal study, here is a study guide from PC(USA)

Other reading suggestions

  • When Affirmation Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, Ira Katznelson
  • The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein
  • Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life, David Billings
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by Willie James Jennings
  • Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from the Birmingham Jail
  • Children’s books available at FPC.

Especially for Children

Donna Chase, our director of Christian Formation, recommends "White Flour" by David LaMotte (former GOD Talks guest) because it shows a way to disarm hatred without violence and provides a conversation starter for important discussions with our children. In this video, LaMotte reads the book.

Why Christians Care About Race

Lara and Josh Musser Gritter

As pastors on staff, we often hear questions like, what does the topic of race have to do with faith? Why should our church spend time discussing race when there is so much else going on in the world around us that we could talk about?

It’s a great question and a fair one. One way of answering lies in the story of Pentecost — the day when the church was born.

Read the rest of Josh and Lara's article

What our denomination says

pc(usa)

The Bible insistently reveals that God loves diversity and justice. This is seen in the wide variety of creation in which God delights. It is heard in the words of the prophets, who reject oppression and commend justice as true worship. It is embodied in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, who resists the power of empire and values all persons, regardless of status, as children of God.

Read the entire vision statement.

 

Celebrating our sister church

st james 150

We joined with our sister congregation, Saint James Presbyterian, on Sunday, Oct. 29, for a Service of Celebration and Reconciliation. Saint James was established by a group of former slaves who had worshipped in our church. Of FPC’s 12 founders in 1824, four were enslaved persons: Tony Paisley, Milly Paisley, Molly Paisley, and Kezia Carson.

Learn more and share your ideas about the future of this new ministry of reconciliation here.

Neil Dunnavant's sermon

NeilIt takes our best prayers, our best thinking, our best spiritual discernment to separate the God Almighty Truth from cultural prejudices or rationalizations aimed at promoting and protecting our own selfish interests. -- from Neil's July 1, 2012, sermon titled Great Trouble and Shame: Presbyterians in the South after the Civil War.

Read the entire sermon here.

Other Resources

Guilford Anti-Racism Alliance Web site

Racial Equity Institute Web site

Ted Talk: The Danger of A Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Race: The Power of An Illusion PBS series

How to Talk to Kids About Racism Parents Today article