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Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Disciples of Christ Are Holding Online Anti-Racism Town Halls

This summer the Unitarian Universalist Association published the report of the Commission On Institutional Change regarding racism and white supremacy in the denomination. The General Assembly this year had a special focus on the topic as well, and there's hope and expectation that a revision of our principles will include anti-racist language. But it's not only this religious group facing some hard re-evaluation. Various Christian denominations are engaging in similar activities, and among them is the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

For a few weeks now there has been a series of 'town halls' underway in which panels discuss different aspects of discrimination among the Disciples of Christ. So far, it's been a mixed bag. 

The first one I watched was about not being complicit, and while I was glad that white people were discussing it, I question whether they should have gone before the various segments of people of color represented in the denomination. I was also very uneasy with the way that the white folks talked about it, leading me to believe that perhaps they haven't done the work quite to the extent they should to be discussing it. In the session about indigenous people the border wall was brought up as a major concern, and I couldn't help wondering about that. I think that it is a concern, but the emphasis placed on it by one individual seemed a little out of place. Overall the discussion was worth a listen. 

The following is the schedule for upcoming sessions:
  • Aug. 27 - Love is an Action Word: North American Pacific/Asian 
  • Disciples - Disciples reflect on the policies, practices, and theology that shape our relations with the NAPAD community, and their call to action.
  • Sept. 10 - Love is an Action Word: Latinx, Obra Hispana, and Just Borders - Disciples reflect on the policies, practices, and theology that shape our relations with the Latinx community, and their call to action.
  • Sept. 24 - Love is an Action Word: National Convocation, the Black Lives Matter Movement - Disciples reflect on the policies, practices, and theology that shape our relations with National Convocation and the BLM movement, and their call to action.
  • Oct. 8 - Love is an Action Word: Race, Gender, and Sexual Identity - Melissa Guthrie Loy, Luther Young
  • Oct. 22 - Love is an Action Word: Puerto Rico, Imperialist ideology, and mission - Disciples reflect on the policies, practices, and theology that shape our relations with Puerto Rico, and their call to action.
  • Nov. 5 - Love is an Action Word: Identity, Theology, and Faithful care for the community - A multi-racial, multi-cultural panel of Disciples talk about identity, theology, and how they live out the call to faithful care for the community.
Since it's almost certain that you'll be reading this after the series is complete, you can find the full playlist on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2EOD-rJvRNsnaZ9VjMtWq0S68i8qwl-l

Another really great panel discussion from among Disciples of Christ is a recent one from their New Church Ministry:  https://www.icarusinvict.us/2020/08/action-hacks-to-attack-racism.html

However imperfect, I'm glad to see this conversation happening within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and hope it bears fruit there, just as I hope the same for what's under discussion in the UUA.