September 28, 2021

EPISODE 05 – “Racism and the American Church” with Jemar Tisby

Historically, has everyone truly been welcomed with no question into the church? Jemar Tisby examines the harsh reality of the American church’s involvement with racism and how that’s left a void for so many. This is not a history lesson. Instead, it’s a moment for the church to contend with its previous actions (or inactions) and learn to move towards a more equitable and hopeful future.
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Show Notes

 

Guest Bio:

Jemar Tisby is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism; CEO of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective; and co-host of the podcast, Pass the Mic. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Mississippi, and he and his family call the Deep South home.

Summary of Show: 

America has a unique and ugly relationship with racism, and unfortunately the church in America has often been involved in this history. Even today, racism, implicit bias, and microaggressions can show up in churches; but it doesn’t have to be this way.

On this episode of Where Ya From?, Jemar shares his own story of being treated differently because of the color of his skin, but also walks us through the American church’s involvement with racism from before the founding of our country to the present day. Jemar will end today’s conversation with some real hope of how change is possible, and how we can work toward a new day when all are truly treated as equal. 

Notes and Quotes: 

  • “But to me, [microaggressions] it’s racism by a thousand cuts; a paper cut is small, but painful. Microaggressions are sort of everyday reminders that you are different, other, marginalized, less than, many times unintentional.” 
  • “So I’ve long said that racial justice requires priestly proximity. Priestly proximity meaning, you’re not going to have the level of empathy and solidarity for people unless you’re close to people who are suffering. You’re not going to have the kind of pastoral concern unless you are near to people who, in Matthew 25, Jesus calls, ‘The least of these.’” 
  • “And what he shows in that book is that the Civil War is not just a battle about bondage, it’s a battle over the Bible too.” (Jemar Tisby on Mark Noll’s book The Civil War as a Theological Crisis)
  • “Just because the Civil War ended doesn’t mean racism ended. It just means they lost the military battle.”
  • “And one of the things I say in the book is racism never goes away, it just adapts. And so, one of the adaptations in the wake of the Civil Rights movement is this coded language that means race. What began as an explicit tactic has become so commonplace that people don’t even recognize it anymore.”
  • “But for decades, the church has had the opportunity to lead on issues of racial justice and to start a movement and lead a movement on racial justice. But in many ways, we didn’t do it.” 
  • “We can either shrink back and demonstrate complicity in the face of racism or we can demonstrate courageous Christianity and confront it rather than compromise with racism.”

Links Mentioned In Show: 

 

Verses Mentioned In Show: 

  • Matthew 25
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