A few months ago, I sat down with my colleagues Kevin Smith and Kevin Jones to discuss the dynamics of discipleship and family ministry in African-American communities. Rev. Smith is the executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware. Dr. Jones is a scholar of the history of education and coauthor of the forthcoming book Removing the Stain of Racism. The resulting conversation with these men was fascinating, instructive, and challenging. If multiethnic ministry and racial reconciliation matter to you, these videos will help you to understand the unique opportunities and challenges that have resulted from the broken and beautiful story of enslavement and oppression, tenacity and triumph, that is woven through African-American history.Continue reading.
The institution of slavery has been called America’s “national birth defect.” “Black Americans were”—in the words of one professor of political science—“a founding population [of the American colonies]. Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together, Europeans by choice and Africans in chains.”
These events happened far more recently than many Americans seem willing to acknowledge. When the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in 2016, ninety-nine-year-old Ruth Bonner was present for the ceremonies; Ruth’s father was born a slave in the American South. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that the shadows of this exploitation and dehumanization still shape the lives of Americans today.
But why was this enslavement of Africans morally wrong in the first place? Continue reading.
In September 1955, the bloated and broken corpse of Emmett Till arrived in Chicago. His mother identified his body and made the decision to leave his casket open for the funeral. “Let the people see what I’ve seen,” she told the owner of the funeral home, and the people did. What they saw changed the world.Continue reading.
Racial reconciliation is not primarily about healing the wounds of racial subjugation that so deeply scar our nation’s history. Racial reconciliation is not primarily about seeking justice for immigrants and refugees. It’s not about reducing conflict between persons with differing concentrations of melanin. It’s not even primarily about a systemic lack of opportunities for certain ethnicities—though all of these issues are important considerations for Christians.
In fact, racial reconciliation is not primarily about us at all.Continue reading.
I serve in a seminary founded by slaveholders as part of a denomination that began so that slaveholders could be sent as missionaries. Not only did early Southern Baptists practice slavery, but they also distorted Scripture to support the continued enslavement of African Americans. The Confederate States of America were seen by Baptists in the American South as God’s chosen instrument to preserve the institution of slavery.Continue reading.