Thank for for choosing to commit to reading watching, and praying through this Pentecost to Juneteenth devotional series. It is no small commitment and we are grateful that so many of you signed up. Having been inspired by what you studied during this devotional series, you may want to figure out what comes next.
We are inviting you to consider what you can do not only in your own lives but also collectively to help dismantle supremacy. This means paying attention to not only your own actions, but the behaviors of institutions to which you belong and to policies being instituted in our schools, local, county, state, and national government. Remember: White supremacy is more than just individual racist actions. It is a whole system of beliefs, actions, and policies intended to make sure one group of people maintains advantages and privileges in society. Did a group of folks from your church do this study? Will you be meeting together to discern how your congregation might act together in dismantling white supremacy?
As we said at the beginning of this devotional series, you will want to do some research about who is already working in the arenas that you feel called to. Who, in your area, has already been doing this work and how can you support their leadership? Are there bills in the legislature that could use your support? Some places to start learning here in Maine are:
Wabanaki REACH: https://www.mainewabanakireach.org/ (The Anti-Racism Resource Team will be hosting a REACH event later this summer or early fall. Keep an eye out for more information in communications from the Conference.)
Maine Equal Justice Project: https://maineequaljustice.org/
Maine Initiatives: http://maineinitiatives.org/
Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition: https://maineimmigrantrights.org/partners-members/
SURJ Central Maine: https://www.facebook.com/centralmainesurj/?fref=ts
We’ll be leaving this blog series up on the website for a while. You are welcome to go through it again or share it more broadly in your church. If you’d like one final activity, especially one that invites you to examine how white supremacy has even shaped how we imagine Jesus to look, read the article and study the images linked below.
We don’t actually know what Jesus looked like but certain images of him have become so well known that people assume it’s what he looked like. Read this article about how certain images of Jesus, usually depicted as a white man, became popular: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/06/25/how-an-iconic-painting-jesus-white-man-was-distributed-around-world/
Now, spend some time studying these images of Jesus mentioned in the article:
Do any of these pictures stand out? What catches your attention? Can you imagine seeing these images in your church or in your Bible? Could you commit to including more accurate and diverse images of Jesus in your sanctuary or art on your bulletins or on your website?
Pray this prayer:
O Creator of all, I am grateful for your presence and this time to be with You. I come with love, seeking deeper awareness and new understanding. I confess the racism that infects and affects my life, church, community, and society. Help me to discover what I am called to do as I join with others to dismantle it. As Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors, help me to learn more about what that love means. Help me to listen deeply for the Spirit and listen to my neighbors as I seek to grow, work for change, and celebrate who we are as your beautiful Beloved Community. Praying in the power and hope of Christ’s name. Amen. –Rev. Allison Smith
Learn about Microaggressions (and why they are no small thing)
What Are Micro-Aggressions: https://youtu.be/ho_WW7M5E3A
We are currently in a time when there has been an uptick in racist harassment and violence against Asian and Asian American people. Anti-Asian racism is not new. Read the following articles for today.
Kat Chow’s article gives a helpful introduction to ideas about Asian and Asian-American identity in the context of the United States: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2018/09/27/647989652/if-we-called-ourselves-yellow
Coshandra Dillard wrote this helpful article about interrupting anti-Asian racism around Covid-19. It’s intended for educators, but helpful to anyone who wants to practice anti-racism in their daily lives: https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/speaking-up-against-racism-around-the-coronavirus
There has been much shared in this last week of the Anti-Racism Challenge. Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to keep up! You can save the emails and continue reading them in June and July. The work of change that God calls us to is work we do for a lifetime.
You might want to form a small group now if you haven’t already. Get together with 1-5 other people and discuss what you have been learning.
Use this Small Group Resource Guide
God Bless You!
Here is your reflection for May 30th
Read this scripture: Ephesians 4:15-16: But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Watch this short Video: What Does it Take to be an Antiracist: https://youtu.be/dCUOX3NMd4U
Thank you for your dedication to reading and praying through this anti-racism devotional series. Tomorrow, the final day of our series, is June 19th, also known as Juneteenth. Juneteenth commemorates the day when enslaved people of Galveston, Texas learned that they had been emancipated. It was on June 19, 1865, two years after the singing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In recent years, commemoration of Juneteenth has spread outside of Texas. Learn more about Juneteenth by:
- Watching this brief video on why it still resonates: https://youtu.be/hJKzdksodNY
- Reading this article: https://www.vox.com/2020/6/18/21294825/history-of-juneteenth
It is good to examine the ways we use the concepts of “light” and “dark” in our language, art, and liturgy.
Read: Genesis 1-2:4
Read Dr. Gafney’s sermon “Holy Blackness: The Matrix of Creation”: https://www.wilgafney.com/2019/12/01/holy-blackness-the-matrix-of-creation/
This is a helpful resource about talking with children about race. While some adults are hesitant to talk about race with children, especially white adults to their white children, children of color typically begin experiencing racist harassment at very young ages. And, studies repeatedly show that children as young as three begin to mirror the ideas about race that they observe.
Read this article about best practices for talking about race with kids: https://www.embracerace.org/resources/your-5-year-old-is-already-racially-biased-heres-what-you-can-do-about-it
You may have heard the history of the United Church of Christ described as the coming together of 4 streams of Protestant Christianity (the Congregationalists, the Christian Churches, the Evangelical Churches, and the Reformed Churches). Dr. Yvonne Delk believes that we also need to include a fifth stream of traditions: Afro-Christian Churches. Here is a one hour video where she outlines some of that history: https://youtu.be/MEvcyUQmIiw
Read these two scriptures and note how they talk about Power- who has it, what becomes of the powerful: Ephesians 6:12 and Luke 1:46-55
Read this article about Christian Theology and anti-racism: https://theologycorner.net/blog/blogs/apocalypse-and-analysis/2017-10-24-how-should-christian-theology-be-anti-racist/
Read about the Doctrine of Discovery: https://upstanderproject.org/firstlight/doctrine
Want to learn more? Watch this 1 hour video about the doctrine of Discovery as exercised in Hawaii: https://youtu.be/cRP8oeAxv_E