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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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.  



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?



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.”



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).



April 1, 2017 By dwayman

In the medical world the language of Cultural Humility is replacing Cultural Competence.  Often Cultural Competence is seen as being an end point – where a person is assumed to now be competent in providing medical (pastoral) care for persons of a different culture.  However, the recognition that every individual is culturally unique (as well as unique in their spiritual journey), we should be humble in discovering who this unique person truly is.

This video is a short two minute explanation of how to use Cultural Humility:



March 29, 2017 By dwayman

A Sign of Solidarity and Support:

A Word from St Paul’s Free Methodist Church

Dear Editor:

After a recent conversation with Police Chief Lou Lorton and Sergeant Deb Keserauskis, one of our pastors was encouraged to share with the larger Greenville community why we have decided to place a Black Lives Matter sign on our lawn. The following is our latest thinking about why we continue to replace our sign every time it is taken.

We understand that there are many differing viewpoints regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, and we want to be sure to state that we do not support or condone violence in any form, especially toward police. We believe such violence is profoundly unChristian.

Our decision to display a Black Lives Matter sign on our church lawn is simple: we want to say “black lives matter.” Since its beginning in 1860, the Free Methodist Church has been committed to racial justice and equality. Our denomination’s founders were abolitionists. The BLM movement is a current-day expression of this commitment to racial justice and equality, and we believe this commitment is at the heart of the gospel.

We share the goals of the Black Lives Matter Yard Sign Project (founded in St. Louis,, on the one hand to create conversation but also to show the solidarity and support that this movement intended (

At St Paul’s we are committed to giving witness to the good news that God was in Christ reconciling the whole world to himself.



December 20, 2016 By dwayman

A fact sheet and call to action for local churches

Slavery and human trafficking in all their forms are unjust, destroy human dignity and devalue human life. We denounce and resist all forms of slavery and human trafficking: indentured servitude, trade slavery, sex-slave trade, and the forced sale and/or transport of people (forced adoption for profit and mail order bride for profit). We actively oppose slavery by establishing local and global networks in conjunction with existing Free Methodist ministries to combat slavery through prayer, education, advocacy, rescue, protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims. We oppose the people and organizations responsible for human trafficking and call for the application of justice. (Position adopted by the 2007 General Conference of the Free Methodist Church – USA.)

Did you know? Slavery still exists!

Slavery was officially abolished in the United States in 1863 by the Emancipation Proclamation.
Slavery is illegal in virtually every country in the world. However, it is still a relatively common human rights violation in almost every country in the world.

More than 27 million people are currently enslaved.
While the numbers shift constantly, and because slavery is underground it is difficult to assess, careful review suggests that more than 27,000,000 people are enslaved in the world today.[1]

More than 50,000 slaves are being used in the United States.
While estimates vary widely, conservative estimates tell us that at least 17,000 people are trafficked and forced into slavery each year in the U.S.