God is Rising Up Anti-racist Church Leaders (Race Relations US-West Newsletter)

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God has blessed me in the work of Race Relations this past year.

In May, I was able to meet with key leaders Kyle Brooks from Oakland; David Lindner, Victoria Mejia, and Yvonne Goode from Sacramento; and Terri Larson from Southern California. Together we created the start of a workshop to engage Christians in meaningful conversations on race and racism.

Our group felt that most anti-racism workshops serve white people and do not take into account the perspectives and needs of black people. For example, white people focus the work on personal responses and responsibility while ignoring the history that prioritizes benefits to white and punishment to black. While white people tend to seek relationships with non-white people, black people tend to seek equity.

This doesn’t mean that black people are not interested in multicultural relationships. They perceive that they have already adapted to being bicultural as a means of survival, while white people have the privilege and expectation of remaining monocultural and others assimilating to them. While we have created the start of workshop, we did not launch it yet. We have not polished it and put it into practice. We are stalled.

Looking back, this was an ambitious goal and maybe even naive. How can a few change the thinking of the many? The belief of grouping people by skin color and distinguishing white as superior and good while black and all those in between as inferior is ingrained in many if not all of us. While we complain about race relations or racial inequities, we are often not willing to die to the practices that keep racism in place. Our hope has to be in Christ. He will allow us to see the fullness of humanity in others as we see the fullness of God in Him.

The blessing is that though we have not yet launched a functioning workshop, each of us is fulfilling a call in the fight against racism. Each one of us is either preaching, leading workshops, or engaged in actions to undo mass incarceration, economic injustice, police brutality or to welcome immigrants seeking asylum.

In addition, God is raising up informed, bold leadership that is sensitive to the effects of racism in the church. They are no longer being sidelined because of cultural messages that minimize the ethnic identities God gave them.

Church leaders in Southern California and Arizona have a commitment to reaching minority ethnic groups.

New Navajo leaders are gathering in New Mexico. They are navigating their traumatic pasts and the treacherous present to find ways to bring the Gospel to Native youth who are suffering from drug abuse, alcoholism, and sexual abuse.

A group of Latino pastors is taking leadership, creating vision, and developing partnerships with English-speaking leaders to help reach the majority population in southwestern and southeastern cities. I am grateful to be part of this work and grateful for your support in this ministry.

This is a portion of Rudy's most recent newsletter. Sign up to receive your full Race Relations regional newsletter, including upcoming events in your area and recommended resources, at bit.ly/racerelationsnews. 

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