Resisting Racism

What do the facts say? This podcast addresses the facts that are shown through the history of our country. We (white, black and mixed race) walk through the information openly and honestly, sharing our experiences and thoughts learning from one another.

Some questions to ask ourselves and others we lead.

  • What do you know about the history of racism in our country?
  • What are some examples of racism you have witnessed or experienced?
  • Can you explain or have you encountered systemic racism?
  • How do you feel about the inequality of housing for non-white folks?
  • What does Black Lives Matter mean to you? To others?

Other questions to guide conversation:

  • Who have you talked to/shared this information with?
  • How have you steeped out of your “comfort zone” to hear from/learn from the affected demographic?
  • What have you read or learned to increase your knowledge of the subject? What does the Bible say?
  • How have you invested (time and money) in addressing this issue/topic?
  • Have your identified policy (in the UMC and in government) that needs to change and considered the impact and history?
  • What do you need to repent of?



Nationalization Act of 1790

Timeline of the Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Act of 1964

13th (film) on Netflix

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Civil Rights Museum

HIP Cuyahoga

For more information on the history racism or any other multi-culture questions, contact Will Jones, Director of Multicultural Vitality











<a href=”http://Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay“>Picture Credit

Understanding Racism

In order to understand racism today, we need to review the history as it has lead us to this point. Below you will find a few helpful links and other resources to help individuals who want to educated themselves and who are leading others. Be sure you listen to the podcast as well for more thoughts and information.

Mary Turner was mentioned in the podcast. Be sure you take time to learn about her as well as other African Americans whose lives have been taken senselessly.

The year 1619 was referenced. This is the year that the first enslaved Africans were brought to North America. Here is a resource to learn more.

Another important point made in the podcast is around the theology of Imago Dei, made in the image of God.  It is hard to understand racism if as Christians we believe that EVERYONE is made in the image of God. This is a great way to begin a small group talk on the subject of racism.

We also talk of the merger that happened in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church. You can find out more information here and see the impact that had on the church and on the black communities.

A couple of resources to understand the United Methodist Church’s stand on racism can be found through our Social Principles.

There are six questions that are helpful to guide your conversation:

  1. Who have you talked to/shared this information with?
  2. How have you stepped out of your “comfort zone” to hear from/learn from the affected demographic?
  3. What have you read or learned to increase your knowledge of the subject? What does the Bible say?
  4. How have you invested (time and money) in addressing this issue/topic?
  5. Have you identified policy (in the UMC and in government) that needs to change and considered impact and history?
  6. What do you need to repent of?



It’s Brewing

Do you feel it?  Do you smell it?  You know the feeling you get, the chill that is in the air when a summer storm is brewing?  The smell of rain.  The wind turning over the leaves and the sky turning shades of green or yellow.  The ground will rumble, and you know it’s coming.  That is exactly how our country feels right now.  After reading Steve Argue’s blog “When their storms become ours: closing the distance between leaders and young people,” I just had to share and include my thoughts.

I love the storm image he uses because, as I stated at the beginning, I feel it, don’t you?  No matter where we stand politically on gun violence, these teens have an opinion, and I don’t think it is political, just ask them.

It’s vital that we do not stand back and watch the storm from a distance.  I would add, it is not just the youth leader/pastor, but the church that needs to engage teenagers in their storms of life.  Not only do we need to engage in discussions at youth group, but also pastors need to address these things in sermons.  It’s not pretty, but these kids are having the conversations, with their peers at the lunch table, or on social media.  They WILL go there WITH or WITHOUT us.  What we have to give them is a safe space to talk and offer a way for their faith to intertwine with these real-life answers to their tough questions.

Steve offers three suggestions for youth workers to enter into a more engaged relationship with their teens.

