Lord, make us seekers of shalom. Rid our hearts of our love of the status quo, our comfort in complacency, our preference for absence of conflict. Cultivate in us, God, a love for true shalom: wholeness, flourishing, a world made right.– A prayer from The Liturgy of Politics, Kaitlyn Schiess
Critical race theory is being used by many people as a weapon and many people are not taking the time to dig into what CRT actually is. Is critical race theory a tool that Christians can use? Absolutely. Is it a tool that Christians will use to direct church doctrine? No. As Christians we must be nuanced and distinct in our response to CRT.
Lamont English tells it like it is by stating that Christians are treating critical race theory in the 2020’s the same way white Christians treated racism and white supremacy in the 1960’s by blanket labeling it communist and Marxist. Sure, there are parts of critical race theory that Christians should reject, but there are also useful parts. At the very least Christians should do their homework and not parrot platitudes.
Priest Tish Harrison Warren argues that the church’s response to racism should be different then the worlds – we should be able to admit systemic racism while also moving past the guilt and shaming of others and ourselves. We love the both/and worldview of this article.
Dating back to the 1800’s with the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Immigration Act of 1927 to putting Japanese into interment camps during World War II to the current wave of of violence against Asians in the 2000’s there have been countless waves of anti-Asian laws and sentiment in the United States. Asian American Christian Collaborative president Raymond Chang says Christians and the church must speak up and declare that Asian Lives Matter.
A collection of seven succinct articles penned by black pastors, authors and one former policeman following the murder of Michael Brown in 2014. Stacy Hillard’s, Leonce Crump’s part 1 and Bryan Loritts articles are standouts. A good three or four presses of the page down key should get you to the start of each article – it is worth the extra work.
To this day church services across the nation are some of the most segregated times of the week. Is this by random chance or was this intentional? Author Jemar Tisby details the sordid history of the American church and its complicity with racism in the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller The Color of Compromise.
A history of another brutal part of America’s past that is glossed over Worse Than Slavery tells the story of convict leasing, a thinly veiled system of slavery, through the songs of convicts, court documents, and local newspapers.
Grounded in Genesis in the Imago Dei The Gospel in Color firmly traces the evolution of racism back to the garden of Eden when sin entered the world. But, Jesus coming into the world and dying on a cross allows us to be reconciled to him while modeling what it takes to be reconciled to each other.
Primarily written to the American church pastor Drew Hart weaves personal narratives with a little bit of church history, a little bit of American history and a little bit of theological history as a call to the church to change the way it views racism.
How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby is a book to help you take the next step when you want concrete, actionable advice and recommendations on how to work against racism. It is a Christian’s guidebook on being an anti-racist similar to how Compassion and Conviction is a guidebook for Christians engaging with politics.
At first glace LA 92 is a history lesson about the 1992 Los Angeles riots, but just below the surface is a warning and a call for Americans to wake up. For hundreds of years Black people and people of color have complained about police brutality and, unfortunately, most of the time white people have ignored or dismissed the calls for help or justice. This indifference and callousness combined with other issues such as high unemployment, underfunded schools, and aggressive policing tactics has led to frustration which manifests itself in violence.
Musician Daryl Davis has made it one of his life’s missions to answer the question ‘why do you hate me when you know nothing about me?’ by sitting down and talking with white supremacists and members of the Klu Klux Klan. Over multiple decades Davis has befriended numerous members of the KKK by listening and forming a relationship with people that hate him because of the color of his skin.
A movie based on the true story told in the book, “Just Mercy.” It tells the story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael Jordan), who works to overturn the wrongful conviction of a Black American man named Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx).
Actor Samuel L. Jackson reads from author James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House over video clips and pictures from the sixties. Baldwin’s criticism of white America hits right to the core – especially for the white church. Presented in the vein of a Ken Burns documentary. Though most of the footage is over 50 years old, it could have come out of today’s headlines. If you are watching on Amazon Prime, pause the movie and use the x-ray feature to learn about the lesser known historical figures. Note that there are graphic images.
A visceral, sobering history of the systemic, calculated oppression of Black Americans in the United States. This should be required viewing in High School American History classes. Note that there are graphic images and language.
In a vulnerable and nuanced discussion about race, critical race theory, politics, the church, and culture host Preston Sprinkle and Dr. Ed Uszynski talk about finding the “transcendent middle” while getting to the root of the problem on how some Christians approach CRT with a lack of empathy and theological understanding of justice.
From protests to Black Lives Matter to critiques of white fragility to critical race theory host Justin Brierley talks with theologian Dr. Drew Hart and Christian sociologist Dr. George Yancy about how the church can respond to each issue.
A wide ranging discussion with leaders in Black and Asian communities that touches on the anti-Asian racism statement, the model minority myth, the weaponization of white supremacy and how Asian and Black communities have been racist against each other and how the two communities need to unite.
A call to the church to get involved in civic matters by bearing witness, preparing for action, supporting and partnering with institutions, focusing on criminal justice elections, engaging with elected officials, advocating for policy change and helping low income churches.
Even though the audio is poor at times, this is one of the best discussions on race we have heard. The participants, who have lived and are living through this seemingly ever changing situation, challenge the listener to educate one’s self, lament and then take action. When you are done make sure to check out part 2.
Change a few numbers here, insert a current event there, and pastor Tom Skinner’s sermon from the 1970 Urbana conference could easily be about today. His impassioned, direct speech touches on the history of racism, the silence of the church and evangelicals, law and order, politics, Americanism, evangelism, and much more. Powerful and highly recommended.
Almost every Christian is familiar with the Samaritan women at the well story in John, but few see it as a blueprint for how to cross racial divisions. Preaching from John 4:1-42 Oakcliff Bible Fellowship (Dallas, TX) pastor Tony Evans says Jesus first meets the woman as a person and then speaks to her soul.
Weaving current and historical events while preaching from Luke 18:1-8 pastor Taurus Montgomery of Pioneer Memorial Church (Benton Harbor, MI) lists five things white Christians can do to fight racism. One, educate yourself to understand the problems of injustice. Two, feel the pain of justice in and out of the church. Three, protest the pattern persistently. Four, be a partner for progress. Five, pray to be purged of prejudice persistently.
A moving, impassioned sermon by Progressive Baptist Church’s (Chicago, IL) Charlie Dates who says that racism in America is a fundamental theological issue as some people don’t see that humans are unique and are created by God.
Pastor and podcaster Mike Erre deftly answers this question (“Prove to me that the Bible says I must value black lives, and hate ethnic supremacy.”) that he received on Twitter using Biblical proof. Delivered in the style of a sermon.
A powerful personal narrative from Winfred Rembert who survived a lynching as a teenager. A must watch.
The founder and curator of the New Jim Crow museum, Dr. David Pilgrim, gives short history lessons as he walks viewers through his museum. One of the points that the museum attempts to get across (and does well) is the pervasive nature of the racist laws, caricatures, and violence against Black people across the United States. Well worth 23 minutes of your time. This is an excellent video for a history class or small group discussion.
A one-hour lecture on the history of discrimination against Asian people in America and how the model minority myth still exists and is used as a wedge between the Asian and Black communities.
A sobering, challenging speech where Mark Charles argues that America does not know about race, gender and America’s history.
Author Jemar Tisby traces the intertwining of race, the church and politics from the 1400’s into the 21st century in his 12-part study series with episodes ranging from 5 to 26 minutes. Tisby clearly shows how racism has been woven into the fabric of American life with the church’s explicit and implicit support.