‘From activity into action’ SURJ – 4

This is the fourth in a series of posts about SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice) in the church. Often the mainline churches can generate a lot of activity about racial justice in the form of established commissions, committees, agencies, and boards. What is needed alongside committees… is action. Principle 4: It is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting.  The church has done much… Read more

How the church can ‘SURJ’

Recently, in my alter ego work as director of Portland Abbey Arts,  I have become acquainted with the Portland, Oregon chapter of ‘SURJ.’ ‘SURJ PDX is a Portland based group focused on educating, organizing and mobilizing white people to work for racial justice.’  I had never heard of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) prior, but online I discovered it is a national organization with local chapters in cities across the nation. On the ground here in ‘PDX,’ I have become… Read more

‘That’s Just the Way It Is’ (for Black Women) – ‘But Don’t You Believe It.’

I’m going to show my aging Gen X sensibilities a bit here. After hearing about Melania Trump’s RNC 2016 speech, where Melania ‘borrowed without attribution’ much of a speech given prior by Michelle Obama, and after reading this article, the first thing that popped into my head was the 1986 Bruce Hornsby and The Range song, ‘That’s just the way it is.’ The song resonates with ‘how it is’ for many black women in American. White women sometimes ‘get a… Read more

‘Get up off of your knees’ – From church prayers to church justice – How do Black Lives Matter in your church judicatory? – SURJ – 5

The icon pictured above is of Our Lady of Ferguson written by Mark Dukes (with design assistance from Fr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones). This is post number 5 in a series on the church and racial justice called How the church can SURJ. I am speaking from the edge of the inside of a mainline church. This is where I live and work. I’m a local pastor and an introvert. In the church world around me, I am mostly invisible in plain sight. In… Read more

Nominee Trump: ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ meets ‘American History X’

The news that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee for president by the Republican Party often appears to be a comedy of errors, yet the reality is more like an American tragedy. Two films come to mind, The 1960’s B film The Little Shop of Horrors. Then and with more seriousness, the great 1998 film American History X. The Little Shop of Horrors is a 1960 cult classic directed by Roger Corman. It tells the story of a less than competent… Read more

‘Let us covenant together’ – How the church can SURJ – 3

In How the church can SURJ 2- I began to outline principles for SURJ change in the church. This post continues with more principles. Principle 2: Covenant to form accountable ‘action and reflection’ groups among local/regional powers who have pledged to their constituencies to take ‘risks’ for racial justice. Afterall, covenants are biblical. God used them for a reason. When I became vicar a ‘Covenant of Ministry was signed by me and the leadership board of my congregation. Wider church… