My Blindspot to Romans 13

Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 20:42 | Category : Building Bridges of Hope to End Racism
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Learning to read and study the Bible was an important step in my spiritual formation. My grandmother would tell me to memorize verses of scripture to serve as encouragement and guidance. She would say “you should always have the Word of God in your heart even when can’t have a Bible in your hand.”

I can remember some of the lessons I was taught about how to read and study the Bible:find a quiet time and place, take notes, (we didn’t dare write in the Bible), pray, read, reflect, and to respond to the question, “How can I apply this biblical narrative to my life?” I also learned about the potential danger of using a scripture to justify or promote my point of view.

I am aware of the context in which Romans 13 was written and I am also keenly aware of what crosses my mind when I read the words in verse 1-7 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God…” This text has been used in support of slavery and of unjust immigration policies resulting in children and parents being separated.  When I must read Romans 13, I hasten to get to end the of the chapter to be reminded of what I believe to be true, even in our present context.

In the book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, the authors discuss a broad range of biases all of us have hidden in our brains.  These hidden biases can show up to influence our relationships with people based on our exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality and more.

Today, I am acknowledging my religious bias, my blind spot, my personal preference for one interpretation of a text over another, based on my lived experiences as a Christian. The concluding verses of Romans 13 focus on the paramount  importance of the command to love.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The more I study the Word of God, the more I realize I have major blind spots, the more I thank God for His love, mercy, and grace.

Dear God, thank you for loving me in spite of my failures. Help me to recognize and address my biases, as I strive to honor Your clear and concise commandment to love my neighbors. Amen

Appalling Silence

Appalling Silence

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:37-40 NKJV

I was preparing materials for a racism workshop to be held during an observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As I studied his most famous writings, this quote from his letter from the Birmingham Jail, disturbed me. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. (emphasis added) Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co- workers with God…

I have read and recited those words many times, but in the current climate in our nation, the weight of the words hang heavy on me as one who professes to believe in Jesus as our King, our Lord, and our Savior. I feel compelled to take this opportunity to speak a word for Him as I urge us not to let the political leaders or the crisis of the day, take our eyes off of the only one who can see us through.

Luke 19 tells the story of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus as He made His way to the Mount of Olives. The people who has witnessed His works began to shout out their praises but some of the Pharisees told Jesus to tell His disciples to be quiet.

I pray that in the midst of challenging times, when some would say to the saints who are serving God with gladness, “why are you doing that, why are you joining rallies, why do you give so much, what are you so joyful about, it doesn’t take all that” someone will have a flashback, remember what God has already done and that God still has all power in His hands. He wants us to serve Him in spirit and in truth. God wants us to demonstrate love, grace and mercy to others, as he has shown us. God wants us to be His witnesses!

My faith journey makes it hard to be silent when things are going wrong around me, but today I recommit to using my voice to help break the silence about racism and injustice.

I refuse to let the rocks to cry out in my place.

Breaking the Silence on Racism – Start Talking!

Breaking The Silence On Racism

Tuesday, 23 January 2018, 19:02 | Category : Building Bridges of Hope to End Racism
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Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. and Kingdom Mission Society invite you to join Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell and Mr. Alexei Laushkin for a dialogue – Breaking the Silence on Racism. They will share some of their perspectives on why their faith journey leads them to this moment in their lives. 

This will be a Facebook Live online discussion on

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 8 pm ET.

https://www.facebook.com/kingdommissionsociety

What Can You Do to Help End Racism?

Monday, 15 January 2018, 20:40 | Category : Building Bridges of Hope to End Racism
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(AP Photo)

Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. and Kingdom Mission Society will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by engaging 50 houses of worship, faith-based and other civic organizations to work together as bridge builders for racial understanding and action.

“What can I do?” is a frequently asked question when it comes to issues related to race in our communities. Throughout 2018, we will identify good answers to that question, as well as, provide and promote opportunities to add your voice and to be engaged with people of faith in supporting the legacy of Dr. King. We recognize there are many organizations striving to advance his dream. These efforts are often isolated and do not receive the attention they deserve. We will seek to create a supportive regional network of allies and friends committed to enhancing racial understanding and moving toward Dr. King’s dream of the beloved community.

We invite you to become a founding sponsor with MLK 50 Bridges in recognition of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK 50 Bridges is a collaborative effort to:

Break the silence around racism
Build bridges of understanding
Share information and promote relevant community activities related to racial understanding
Provide education and training to help develop knowledge and skills to disrupt and dismantle racism
Help us break the silence on racism, learn how to be a bridge builder.