A recent Pew Research study discovered that 6 out of 10 adults in America believe racial tension is a major problem in this country—and one that is only growing worse. Today, people across the nation are dealing with tensions between blacks and whites, and often this tension breaks out into violence. People are talking about the issue; but sadly, the church has been reluctant to engage in the discussion.
In God and Race, pastors Wayne Francis and John Siebeling seek to provide a non-threatening means for pastors, church leaders, and churchgoers to start to dialogue about this important issue. Wayne Francis, lead pastor of The Life Church in New York, speaks to the "Black Fist" part, showing how the racism that blacks have faced have led to many solidarity movements that have served to increase racial tensions in our country. John Siebeling, lead pastor of The Life Church in Memphis, Tennessee, speaks to the "White Knuckles" part, showing how many whites today are "white-knuckling" it to try and hold on to old (and wrong) ways of thinking . . . or are just tensing up when approached with the issue and hoping that it will just go away.
In this study (study guide sold separately), Wayne and John show how neither black fists or white knuckles are the answer to the problem, but that what is needed are open hands, open hearts, and open minds. They do this by discussing seven key statements that they believe the church needs to acknowledge today:
- Racism is a problem
- The gospel is the solution
- It's more than just a spiritual problem
- It's complicated
- White people must understand and acknowledge the sin of slavery and mistreatment of black people
- Black people in turn have to forgive white people of previous and present injustices, while also not harboring hatred and racism toward white people
- Unless we make a solid intentional choice to connect, understand, reach, and love one another, we will remain divided
In the Gospels, we see how the crowds came to Jesus because he talked about real issues and was not afraid to engage in the important issues of his day. In the church of today, we need to be doing the same, for it is only by recognizing, addressing, and openly dialoguing about the racial tension in America that we can together begin to work toward real solutions. Wayne and John have no presumption in this series that they are going to solve the issue. Rather, their goal is to have churches follow their example and start the conversion in their congregations.
Designed for use with God and Race Study Guide (sold separately).