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 posts tag by racism
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.


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,



September 10, 2017 By dwayman

This is the official explanation (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) of the events during the 1930’s when hundreds of thousands of Mexican people were coerced into returning to Mexico.  The reasons were racist and economic.  It reveals the complexity of the situation in which the “official proceedings” were responsible for only a small portion of those who were coerced to leave.  The majority left out of fear due to the threats they received.  You can read this official report here.

The official explanation says in part:

“In most cases, however, no federal record exists for these departures. This is because, while an estimated 400,000 to 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans left the US for Mexico during the Depression, relatively few of them were expelled under formal INS-directed removal proceedings. The majority returned to Mexico by their own decision or through officially voluntary – though often coercive – repatriation programs directed by state and local governments and charitable aid agencies.

INS did increase its deportation efforts during the 1930s and on several occasions the agency co-operated with local governments who sought to remove Mexicans from their jurisdictions. These actions understandably contributed to the current belief that the INS led a massive repatriation program. In reality, INS’s role in the removal process was somewhat more complex.

In1930, as the extent of the Depression became more clear some Americans accused Mexicans, as well as other aliens, of holding jobs needed by U.S.



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,



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?



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.