The Color of Compromise Book Groups Weeks of July 26-August 30
Sundays, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm OR Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm via Zoom (Register below)
In response to racial injustices enacted on our streets in recent weeks, many of us are asking, “What is God calling us to do?” We are moved to action…but the shape of that action is not self-evident or simple.
As we seek to move forward in actively living into racial justice and reconciliation, we are, ironically, called to look back: to listen, learn, and reflect on the history of the American church (a past of which we may not have participated in but, nonetheless, are inheritors of) in order to allow God to transform our future.
To this end, the Racial Justice and the Church Working Group, Mission Outreach, and Christian Formation committees invite the entire First Pres community to read The Color of Compromiseby Jemar Tisby. A narrative historical survey, The Color of Compromise takes readers on a journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, to the tragedy of Jim Crow laws and the victories of the Civil Rights era, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement, to reveal the ways in which the American church has actively and passively perpetuated racism. Written not just about the church but for the church, The Color of Compromise is not aimed at condemning the church but about helping us to understand our own history and complicity so that we can be open to the places God desires to bring healing, justice, and reconciliation.
Break Us, O Lord: A Service of Repentance is designed to help us join together as a community of faith to express our sorrow and complicity in the violence that has been for centuries, enacted upon the Black community. In particular, we join together as God’s people to confess that we have not done justly, loved mercy not walked humbly with our God in terms of confronting the racism against the Black community in particular, and people of color more broadly speaking. We join together to ask God for forgiveness and to dedicate ourselves, as a church body, to acting in prophetic ways that will bring justice to God’s kingdom here on earth. Because this special worship service is intended as a collective confession and dedication, we hope you will join your First Pres Family for this time of community worship. For more information and resources, visit fpcberkeley.org/racial-justice/
As we move forward from our June 7 service, the Racial Justice and the Church Work Group (RJCWG), with input from other First Pres congregants, recommends the following resources as tools to help us all more fully develop hearts for racial justice.
The resources cover four broad domains:
The work of Black artists who give voice to the Black community, including the violence inflicted upon the Black community;
The concepts of whiteness, white fragility and white supremacy;
Writings on race, racism and on being anti-racist; and
Pieces that focus on the intersection of faith and race and racism.
The resources listed are culled from a larger list which we will make available later on the First Pres website. We know that an exhaustive list can overwhelm people with too many choices and with an uncertainty about where to begin. In addition, we hope that with a limited list of resources, there might be a greater possibility of conversations across the First Pres family as we make our way through some of these resources.
We recognize that for some congregants, these materials will be new. The list was generated with a focus on the current historical moment of the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans. As such, we wish to keep, for now, the focus on Black lives and anti-blackness. The list does not, thus, include a wealth of resources about the Asian/Asian American, Latina/o, and Native American communities’ experience with racism in the US (that will be part of the larger list).
We encourage you to dive into these resources with humble hearts and minds that are open to new ideas. For those who have already engaged with these resources, we ask you to return to them. In either case, as you read, listen, and watch, consider how the current historical “moment” shapes how you engage with the resources. Or, similarly, to consider how, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to fight racism, to be anti-racist, as we love our neighbor as ourselves. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
“The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
Throughout scripture and history, God has called God’s people to participate in the creation of the Beloved Community, breaking down barriers, seeking justice, and transforming hearts and systems.
Our vision is that all members and friends of the congregation—of all racial identities—respond to the Gospel’s call to actively engage in racial justice. We endeavor to consider how race, racism, and racial justice are enacted both inside the church and within the larger society. And, in response to God’s love, to consider the ways that we, as people of faith—individually and as a collective—can “love our neighbor,” across racial lines in both interpersonal and systemic ways.
Join First Pres as we continue to explore God’s Beloved Community and our call to share in its creation in our own context and communities. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com.