For the last 4 months a group of NT-NL Synod, ELCA leaders (the vast majority lay members of congregations) have been engaging in a Briarwood Leadership Center online study forum in which they have taken a deep dive into history and scholarship around White Supremacy and Racism. Tonight I had the opportunity to be a guest and join in to bring greetings and support for this group and its work.
This study is being facilitated by Ms. Emma Rodgers (St. Johns, Dallas) who has been a fixture in the South Dallas community for years. She brings a wealth of experience and scholarly interest in understanding the systemic ways in which our social structure has institutionalized unequal treatment for people of color.
This has been an amazingly well attended forum with an average of 40 or more individuals logging in every two weeks to discuss readings they have been assigned. The emphasis is moving beyond individual and emotional appeals to dig into understanding the historical basis of structural bias in our society.
By coincidence I happened to be listening to our local NPR station KERA this afternoon when they interviewed Columbia University Professsor Jelani Cobb about his new edited edition of the 1968 Kerner Commission report. This report, largely forgotten by history, outlines in detail many of the systemic issues that have impacted our communities and our church. We know this in NT-NL as w have seen neighborhoods change demographically and how that dramatically impacts our congregations unable to change and relate to the new people in their midst.
This is challenging material but we must face the reality that the body of Christ is fractured when racial bias and supremacy divide us. When Sunday morning church continues to be a deeply segregated hour in our nation. I am grateful for these dedicated lay leaders and rostered leaders. To our NT-NL Synod Public Witness team, and to Briarwood Director Dr. Robert Smith for coordinating this ongoing study. #NTNL #BWTX #InMissionTogether