Welcome to the Crawl

Before you start, make sure someone gives The Schpeel to your group. 

Also, remember these conversation tips: 1) Be polite, and don’t take offense, 2) Say something if you don’t understand, 3) Ask “why” and speak up if you disagree (It’s not rude, its just a good conversation). Now, order a drink and start unpacking the deep mysteries of the universe!

The Big Question: Is there a “Christian” way to respond to racial inequality?

The Main Questions

  • What does it mean for a community to be “diverse”?
  • What does “racial reconciliation” mean?
  • How does working for “diversity” differ from working toward “racial reconciliation?” How are they similar?
  • Do Christian Scriptures call for Christian communities to work toward racial reconciliation or diversity?
  • Is the Scriptural call for reconciliation different from non-Christian calls for reconciliation? If no, how are the the same? If yes, how so?
  • How does the Biblical concept of reconciliation interact with the Biblical concept of justice? Can reconciliation occur without justice?
  • Is societal inequality between races a barrier for racial reconciliation in Christian Churches? In other words, can disparities in power outside of the Church affect communal dynamics within the Church?
  • What does the concept of “reparations” mean to you?  Are they related to the process of Biblical justice?
  • What should be the role of Christian churches be in addressing societal level racial inequality?
  • What would it mean, in the American context, for racial reconciliation to be accomplished? Be concrete, what would it look like? What facts would be evident?
  • What would it mean, in American churches, for racial reconciliation to be accomplished? Be concrete, what would it look like? What facts would be evident?
  • What actions do you need to start taking to pursue racial equality and racial reconciliation? What actions do you need to stop/reconsider?

KEY DEFINITIONS

  • Reconciliation (A) //  Reconciliation is the spiritual practice of seeking loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God and one another, and striving to heal and transform injustice and brokenness in ourselves, our communities, institutions and society. // The Episcopal Church
  • Reconciliation (B) // Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relationships and of peace, where there had previously been hostility and alienation. Ordinarily, it also includes the removal of the offense that caused the disruption of peace and harmony // Dr. Eric Mason
  • Reparation // (1) The action of making amends for a wrong one has done, by providing payment or other assistance to those who have been wronged. (1.1) reperations, the compensation for war damage paid by a defeated state. // Oxford Living Dictionary

IMPORTANT FACTS 

  • Wrongful Convictions // Black people are 12 times more likely to be wrongly convicted of drug-related crimes than white people. // CNN
  • Incarceration // 58 percent of prisoners are black or Hispanic, despite making up one quarter of the U.S. population. // NAACP
  • Voting Rights // 3 percent of all black men are denied the right to vote. // Race Forward
  • Segregation // 74 percent of black students and 80 percent of Latino students attend schools that are more than half-minority populations. // The Atlantic
  • Unemployment // In 2013, the unemployment rate for black college grads was almost twice as high as the rate for grads overall. // USED
  • Homebuying // Asian American homebuyers are shown 20 percent fewer homes than white homebuyers. // USHUD
  • Wealth Inequality // White families hold 90 percent of the national wealth. Black and Latino families combined hold less than five percent. // Demos

Important Scripture

  • If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. // Deuteronomy 15:12-15
  • In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. // Isaiah 2:2
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. // Galatians 3:28
  • For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. // Ephesians 2:14-16
  • All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. // 2 Corinthians 5:19
  • The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. // Matthew 25:40-46

Thoughts from Others

  • Gospel-grounded racial reconciliation begins with what Christ accomplished at the cross. He united one-time enemies to God and therefore to one another. He made the two one. Racial reconciliation begins, in other words, with the “indicative” of who we are in Christ. And then racial reconciliation shows itself in our love for the “other.” It flows from the Spirit-empowered obedience and demonstration of who we are in Christ. To define racial reconciliation as simply diversity, or to think that our churches are racially reconciled simply because they might be diverse, is misleading. // Jarvis J. Williams
  • Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes degenerate, and declares himself to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some other man receives damage by his transgression: in which case he who hath received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment common to him with other men, a particular right to seek reparation. \\ John Locke
  • One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations. // Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, but gave the slaves no land, nothing in reality to get started on. At the same time, America was giving away millions of acres of land in the west and the Midwest, which meant that there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base and yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa who came here involuntarily, in chains, and had worked for free for 244 years, any kind of economic base. So Emancipation for the Negro was really freedom to hunger. It was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven. It was freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate and therefore it was freedom and famine at the same time. // Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Your privilege as a White Christian means you can practice this faith free of intellectual conflict. You needn’t worry about being taunted for choosing to believe and practice our faith because it was used to persecute and enslave your ancestors. Your whiteness shields you from the need to decolonize our religious text so that you can digest it. // D. Danyelle Thomas

Resources 

SUPPORT-AN-ORGANIZATION VOTE (NORTHERN CRAWL ONLY)

This summer, REUNION Somerville’s generosity team has teamed up with the Northern Crawl to turn our conversations into action. Each week, after the discussion, participants will vote on an organization to support financially. Below are the organizations that will be voted on this week:

 

  • Equal Justice Initiative
    The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
  • N’COBRA
    The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America is a mass-based coalition organized for the sole purpose of obtaining reparations for African descendants in the United States.
  • The Movement for Black Lives
    We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and working class, disabled, undocumented, and immigrant.
  • Emmanuel Gospel CenterRace and Christian Community Initiative 
    We envision Christians continuing Christ’s reconciling work by collaborating across racial lines to foster shalom between individuals, communities, and systems damaged by racism.  We equip Christians in Greater Boston to engage issues of race in ways that honor the image of God in all people