Sunday Seminar


Becoming the Beloved Community: Conversations on Race, Privilege and Faith
"Racism is the opposite of what God intends for humanity. It is the rejection of the other, which is entirely contrary to the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is a form of idolatry that elevates humanmade hierarchies of value over divinely given free grace… Because of our biblical understanding of who God is and what God intends for humanity, the PC  (USA) must stand against, speak against, and work against racism. Antiracist effort is not optional for Christians. It is an essential aspect of Christian discipleship…” This according to a document presented by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to the General Assembly of the PCUSA held this June. The report, Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community continues “this is not a time for timidity. The current struggles over racial justice in the United States mark a kairos moment. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has long held strong convictions regarding the sinfulness of racism and the need to struggle against it. Speaking our own convictions now, with clarity and power, could make a tangible difference in the current struggle.”

SPC’s Adult Education and Formation Committee is pleased to announce that we will join this conversation in our Sunday Seminars this fall in a series, entitled Becoming the Beloved Community: Conversations on Race, Privilege, and Faithdesigned to explore a wide range of interconnecting topics (and resources) including race, bias, privilege, history, justice, theology and spirituality. 

We also intend to ground our conversations in compassion—for self, as well as others, especially those who look, feel and believe differently from ourselves.  We are therefore recommending the truly remarkable book Tattoos On the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle as a starting point, and summer reading project for us all to undertake—(whether you plan to take part in the seminars or not!)

We encourage everyone to read this book, and to explore other resources and topic areas that are of interest to you in the coming weeks and months. A partial resource list is below.

We join with the larger church in affirming: “we commit ourselves to DO THE WORK of countering racism in our witness to the Gospel. In our affirmation that God loves difference, we will honor diversity as a good in which God delights. In our conviction that God desires justice, we will learn from others to broaden our understanding of equality. In our humility as sinful people, we will listen openly to diverse voices regarding how racism functions in our society. In our gratitude for God’s grace, we will turn again and again towards the vision of whole community found in the Word of God. In our joyous response to God’s love we will love one another”

Outline and recommended resources:
9/18    The Context: Compassion, Self Compassion and Kinship (Tattoos on the Heart)
9/25    Introduction
10/2    Bias
10/9    Privilege
10/16  On Blackness and Whiteness and Why “Black Lives Matter”
10/23  History and Theology
10/30  Where We Are Today (The New Jim Crow)
11/6    Criminal (In)Justice (Just Mercy )
11/13  Wrap up/Going forward from here

Tattoos On the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Gregory Boyle
America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America, Jim Wallis.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James Cone
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan  Stevenson (Also Shepherd University’s Common Reading book for fall)
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Whitopia, Rich Benjamin
Waking Up White, Debby Irwin

These are some of the books that we will draw on in our conversations. There are countless others, and infinite resources online. The invitation is to start exploring wherever you feel led.

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