How do we become an antiracist church?
For the past month, Church of the Incarnation has been talking about racism and what a faithful Christian response is to the systemic racism in our country. This past Sunday, we talked about our Rule of Life and how the work of becoming antiracist is a spiritual practice that fits well within the faithful practice of our Rule. Here are the notes from our conversation, along with some resources that we talked out.
Starting on July 12, 2020, we will host a 6-week study on the book, “America’s Original Sin,” by the Rev. Jim Wallis. To allow for as many people as possible to join us, we will start at 11:30am (CDT) and will plan to be finished by 12:45pm. You can purchase the book now from your favorite book seller. The free study guide is included at the bottom of this page, along with a short video about the content of the book. Stay tuned for more info on how to sign up.
The Incarnation Rule of Life includes the spiritual practices of:
- Daily prayer
- Daily confession of sin
- Daily scripture reading
- Regular study that brings you closer to God
- Weekly participation in worship
- Weekly observance of the sabbath
- Service to the Church
- Service to the world
Together, this Rule is the backbone of a faith that is not just professed but also practiced.
What does it mean to be antiracist?
According to Ibram X. Kendi, in “How to be Antiracist,”
- The word ‘racist’ isn’t a slur, it’s a descriptive term used to describe actions and policies that favor one race over another
- The opposite of racist isn’t “not racist,” but antiracist
- Because of the deeply embedded history of racism in America, there is no such thing as being “not racist”–you either practice racism or you practice antiracism. “One either endorses the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist or racial equality as an antiracist” (Kendi).
In order to be an antiracist church, we must practice antiracism, not just say we “aren’t racist.”
Being antiracist is a spiritual practice and our Rule of Life can help. We can:
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will change our hearts, change our unjust systems, and guide all our efforts
- Repent of our own racism and renounce the unjust systems that many of us disproportionately benefit from
- Read scripture that reveals God’s continual solidarity with the poor and the marginalized, from the prophets to the gospel
- Study black theology, the theology of oppression, the Church’s role in working for antiracist policies, and learn how to be part of real change
- Worship with people who affirm God’s presence with those who suffer and hold your own religious communities accountable for their ministries to the poor and the oppressed
- Observe a day of rest where your principle identity is as a member of the household of God rather than in an economy that depends on the exploitation of others
- Push, pull, and lead the Church into a new way of being the Church–one that rejects religious nationalism and seeks to serve Jesus Christ in all persons as a moral conviction and a call from God
- Serve those who are suffering and advocate for real change using the gifts and resources God has given you
Ibram X. Kendi says this about being antiracist: “like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”
What is your dream for Church of the Incarnation as we pursue this work together? How is God calling you, personally, to be involved in building an antiracist church and an antiracist society?
Here are some resources that I am using to continue make the work of antiracism part of my spiritual practice.
How to be Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. You can take action, here.