Encouraging, Challenging and Equipping Congregations to Thrive Spiritually and Be Apostles for Reconciliation

Encouraging, Challenging and Equipping Congregations to Thrive Spiritually and Be Apostles for Reconciliation

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Black and Presbyterian

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lack and Presbyterian . . .
 
When the book of the same title was first published in 1983, written by Dr. Gayraud S. Wilmore, it asserted without apology that there indeed was such a thing as African American Christianity. By virtue of the fact that many African Americans came to Presbyterianism through colonization, it would stand to reason that those Africans in the diaspora, imported via slave ships, brought with them a religion not based in Judaism. That was not acceptable to some. Somewhere in the slave’s orientation to Christianity, there was an assumption if not an assertion that the African traditional religions were somehow substandard if not all together wrong; meaning the white folks’ religion was the “right one”.
 
Fast forward to today. We are living in a time when racism is cresting with a vengeance. The wrongness of brown people, both in person and in practice is once again being promoted, like immigrants coming from “{blank} hole” countries, says Trump or brown people from Central America identified as “invaders”. Needless to say, some of these folks bring rich cultures and religions that have roots farther back than Christianity.
 
At the intersection lies the question: how does the Church of today speak to those who have been told that their color, way of life or religious traditions are wrong? We ask people to adopt our faith – in favor of what? An institution that in some ways is in danger of collapsing upon itself because of our dogma, fear and refusal to adapt? A place that is resisting stepping out of the doors to see who lives in the community? And what is our deepest hope? Are we wanting to make disciples or Presbyterians? And disciples of what or whom; Jesus or merely the institution, the same one that is struggling with its own racism and phobias?
 
I am Black and I am Presbyterian and I am asking myself these same questions. I love our Church and I want to be part of its reformation…you know, Church reformed…always reforming….
 
Happy Black History Month
Posted by Robert Smith

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