Racial Reconciliation

It's Time for Churches to Step Forward and Heal Our National Wounds

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Brian Williams is an African-American trauma surgeon at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was in charge of Parkland’s emergency room July 7 when seven officers arrived.

He choked back tears as he described to The Washington Post how three officers died at the hospital: “I think about it every day, that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night.”

Do Churches Actually Help Solve Social Problems? Americans Increasingly Say 'No'

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New research from Pew suggests that Americans have become less likely to believe that religious institutions can play an important role in confronting social problems.

And while some of the decline in trust in religious congregations likely originates in the “rise of the nones,” or the religiously unaffiliated, that alone does not explain this crisis of confidence. This is not really a story about secularization. After all, between 2008 and 2016, both Protestants and Catholics showed double digit declines in percentage of people who believe houses of worship contribute to social reform. The percentage decline was only slightly higher among the religiously unaffiliated.

After Recent Shootings, White Churches Take Stock on Race

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In the wake of a string of racially tinged shootings, majority white churches — even those quiet in past years about racial prejudice — have begun to find their voices.

The latest incidents of police shooting black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, combined with the targeting of white police officers in Dallas, have exposed for many congregations a racial divide in America too wide to ignore.

Feeling Ignored, Black Christians Pray, Vent in National Conference Call

African-Americans often express frustration at white Americans for overlooking their grief at the deaths of young black men shot and killed by police.

On a conference call last week, hours before Micah Xavier Johnson, a black man, opened fire and killed five white police officers, about 500 Christians, black and white, tried to bridge that racial divide.

Can Faith Communities Heal Racial Inequality? In Kansas City, a Resounding Yes

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When I was a kid, my culturally Jewish parents distributed a mimeographed sheet in our Bronx, N.Y., neighborhood explaining why it was OK to be an atheist.

They would send me outside on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, in torn jeans and a dirty shirt to play ball on our stoop while our neighbors dressed up and went to synagogue.

Presbyterian Church in America Repents of 'Racial Sins'

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The nation’s second largest Presbyterian denomination has passed legislation repenting for “past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures” and committing its members to work toward racial reconciliation.

The “overture” (or legislation) was approved overwhelmingly June 23 at the national meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America. The issue had been deferred from the previous year’s meeting, where there was a lengthy debate on similar legislation.

On Issue of Race, Southern Baptists Must Move From Gestures to Action

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In recent years, Southern Baptists have made racial reconciliation a top priority.

This week, delegates (called “messengers”) to the SBC’s annual meeting in St. Louis overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging Christians to “discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag.”

Southern Baptists Invite Black Baptist Leader to Drive Home Message on Race

Ronnie Floyd (left) with Jerry Young (right). Image via Cross Church / Baptist Press / RNS

Southern Baptists turned a sharp focus on racism during their annual meeting, welcoming the president of a historically black denomination in a rare address to their national gathering.

“Those who would like to suggest that racism is not indeed a problem for the church but rather it is a sociological problem, I would argue it is without question a sin problem,” the Rev. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, told the predominantly white Southern Baptist Convention on June 14.

A Drunk Man Gets Home on Christmas Eve

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I was 6 years old, growing up in Cleveland. It was Christmas Eve. The traditional Slovak dinner was ready on the stove — mushroom soup and pierogies. My mom, my younger brother, and I were waiting for my dad to get home so we could eat.

The waiting part was no surprise.

My dad was an alcoholic. During the Korean War, he enlisted and was assigned to a paratrooper unit. He was wounded during a mission. My mom said the experience changed him. He brought some demons home with him.

White Churches Start Talking About Reparations for Slavery

Image via Jennifer Harvey / RNS

A white scholar touring churches across the nation is trying to convince Christians that racial reconciliation is not enough — it’s time to start talking about reparations for descendants of slaves.

And among mostly white, mainline Protestants this controversial — some would say unrealistic — notion is getting a hearing.

What divides the races in America, says Drake University ethicist Jennifer Harvey, is not the failure to embrace differences but the failure of white Americans to repent and repair the sins of the past.

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