Our Shared Beliefs, Values, and Postures
Below are values, beliefs, and ways of being together that we’ve experienced as helpful and true that reflect the language used in our group. Having said that, if this language or concepts are unclear to you, that’s okay. We welcome questions as a part of the journey and would be glad to explain why we express ourselves in the ways we do:
Beliefs: We believe that...
Every person is made in the image of God and therefore valuable and inherently equal in the Creator’s eyes.
Racism is a sin. It is a lie and an idol. It dishonors the image of God, divides the body of Christ, and hinders the Christian witness.
The Bible calls us to a vision of reconciliation that includes an understanding of righteousness, justice and shalom. It requires actions like truth telling, confession, lament, repentance, re-imagining, generosity, and love.
Racism cannot be appropriately addressed without addressing the issue of power. Racism is fundamentally about power and the idolization thereof. Working towards biblical reconciliation requires a re-creation of power structures that are empowering to people of color rather than centering White people.
Racism is fundamentally a spiritual issue. It results from the powers, principalities, and evil operating in our world. As a result, racism must be addressed through a spiritual lens and with the tools of faith. However, we also acknowledge that racism has had concrete impact on people's’ lives and must be addressed holistically, not the least of which is through concrete and practical action.
While the harm that racism has done to White people does not compare to its impact on people of color, White people have all been diminished by racism and are in need of healing. As a result, we engage in the work of racial reconciliation, first and foremost for ourselves, believing that no people group can gain true freedom until everyone is free.
The history of the US is fraught with racism. The systems and institutions of our country were originally designed to benefit White people and, by extension, disadvantage people of color. Though US society has made progress since that time, we still live in a society where White people have the majority of power and resources. There is much work that needs to be done to make things right.
White people have been and continue to be instrumental in designing and sustaining a racist society. Because of how racism operates in our society, we can do this without awareness or ill intent and through behaviors that seem normal, natural, and even benevolent. As a result, White people bear a large measure of responsibility in contributing to the dismantling of racism.
As White people, we were born with privilege that is conferred through the color of our skin. This doesn’t mean that we have not experienced challenges or disadvantages due to other aspects of our identity, but it does mean that White people have advantages and avoid disadvantages that people of color do not.
The Church in particular has played an essential role in creating, sustaining, and spreading racism. This has significantly hindered its ability to share the Good News in word and action. The world has noticed and it’s time that the Church acknowledge, repent, and take actions to live into biblical reconciliation.
The White Evangelical Church in particular has largely chosen to maintain power rather than embrace and live out humility. The Church must choose humility over power for biblical racial reconciliation to be nurtured in our midst.
We need God’s revelation and healing power to make us aware, mindful, and repentant of the ways Whiteness has impacted us and help us live into a liberated faith.
We must choose to commit ourselves to ongoing self-work and receive the support and accountability that comes from a Christ-centered community so we, and others, can experience liberation and transformation.
It is critical that we listen to, learn from, and keep ourselves accountable to people of color. As White people, our socialization and social location creates obstacles to our understanding and effective engagement. Therefore, we need our brothers & sisters of color to help us determine if we are actually experiencing growth and contributing to progress.
We need to commit to taking action to contributing to the dismantling of racism in community. This action goes beyond our own self-work to impacting our spheres of influence with the gifts God has given us. Ultimately, we aim for this action taking to contribute to the biblical vision of reconciliation that addresses power dynamics and lives into reconciliation, righteousness, justice & shalom.
Values: We value…
Humility as participating in the humility of Christ (Philippians 2:1-11).
A healthy fear of God (Proverbs 9:10).
Open confession and honesty, transparency, authenticity (I John 1:9).
Commitment to always looking again in order to see ourselves more honestly and hear God’s whisper of conviction through the voices of those we’ve harmed (Luke 6:41-42, Mark 8:22-25).
Withholding judgement and extending grace and Truth (Luke 6:37-38).
The learning process, recognizing that it is a life-long journey and that we never fully arrive in this lifetime. We value that going on the journey brings greater wholeness to our own lives as well as others and the world (1 Corinthians 13:11-12).
Giving up power without feeling diminished. Instead of finding our value and identity in power, we strive to be secure in our identity in Jesus and his extravagant grace (Philippians 2:1-11).
Willingness to take action and engage across racial lines (John 4:4-15)
Taking thoughtful risks and getting out of one’s comfort zone (Acts 10:27-35)
Concern for others, love for both the oppressed and oppressor
Focusing not only on what we “do” but on our ways of being with other people, with our aim to be more like Christ.
Postures: We commit to the following ways of being together...
First and foremost, we are learners.
We recognize that we can do both harm and good.
We listen without condemnation and guide one another with gentleness.
We choose to engage in prayerful reflection, longing for our heart to reflect the heart of God.
Our goal is not to “fix things,” that is beyond our capacity and in the hands of God. Rather, we desire to grow through the journey and experience holistic transformation. As our ways of seeing, thinking, doing, and being are transformed, we can learn how to engage in the world around us in a way that nurtures biblical racial reconciliation.
We are communally oriented, open to learning from other people, and okay with being challenged, encouraged, and influenced in community.