These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
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SPU THEOLOGIANS’ COMMITMENT ENDING RACISM

SPU THEOLOGIANS’ COMMITMENT ENDING RACISM

September 27, 2017 By dwayman

We rely on our Free Methodist Universities to provide wisdom and guidance to our denomination.  The religion department of our university in Seattle, Seattle Pacific University has done just that in this statement.  In cooperation with the university’s John Perkins Center and Office of University Ministries our theologians give this guidance:

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action

As Christian leaders, we commit ourselves to the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to stand with those who experience discrimination and racism.  We commit ourselves to challenge expressions of racism occurring in various institutions of our nation, such as law enforcement, the legal system, the educational system, political structures, and the Church.

We repent for the ways Christians have been and still are complicit participants in these injustices.  In light of our history and recent events in our nation, we believe it is necessary to reaffirm our commitment to reject ethnic nationalism, injustice, and violence.

We thank God for all who pursue Biblical justice, reconciliation, and the creation of church and civil communities that guard all people’s rights and well-being.  We reaffirm God’s call to churches to proclaim and embody the prophetic and redemptive message of our Lord—that true peace and reconciliation require justice.

We make this declaration in humble recognition that justice is not brought about by proclamations alone, but by the redemptive and sanctifying work of the triune God.  Lives that fulfill, by grace, the biblical command to do justice,

UNPACKING PRIVILEGE

UNPACKING PRIVILEGE

August 13, 2017 By dwayman

Understanding privilege is far more difficult for those for whom it is a daily experience.  This causes systems, (church, economic, justice, social, educational) to remain systemically unjust.  Thus when those without privilege step up and ask for justice, the privileged feel threatened or displaced.

It is not enough to just understand privilege but to also be those who “seek justice” for all.  That is not only a deeply Christian value but a human one.  As Free Methodists our commitment is stated in our Ordination Vow when we say we are “insistent for justice”:  Rooted in a deep love for Christ and sharing His compassion for people, Free Methodist elders help create congregations that are fervent in prayer, enthusiastic in worship, holy in lifestyle, insistent for justice, caring for the poor, and reaching out locally and globally to bring all people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

To help everyone have a common language here is an article post on the conversation-empowering website National Seed Project.  This was written in 1989 as we were just beginning to understand the dynamics.  Much progress has been made since then.

It says in part:

As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege,

FROM WHITE HOODS TO WHITE LIES

FROM WHITE HOODS TO WHITE LIES

June 28, 2017 By dwayman

One of the modern self-described abolitionist is black photojournalist Johnny Silvercloud.  He writes about race and justice in ways that require a thoughtful consideration and response.  To begin the conversation here are two of his writings:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THOSE OLD RACIST WHITES FROM THOSE CIVILE RIGHTS PHOTOS:

“All those angry, yelling, vulgar white faces.  What ever happened to them?  When the Civil Rights Act was placed into law, did all these people just vanish?  Did they all out of nowhere, realize that they were wrong, and we were right, and stopped their racist thoughts and ideologies?

I highly doubt that the white faces in the first Civil Rights Era just automatically let go of their racist ideologies.  Those people only accepted the Civil Rights social change with contempt and learned how to BEHAVE when laws changed.  These old racist white supremacists, similar to insurgents after the collapse of the Iraqi Army in 2003, only laid low, kept their racist ideologies, and waited.  During this wait, there was a refinement of white supremacy.  White supremacy — racism in America — had to adapt, and it did….

Being that white supremacists always preferred hoods and masks, nothing really has changed.  Instead of preferring white hoods, they now prefer white lies.  The white, Ku Klux Klan hood, while still existing in reality, has long been abandoned for a metaphorical one: double-speak, coded language,

DRAMATIC RISE IN INTERMARRIAGES – PEW RESEARCH

DRAMATIC RISE IN INTERMARRIAGES – PEW RESEARCH

May 20, 2017 By dwayman

One of the indicators that American culture is uniting the races  in shared life is not only the number of intermarriages but also in the increased support of these marriages.  In a recent PEW study the increase in both has been found to be significant in the last twenty years in the United States.  The authors are  AND 

In part the research has found:

In 2015, 17% of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.2 In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states.

More broadly, one-in-ten married people in 2015 – not just those who recently married – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. This translates into 11 million people who were intermarried. The growth in intermarriage has coincided with shifting societal norms as Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities, even within their own families.

The most dramatic increases in intermarriage have occurred among black newlyweds. Since 1980, the share who married someone of a different race or ethnicity has more than tripled from 5% to 18%.

WALKING WHILE BLACK: GARNETTE CADOGAN ON THE REALITIES OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA

WALKING WHILE BLACK: GARNETTE CADOGAN ON THE REALITIES OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA

May 15, 2017 By dwayman

Listening to the experiences of our people of color is vital to our understanding, compassion, wisdom,identification and unity:  Read this account.   This articles is written by a Jamaican who loved to walk and then came to the U.S.  His name is Garnette Cadogan.

Excerpts:

“My only sin is my skin. What did I do, to be so black and blue?”

–Fats Waller, “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue?”

