We’ve come to the final chapter and epilogue of Drew G.I. Hart’s Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism (Herald Press, 2016).
In the last chapter – “Where Do We Go From Here?” – Dr. Hart suggests seven anti-racist practices for the church:
- Share life together – “The practice of sharing life together has everything to do with no longer allowing the racial hierarchy to pattern our social lives, manage our geographic movements, shape identities of superiority and inferiority, or interpret one another through white supremacist and antiblack gazes. We are free to follow Jesus into forbidden spaces we were socialized to avoid, spaces in which we previously believed we didn’t belong.”
- Practice solidarity in the struggle – “…explore what is already happening in your region rather than trying to start something new. It is too easy to try to be saviors when in reality we are just allowing our egos to operate. We need to come alongside good people already doing good work.”
- See the world from below – “People need to put their bodies in places where they are going to slowly learn to see things that they would never see otherwise. The secret that followers of Jesus find along the journey is that the view from below, rather than above, offers a better position from which to see what God is up to.“
- Subvert racial hierarchy in the church – “…the community’s life must yield itself to the concerns of those historically excluded. It means that things like job descriptions, church food and meal choices, book selections, curriculum structures, money allocation, meeting times, and the composition of decision-making groups like the church board must be radically reconfigured.”
- Soak in Scripture and the Spirit for renewed social imagination – “God is not neutral in the midst of human suffering and oppression…And the evidence of lives yielded to the Spirit and soaked in Scripture will always be lives that are Jesus-shaped.“
- Seek first the kingdom of God – “The church will joyfully sell all the ugliness of racialized hierarchy, sexist patriarchy, and selfish classism when we find the true treasure in the field.”
- Engage in self-examination – “Each of us must engage in some soul-searching and self-examination. No one in America is untouched by the currents of rival bias and white supremacy.”
Readers, what think you? Would this book be of help in a discussion of racism in your church? Would it change views? Could you work on or toward these seven practices? I welcome your responses in the comments here or in our Facebook group.
The next book for our anti-racism book discussion will be Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving (Elephant Room Press, 2014). We’ll start our conversations on Wednesday, November 16, with posts here and in our Facebook group. This is the book also recommended by two RevGals, Jan Edmiston and Denise Anderson, in their roles as Co-Moderators of the Presbyterian Church (USA), so we hope many of our members will be interested in discussing the book. We’re also going to offer some opportunities for online video chat; please comment here if you might like to participate, or email me (email@example.com).
About the RevGals Anti-Racism Project: As a majority white organization incorporated in the United States, the leaders of RevGalBlogPals feel called to confront systemic racism in the U.S. As a global ministry, we feel called to oppose minority oppression and racial injustice in all nations. We hope this book discussion will be a step toward awareness and away from unconscious centering of whiteness.
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