  • “Moving closer means letting your heart be broken.” Friends, we need to stop comparing ourselves with any other ministry in our community. For those who are paid workers, you worry about how “cool” your youth ministry is, so that your numbers can continue to grow, so you are not out of a job.  I get it. But guess what?  If you are not engaging this generation in meaningful conversations, it doesn’t matter how many pizzas you buy them or how much laser tag you play, they need you to truly get to know them, their fears, their passions, their hurts.  Take the time to allow your heart to be broken for them.
  • “Moving closer demands that you look beyond excellence toward empathy.” This goes back to pizza and laser tag parties.  I love the questions Argue asks here, “What do young people need from us?  How do we shift to ensure we are addressing the most essential needs of our young?  Where do our young people need support, protection, education or resources?  Who must we partner with and who must we confront?”  This is a shift in thinking.  Can you answer these?
  • “Moving closer requires you to stop collecting and start emptying.” This is a hard one.  Steve says in the blog that we need to empty our ministry of the systems and accolades we’ve worked so hard to earn.  We can no longer fit youth ministry into a neat little box.  It can’t happen in your time, on your schedule, with your programs.  We must go to them; we can’t expect them to come to us.  I love this quote, “Your job is to shrink the distances between young and old so that young people are seen, understood and supported.”  He says we are bridge builders, not wall builders. I would add, it is also our job to help teens understand the older generations in our congregations.  It is a two way street, we must be the bridge.  Be their advocate wherever you are, whatever meeting you attend, and whenever you are in conversation.

So, it is our move.  “Let’s build storm-chasing youth groups.”  If we do not give them the spaces and places where adults are engaging in their lives, teens will go elsewhere to find it.  May young peoples’ storms become ours.

The Youth Leader’s Network in East Ohio is working to help you do just that.  April 15th is a day for youth leaders to come hear a panel discussion around responding to tragedy.  Youth Annual Conference will have break-out sessions for teens and leaders on how to have hot topic discussions with people who disagree and still love one another.  In the fall, we are planning on another day of training on how to create a safe place to initiate and dive into these topics.

Not Safe for Church Third Commandment: Thou Shall Not Trip: Discuss Taboo Subjects

Boldness is a key in transformative ministry.  In order for a church to be bold, they must have courage and confidence to step out of what is comfortable and take a risk.  Humans naturally fear what they don’t know, so this is a difficult move for churches.

No one wants to hurt anyone else’s feelings, after all, we are Christians.  So we ignore taboo topics.  Churches are good at using their voices to speak at, but refuse to speak against contemporary issues.  But we are not in conversation WITH others on these subjects.  We need to be intentional, engaged and active listeners and intentional, careful and prayerful speakers.

Keep in mind that post-civil rights generations bring with them a different set of lenses then those before them.  Most of us have never been in a legally segregated classroom, workplace, restaurant or recreational area.  We have grown up with computers in our classrooms and information right in front of us.  “There are few matters about which the post-civil rights generations have not been exposed, educated or informed.” (pg. 34). However, the church is one of the remaining places where segregation still exists. These post-civil rights generations want to connect with congregations will engage in conversations instead of clichéd phrases.  “As long as congregations remain stuck, they remain unable to discuss taboo subjects and thereby, unable to be relevant and willing participants in transformation.” (pg.35)

The reason churches tend to get “stuck” is because they are fearful of moving away from the comfortable.  This means not everyone will agree, but if we keep in mind that we are called to love everyone, even those we don’t agree with, the church can move in a direction that allows them to overcome their fears.  The authors walk through a process that enables churches to get to the place where we can engage in uncomfortable places and conversations and still accept one another.

In our country today, we tend to pick a side, and then the other side becomes “wrong” or the enemy.  No longer do we engage in conversations and listen to one another.  This is counter to what John Wesley encouraged in via media, the middle way.  By living a life that is rich in diversity, people who look, speak, learn and grow differently than you, means we must learn to understand one another, not judge.  Acceptance is not the same as agreement.

One simple way to expose yourself to different opinions and ideas is through a small group study with people who are not like yourself.

Finally, the authors end this chapter with this: “Congregations must lean toward holy boldness instead of timid blandness, remembering that being lukewarm is condemned in Revelation 3:16.” (pg. 43) AMEN.