Thursday, August 06, 2015

Essential Resources for Moving the Racial Justice Conversation Forward

Race Forward
A conversation on race and faith leading to advocacy and action
Sundays, 10 a.m., beginning September 13th

As our nation and culture struggles mightily with issues of race relations, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church hosts a year-long congregational and community conversation on race and faith, leading to advocacy and action.

The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Elizabeth Eaton, has invited everyone in our denomination to participate in a live web-cast conversation on the complexity and implications of racism on August 6th at 8 p.m. (CDT): (

The Pew Forum recently released a study on racial diversity in religious denominations, and our own denomination is listed at the very bottom, as perhaps the most predominately white denomination in the country. This fact alone illustrates the importance of an intentional conversation on race and faith in our church (

Prior to the beginning of the class, consider reading some of the works in the included bibliography. During the year, consider reading one or more of the books (from which we will be reading brief excerpts) with your small group or book group.  Attend a community event on race, such as the Nightbird Books discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates' book (

Finally, if you can't attend on Sunday mornings (perhaps you are graciously volunteering to teach Sunday school or have another conflict), we will be recording each of the Sunday morning events and streaming them for folks to listen to later. If there is sufficient interest, people can also organize their own small group gatherings to discuss these resources on their own at a time that works for them.

The fall schedule:

September 13th: The ELCA Race, Ethnicity and Culture social statement
September 20th: Guest panel from the Cisneros Foundation
September 27th:  Discuss  excerpts from On the Run by Elizabeth Goffman or Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me
October 4th: How can we do more than just talk? (individually)
October 11th: Guest panel with multicultural leaders in Fayetteville
October 18th: The ELCA Criminal Justice social statement
October 25th: Discuss excerpts from The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
November 1st: How can we do more than just talk? (congregationally)
November 8th: ELCA Social Message on Community Violence
November 15th: Guest panel with police officers/prosecuting attorneys
November 22nd: Discuss excerpts from Redeeming a Prison Society by Amy Levad
November 29th: How can we do more than just talk? (communally)
December 4-6th: Focus weekend with Jennifer Harvey, author of Dear White Christians
December 13th: Summary conversation reviewing what we have learned
December 20th: Christmas break

Schedule will resume in the winter, spring with new topics such as Islamophobia, Latino ministries, and more.


Race: A Theological Account by J. Kameron Carter

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone

Bonhoeffer's Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance by Reggie Williams

Name Your Link

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Elizabeth Goffman

Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Reconciliation by Jennifer Harvey

Redeeming a Prison Society: A Liturgical and Sacramental Response to Mass Incarceration  by Amy Levad

Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas

Sister Citizen, Melissa V Harris Perry

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

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