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Confronting Racism as Spiritual Practice

An honest look at the church's role in the history of racism in America.

Elise Edwards

2020 Summer Formation

Spiritual growth involves helping us to see ourselves as who we are, not just who we wish to be or try to be.  Many of us are already doing this work in our spiritual lives and know that the Christian life is an ongoing process of sanctification.  Many of us already use tools and resources like scripture reading, the enneagram, spiritual direction, and centering prayer for spiritual growth.  We try to face our sins and examine them, trusting that the Holy Spirit doesn't ask us to do this so that we may be condemned or assaulted by guilt and shame.  Rather, we acknowledge our sins because we are enslaved to sin, and the power of Christ allows us to be transformed and renewed and healed.  

This study on confronting racism adopts this confessional, transformation-oriented approach.  Racism is an evil and a kind of sin that we have internalized.  It's time for us to confess and repent so that we can be truly transformed.

Essay by Marcia Riggs

If Christians are to confront racism sincerely, there are some questions we must ask: 

  • How has the American church, as an institution, been complicit in racism? 

  • How might we begin to address this in our worship, teaching, polity, and practices?

  • We also seek to discern what actions we might take, individually and corporately, to address the systemic racism that is so much a part of our society. 

Anyone who wants to join in these conversations is invited to participate. We ask that you make these commitments to fully engage: 

  1. Read The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby according to the schedule below.

  2. Plan to attend at least three of the five Zoom classes as an attentive participant.

  3. Set aside time for reflection exercises in between meetings, even if you know you will miss a Zoom class.

The Zoom classes will be led by Elise Edwards for half of the session, and after a short break, we will be in smaller groups on Zoom led by a trained facilitator from the congregation. This class is geared for high school age and above. If you are unable to participate fully at this time, we will provide reflection questions that you can use with your friends and family and we will work to have some children-friendly questions for family reflection.

We will conclude our study in August with two deliberation sessions, with the help from training from Baylor’s Public Deliberation Initiative. The first deliberation session will be on The Church’s Role in a Divided Society and the second session will be on DaySpring’s response to racism. More details about these will be shared at a later date.



Session 1: Sunday, June 28
How (and Why) We are Going to Talk about Racism
Foreword and Chapter 1 

Session 2:  Sunday, July 12
Origins of Racial Conflict in Early America
Chapters 2-5

Session 3: Sunday, July 26
 The Jim Crow Era
Read Ch. 6-7 before session

Session 4:  Sunday, August 9
Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter
Read Ch. 8-10 before session

Session 5:  Sunday, August 16
What Now?
Read Ch. 11 and Conclusion

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