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.
Browse category by RACE


March 7, 2018 By dwayman

Pastor and theologian Delonte Gholston has written an insightful theological and social commentary in Relevant titled: GET OUT CONTAINS A THEOLOGICAL LESSON THAT IS EASY TO MISS.  After noting that the first Black writer to win an Oscar for Best Screenplay and that he created a whole new genre of film being called the “social suspense thriller”, Gholston applies the insights to the church.  

In part he says:


What does a Jordan Peele suspense thriller have to do with the Church or Christian theology? Well, the reality is that black folk in America are eerily familiar with what I call “sunken-place theology.” As Dr. Curtis Steven Wilder makes painfully clear in his book Ebony And Ivy, the American Church, along with elite colleges and universities, was chief among those who trafficked not only in the kidnapping and commodification of black bodies but also in the development of a theology of black bondage.

We saw new reports recently that our founding father George Washington, who had his very own pew at Christ Church in historic Alexandria, Virginia, (once the largest center of human trafficking in America) quite literally had the teeth of black enslaved people in his mouth. While there is no lack of documentation of how so-called Christians in America quite literally kidnapped and sold black bodies, the Church must still reckon with its theology of black exploitation and the ways in which it continues to manifest itself today.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2018 By dwayman

One of the most powerful statements on the church’s responsibility to work for “justice for all” was written by a Baptist pastor named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It happened in 1963.

In part he says:

“In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation…

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.



January 3, 2018 By dwayman

The systemic racism of our culture is reinforced by the media.  In a Washington Post article this was reported:

“…a research team at the University of Illinois that studies media patterns to examine what an average news consumer might have “learned” about black families (and white families) during the last election cycle. The results were disturbing.

 The study found that, at best, media outlets promoted racially biased portrayals and myths that pathologize black families and idealize white families with respect to poverty and crime. At worst, media outlets amplified those inaccurate depictions for political and financial gain. Such reporting reinforces debunked narratives, helping to justify actions from police brutality to economic policies that will hurt not just black families but all families for generations.

The research team examined more than 800 relevant stories published or aired from January 2015 through December 2016, encompassing coverage from national broadcast and cable news outlets such as ABC, CBS and MSNBC; national mainstream newspapers like The Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today; and online news sites. In both written and television reporting, the researchers found that the news media systemically misrepresented black families.

When the media outlets examined in the study reported stories about poor families, they chose to feature black families in their coverage 59 percent of the time, even though only 27 percent of families living below the poverty line are black. Similarly, in coverage of welfare,

WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.

December 23, 2017 By dwayman

All of us in dominate positions within any given culture, whether it is by race, gender, economics, education or some other distinction, are often unaware of how that privilege harms both us and those who are the “least of these.” And yet as Jesus clearly teaches, how we treat these who do not have what we have, will be the dividing standard. (Matt. 25)


Thus it becomes a spiritual necessity that we understand how to care for these whom Jesus places at the center of our responsibility.  To assist in this two Azusa Pacific University professors, Christopher S. Collins and Alexander Jun have written a quick but necessary book they title:  WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.


These insights will encourage your purchase and study:


  1. We define Whiteness as a system…a larger system that has constructed such a dominant reality that it narrows our sense of choices and beliefs as it relates to race. The system in which we live and operate can be compared to architecture, or a design that creates limited choices one can make when it comes to moving into certain spaces, opening doors, staying or departing….much of reality (or architecture) is designed to be the best fit for one group. Because it is a dominant reality, any group for whom the architecture does not work, it is the fault of the persons in that group – a individual problem that could be adjusted by assimilating….Any segment of an organized body that is 51% White is predominately white.


November 5, 2017 By dwayman

The economic inequality between white and black families is not only a grave injustice but it is not perceived by the whites.  Here is an article in the NY Times that says in part:

Psychologists at Yale recently asked hundreds of Americans these two questions:

For every $100 earned by an average white family, how much do you think is earned by an average black family?

$0-$25 – $26-$50 – $51-$75 – $76-$100 – $100+

For every $100 in wealth accumulated by an average white family, how much wealth has the average black family accumulated?

$0-$25 – $26-$50 – $51-$75 – $76-$100 – $100+

The Yale researchers suspected that many people would not get the answers right.

“I’m a person who studies inequality, who should really know how inequality looks,” said one of the psychologists, Michael Kraus, who researches the behaviors and beliefs that help perpetuate inequality. “And I look at the black-white gap, and I’m shocked at the magnitude.”

Black families in America earn just $57.30 for every $100 in income earned by white families, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. For every $100 in white family wealth, black families hold just $5.04.

If Mr. Kraus, of all people, is taken aback by these numbers, what are the odds that most Americans have a good understanding of them? The answer, he and his colleagues fear,



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.  This has been affirmed by our Free Methodist Schools of Theology of our Universities:

The Statement on Racial Justice has been signed by the Theology faculty of five Free Methodist schools:

School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary
School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University and Seminary
Bastian School of Theology at Greenville University
School of Theology at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary
Department of Theology at Spring Arbor University

In cooperation with SPU’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,



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,



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:


“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,



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%.



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.


“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,