The Gospel & Race: Disrupting Racism (07.08.19)
This material includes a set of group guidelines for helping the group navigate what can be a complicated topic to discuss. Please read these at the start of each group time to guide the group toward respectful, open, and nonjudgmental dialog.
Open in prayer and invite the Holy Spirit into your group. Take 3 minutes in silence to consciously leave behind distractions or burdens. Shift your focus and mindfully posture your heart towards toward this time of seeking God and practicing the way of Jesus in community.
Guidelines for Conversations about Race
Before having a conversation about race, a few guidelines will be helpful to protect the space for those sharing their experiences and perspectives so they can show up authentically and feel heard. These will be read aloud at the beginning to ensure that we’re all starting on the same page.
Safety and Confidentiality
In order to create a safe and brave space that encourages dialogue, openness, and honest communication, please limit your sharing to your own personal experiences. Be sensitive, kind, and generous to one another with your comments. Anything personal shared within the group should not be repeated outside the group.
Lived Experiences Are Valid
Remember this when listening to the stories and experiences that others in the group share. Their experience is valid because theylived it.
No Fixing, No Saving, No Setting Other People Straight
When someone shares their experiences, the right response is active listening and gratefulness for their sharing. We should not challenge their story because of our opinions on a component of the expressed lived experience.
Speak for Yourself
Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing. Use “I” instead of “they,” “we,” and “you.” Be sure that your own language reflects ownership and responsibility by using as many “I” and “me” statements as possible.
It is okay to feel challenged, discouraged, or angry, but you are responsible for your reaction to people. So be kind, honest, and help others show up fully by participating in the above guidelines.
Do Further Work Outside of CG
There is educational and emotional work that is integral to your growth personally and communally in this space. This CG material is designed to serve as a 90-minute response to the teaching for discussion, prayer, confession, practice, and relationship. To get the most out of your time together, we highly recommend that individuals also utilize these resources around raceprovided by Reality SF.
Sunday Teaching Response
Read Galatians 3:26-28. In the sermon, Dave examined how racism has divided us and how the redemptive journey of disrupting racism requires active participation. The Gospel offers hope: what divides us no longer divides us in Christ. Thereby through the Holy Spirit, we must actively repel racism in the same way we must actively repel sin in sanctification. Reflect and discuss:
- How does Jesus want to invite you (or maybe has been inviting you) to use your ethnicity to bring healing to others in this space?
- How does Jesus want to affirm the ways He’s already used you?
- Are there particular people He’s inviting you to love, be intentional with, or listen to?
Communal Lament & Repentance
Now that we’ve spent some time reflecting on ways the Lord may be calling us up to individually participate in disrupting racism, let’s think about this together within a broader context, as One Body. In the recent Family of Origin teaching, we learned how we all come into the family of Jesus with brokenness and wounds from being born into a broken world and imperfect families — but, that the Lord provides us with hope and grace in abundance.
As members of Reality SF, we come into the family of Jesus with a greater awareness of our collective past as a Christian Church in America: our nation’s history of racism and the Church’s complacency in racism. We first respond to this past with lament. Lamentation is an integral prayerful practice for navigating the hurt, grief, anger, despair, questions, disillusionment, and tiredness that may arise in this lifelong pursuit of a more just world (“on Earth as it is in Heaven”). The outcome is healing and restoration.
For 15-25 minutes, invite the Holy Spirit and fill out the template below as a guide in silent lament and repentance, and we will share the prayers after. Remember: prayer isn’t a place to be perfect, but a place to be honest. God already knows what’s in your heart. He’s with you and has given you complete freedom to lay it all out fearlessly without judgement.
Introductory Cry & Repentance (Your Address to God)
God, I call to you. I come before you and confess how we, the Church, are a part of a system and nation that has harbored and perpetuated racism throughout history into the present. Have mercy on us and hear my prayer.
Complaint or Lament (Fill in Your Emotions and Questions to God)
Affirmation of Trust (Your Remembrance of God’s Presence in Your Past)
Prayer for Deliverance (Request Deliverance and Why God Should Intervene)
Praise (Offer Praise and Gratitude to God for the Hope we Have in Him)
Sharing: Each person will read aloud their lamenting prayer. Listen prayerfully. Intentionally embrace this sacred space of grief and hope, bearing one another’s burdens in the healing name of Jesus.
Discussion: When everyone is finished, discuss:
- What was it like to sit prayerfully in lament?
- What was it like to listen to each others’ laments?
- How do you believe the Spirit interacted with you during this time of communal lament?
- How can our CG continue to best love and support one another in this topic of race?
End with Prayer
Close your time together with the Unity Prayer. This is a kind of corporate prayer exercise aimed at giving space to care for one another in a priestly way by lifting up to God the emotions and experiences which you heard expressed in your time together.
Take turns praying short prayers in the format of “Lord, hear our ___________ .” Fill in the blank with a feeling that you noticed someone else feeling. You could also fill in the blank with a desire or need that someone else expressed. For example: “Lord, hear our discomfort with being vulnerable,” “Lord, hear our grief in lament,” “Lord, hear our hope in knowing You.”
When there is a long enough pause that it seems fit, have one person close the time in prayer.