There is so much terrain to cover and so many layers to our continuing conversation on race and its progeny. To be sure, I agree with President Obama as to the nature of our conversations moving forward. He said during Wednesday’s eulogy of the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine murdered by accused killer Dylann Roof, “We talk a lot about race. There’s no short cut. We don’t need more talk.”
He also said, “To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change… That’s how we lose our way again.” He warned others not to “slip back into a comfortable silence.”
While I am a lover of words, they should not replace the work of justice and reconciliation. Several organizations have stepped forward to provide tools and resources. And I too want to offer a space for that list to be extended. I am a Baptist by tradition and so my support will come predominately from that community of faith. But, don’t let that scare you off. In order for our country to be healed of the wounds of race, we will need all hands on deck. So, please add to this list from your tradition and perspective.
The New Baptist Covenant has provided a template for a covenant of action. Mosaix, “a movement toward multi- ethnic churches,” provides a “Multi- Ethnic Roadmap.” The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University has published an entire issue on racism that includes a worship service with hymns, prayers, readings and scripture. They also have articles by Michael Emerson and Mikeal Parsons among others. The good folks at Ethics Daily have a DVD and study guide called “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism.” Robert Dilday at Baptist News Global captured the sentiment of some who struggled to find the words for the Sunday message after the murders. Pastor Peter Haas’ “Confessions of a White Male Pastor” is powerfully honest. Also, Ministry Matters offers lots of articles that could serve as points for dialogue, reflection and action items to include David Gushee’s “Do we need guns in holy places?”, Mark Lockard’s “Can the church reckon with racism?” and Jonathan Merritt’s “What does it take to forgive someone like Dylann Roof?”
There are also numerous book and movie titles, links to articles and the like on my resource page. But, this work is not just mine or that of a few. You can offer a helping hand by sharing Bible studies ideas, materials for small groups or sermons that might be of help to us after the murders at Emanuel AME Church.