We believe every church needs to include an ongoing dialogue about race relations into their current focus. And it’s time for Anglo Americans to speak up about racial injustice. I saw a sign the other day that said, “White Silence = Racial Violence: Don’t Get Defensive, Get Informed.” We need reliable resources to do that well. First, read the verses that address ethnicity, then check-out the resource links below. There is also a section entitled “Family Resources.” Finally, note the ways you can pray at the bottom of the page.
What Scripture Says…
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Acts 10:34-35 “God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Acts 17:26 “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.”
Malachi 2:10 “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?”
Colossians 3:11 “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Revelation 5:9-10 “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’”
Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.”
Romans 10:12-13 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Acts 10:28 “And he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.’”
From Matthew Clair and Jeffrey S. Denis’s “Sociology on Racism.” They define racism as “individual- and group-level processes and structures that are implicated in the reproduction of racial inequality.” Systemic racism happens when these structures or processes are carried out by groups with power, such as governments, businesses or schools [or churches]. Racism differs from bias, which is a conscious or unconscious prejudice against an individual or group based on their identity.
Defining White Privilege
White privilege is—perhaps most notably in this era of uncivil discourse—a concept that has fallen victim to its own connotations. The two-word term packs a double whammy that inspires pushback. 1) The word white creates discomfort among those who are not used to being defined or described by their race. And 2) the word privilege, especially for poor and rural white people, sounds like a word that doesn’t belong to them—like a word that suggests they have never struggled.
This defensiveness derails the conversation, which means, unfortunately, that defining white privilege must often begin with defining what it’s not. Otherwise, only the choir listens; the people you actually want to reach check out. White privilege is not the suggestion that white people have never struggled. Many white people do not enjoy the privileges that come with relative affluence, such as food and/or economic security. Many do not experience the privileges that come with access.
And white privilege is not the assumption that everything a white person has accomplished is unearned; most white people who have reached a high level of success worked extremely hard to get there. Instead, white privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort.
Francis E. Kendall, author of Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, comes close to giving us an encompassing definition: “having greater access to power and resources than people of color [in the same situation] do.”
Some starter links to check out…
- Pray for people of color throughout our nation for healing, for hope, and for justice.
- Pray for law enforcement officers. The vast majority are serving honorably and faithfully yet have had their character maligned and their moral authority undermined by the sinful actions of a few.
- Pray for our church that we could look as much like heaven as possible. We want people of color to feel safe, honored and welcomed in our midst.