Is the kingdom of God the privilege of any one group of people? Emerging theology bellows a resounding, “No!” Yet the structures, doctrines and histories of our faith traditions are infused with the notion that there are those who are privileged and have some right to be. Our hope for the next cohort gathering is together to expose the hidden entitlements and subvert the unspoken privilege afforded those dominant within Western Christian culture as well as to consider the power unjustly levied by Christians in Western culture.
Those of us facilitating the conversation on Tuesday, 28 August 2007, believe that these power inequities are most dramatically revealed in matters of race, even within the church.
“Race is a fiction we must never indulge and a fact we must never forget.” In his 1903 seminal work, The Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. Dubois prophesied that the problem of the 20th century in America would be “the problem of the color line.” Since not even American religion chose to adequately address race during the 20th century, we believe the power dynamics connoted by the phrase “the color line” still haunt our efforts to participate in the work of the kingdom of God even today.
We invite you to prepare for our time together by reading an article by Harry Belafonte, “Is America a Burning House?” on King’s fears regarding America’s prospects—even Christian America’s—for actually enacting justice. Then read an excerpt from Robert Jensen’s The Heart of Whiteness found on NPR.org. While there, consider listening to Jensen’s interview; it is also insightful. While reading, answer the questions and implications that both men raise; don’t let them pass as rhetorical. And overall, ask yourself, ” How should my current participation in the kingdom of God finally adequately address the concerns that these and other followers in the way of Jesus are raising about power and what its misuse has done and is doing to the human family? ” This is not just a black-white conversation.
We hope to hear your voice in the conversation Tuesday, 28 August, 8pm at Little Azio’s –
749 Moreland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30316
Phone 404 624 0440
Melvin Bray, David Park, and Jimmy McGee