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March into Good Trouble

Sunday, Pastor Danita gave us a powerful sermon about a legit American hero: Rep. John Lewis. I’ve spoken previously about how, shamefully, I was in my 30s before I really knew who John Lewis was and why he was so important to our country’s history — and present. As I’ve said a number of times, I highly, highly recommend Lewis’ book, March.

Yes, it is a graphic novel in three parts. So what? Don’t let that keep you from reading it! It is absolutely amazing. (If you buy from Amazon, be sure to make it Amazon Smile and select Woodridge UMC as your charity. Or buy if from a local comic book shop. Or a local indy book store. Or...) If you don’t want to buy it, get it from your library. Or, if you leave a thoughtful comment on this post, perhaps you can borrow the church’s copy. You’ll be glad you did.

So far these posts of resources related to our “Privilege and Promise: This is America” sermon series have followed the pattern: you’ve heard the sermon, now learn some more. For this week, I thought I’d try switching up that order. As you’ve hopefully read in the eNews or on the website or on our church Facebook page, this Sunday I’m preaching about the role Christianity has played — and is playing — in our country’s racism. Here’s a chance for you to read ahead! Some articles that are helping to shape my sermon:

White Supremacist Ideas Have Historical Roots in U.S. Christianity, from NPR.

Racism Among White Christians Higher than Among the Nonreligious. That's No Coincidence, from NBC News.

How "Race Tests" Maintain Evangelical Segregation, from Religion Dispatches. (Don't let that title fool you: we Mainline Protestants are indicted in the article too.)

Slavery and the Founders of Methodism, from UM News.

Those are all rather uncomfortable reads, especially for we who are White*. But they are extraordinarily important and necessary reads.

For a much deeper dive into how Christian history intertwines with White supremacy, I found Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise, excellent (if harrowing).

I know we all wish the facts were different. But, as I wrote last week, we can’t fix our oppressive systems unless and until we are willing to squarely look at the truth no matter how ugly it is.

I hope these resources and our sermon series help us do just that as we continue down the road toward becoming actively antiracist. 

*It still looks off somehow to capitalize White. Why is White capitalized? The AP style has recently changed to capitalize Black but not White. I’ve read arguments for this distinction and arguments against it. I will capitalize both because I find most compelling the reasoning that we who are White have for too long hidden behind a generic cultural sense that positions us as the default. I am convinced that has contributed to us being blinded by our White privilege and unable or unwilling to see the reality of racism in our systems and in ourselves.

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with