OWNING OUR PAST: A HISTORY & THEOLOGY OF RACE

Racism has been deeply embedded in both society and religion, so how can we take part in the righting of the wrongs of generations both past and present?  At our last gathering on Sunday, Oct. 22, The Open Table community began a series of conversations on race, which will feature diverse voices from the greater Kansas City area over the next several months.  This series is a continuation of various conversations we’ve been having for a year now, but in more detail and depth because we believe the church needs to be talking about race in sustained and honest ways.

Our dialogue topic for the first night was about how racism has evolved over time in both the church and society, and our guest teachers were Dr. Angela Sims and Dr. Nancy Howell.  Dr. Sims is VP of Institutional Advancement and the Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Associate Professor in Church and Society at Saint Paul School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary in Overland Park, KS.  Dr. Howell is also at Saint Paul, serving as Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Religion and Poppele Professor of Health and Welfare Ministries.  They asked us where we found ourselves in this conversation and how we had experienced our own racial identities.  We watched a clip from the series “RACE – The Power of an Illusion” (link below) and asked some questions:

What illusions are operative in myself?  In my family?  My church?  What is at stake when we begin to talk about personhood?  Who is excluded?  Included?  Who benefits?  

We are often afraid to tell the truth and dismantle and reconstruct our ideas about race.  Our prayer is that we would be faithful to do this as a community throughout this series.

If you didn’t get the chance to join us, you can listen here, and check out the resources below.

 

RESOURCES

Video“Race – The Power of an Illusion”

Food for Thought: “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

Prayer: “I seek the strength to overcome evil,” by Dr. Howard Thurman in Meditations of the Heart

I seek the strength to overcome the tendency to evil in my own heart.
I recognize the tendency to do the unkind thing when the mood of retaliation or
revenge rides high in my spirit;
I recognize the tendency to make of others a means to my own ends;
I recognize the tendency to yield to fear and cowardice when fearlessness and
courage seem to fit easily into the pattern of my security.
I seek the strength to overcome the tendency to evil in my own heart.

I seek the strength to overcome the evil that is present all about me.
I recognize the evil in much of the organized life about me;
I recognize the evil in the will to power as found in groups, institutions and individuals;
I recognize the terrible havoc of hate and bitterness which makes for fear and panic in the common life.
I seek the strength to overcome the evil that is present all about me.

I seek the strength to overcome evil; I must not be overcome by evil.
I seek the purification of my own heart, the purging of my own motives;
I seek the strength to withstand the logic of bitterness, the terrible divisiveness of hate, the demonic triumph of the conquest of others;

What I seek for myself I desire with all my heart for friend and foe alike.

I seek the strength to overcome evil.

 


 

If you would like to contribute to the cost of our shared meals and conversations, we invite you to donate by texting the word “give” to 816-656-3310.

 

By | 2017-11-07T17:24:23+00:00 November 7th, 2017|Comments Off on OWNING OUR PAST: A HISTORY & THEOLOGY OF RACE

About the Author:

Wendie Brockhaus, MDiv, is the Assistant Curator of The Open Table in Kansas City, Missouri. She considers herself "polyliturgical," as a member of the United Church of Christ, a pastor for a Presbyterian Church Plant, and a former Director of Spiritual Formation/Adjunct Instructor at local Methodist and Baptist seminaries. She has also served as a public school music teacher and hospital chaplain at an urban trauma center. She is married to Michael and they have two wily german shepherds. When she isn't reading voraciously, she enjoys Star Trek, shared meals, and long walks on the beach (born in L.A.).