On my first day in the city [New Orleans], I went walking for a few hours to get a feel for the place and to buy supplies to transform my dormitory room from a prison bunker into a welcoming space. When some university staff members found out what I’d been up to, they warned me to restrict my walking to the places recommended as safe to tourists and the parents of freshmen. They trotted out statistics about New Orleans’s crime rate. But Kingston’s crime rate dwarfed those numbers, and I decided to ignore these well-meant cautions. A city was waiting to be discovered, and I wouldn’t let inconvenient facts get in the way. These American criminals are nothing on Kingston’s, I thought. They’re no real threat to me.

What no one had told me was that I was the one who would be considered a threat.

Within days I noticed that many people on the street seemed apprehensive of me: Some gave me a circumspect glance as they approached,

THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

May 4, 2017 By dwayman

In his book released May 2, 2017, Richard Rothstein writes about the United States’ government programs that segregated our neighborhoods and created much of the economic and educational inequities we experience today.

Rothstein presents a comprehensive explanation of various government programs and how the result of many was the segregation of the poor into areas of a city which then produced a lower tax-base with inadequate funding for education, police and other aspects of life taken for granted by the middle class, primarily white citizens.

He writes;

In 2014, police killed Michael Brown, a young African American man in Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis.  Protests followed, some violent, and subsequent investigations uncovered systematic police and government abuse of residents in the city’s African American neighborhoods.  The reporting made me wonder how the St. Louis metropolitan area became so segregated.  It turn out that economic zoning – with a barely disguised racial overlay- played an important role.

To prevent lower-income African Americans from living in neighborhoods where middle-class whites resided, local and federal officials began in the 1910s to promote zoning ordinances to reserve middle-class neighborhoods for single-family homes that lower-income families of all races could not afford.  Certainly an important and perhaps primary motivation of zoning rules that kept apartment buildings out of single-family neighborhoods was a social class elitism that was not itself racially biased.  But there was also enough open racial intent behind exclusionary zoning that it is integral to the story of de jure segregation.  

WHAT IS A RACIAL MICROAGRESSION COMMUNICATING?

WHAT IS A RACIAL MICROAGRESSION COMMUNICATING?

April 27, 2017 By dwayman

By Denny Wayman

As a pastoral counselor I have had both formal and informal training in cross-cultural counseling.  However in that training we often think that we have a window into the lives of people from another culture.  But the truth is that we often only have more informed prejudices.

One of the areas in which this occurs is in many forms of micro-insults and microaggressions.

The university of Minnesota created a chart to help explore what people of color experience as a microagression:  Click Here

Wikipedia describes a Microagression this way.

“A microaggression is the casual degradation of any marginalized group. The term was coined by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Piercein 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans.[1][2][3][4] Eventually, the term came to encompass the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group, such as the poor or the disabled.[5] Psychologist Derald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership””

What is your experience?

RACE RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH

RACE RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH

April 12, 2017 By dwayman

Love L. Sechrest teaches at Fuller Seminary.  In this article she writes on Race Relations in the Church.

In this article she makes this observation:

“Indeed more often these days I find that I want to challenge the whole category of “racial reconciliation,” since I am now profoundly troubled by the phrase. As the earliest generation of evangelical activists articulated it, the concept was complex and nuanced and always included a focus on institutional racism in society along with the discussion of interpersonal relationships. However, recent evangelical discourse about racial reconciliation tends to diminish the notion by focusing only on overcoming personal prejudice while turning a sometimes deliberately blind eye to structural matters of inequality like poverty, education, health outcomes, criminal justice issues, and the like. I prefer to talk about “race relations in the church” as a category for this kind of work rather than to focus on “reconciliation” as an overarching theme. The former surely includes the latter and is broad enough to include a topic like restorative justice, a biblical concept that usually receives short shrift in evangelical discussions of race. In other words, the divisions we face today are not going to be healed by weeping for an hour followed by a hug.”

BT Roberts OPEN OPPOSITION TO ALL WRONG and INJUSTICE

BT Roberts OPEN OPPOSITION TO ALL WRONG and INJUSTICE

April 5, 2017 By dwayman

In 1860 our Free Methodist founder, Benjamin Titus Roberts, wrote in the April EARNEST CHRISTIAN that:

Open opposition to all wrong and injustice is another element of Scriptural righteousness. Many who will not do wrong themselves will countenance it, at least indirectly, in others. This is usually the first step in a loss of virtue. They who, for the sake of party interest, personal relationship, or any other cause, is silent when they should reprove, will soon apologize for, then justify, then approve, and, if occasion serves, perpetuate the wrong from which, at first, their moral sensibilities revolted. 

Often as we live our blessed lives due to Christ’s work in us, we can live in that blessing without speaking out against the injustice and wrong so prevalent in our day.  These convicting words, written 157 years ago, remind us that Christ calls  us to an active participation in bringing justice and mercy to our world.

Our 2015 Free Methodist Book of Discipline says it this way:

¶3221       Worth of Persons

We are committed to the worth of all humans regardless of gender, race, color, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

The  Old  Testament  law  commands  such  respect  (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).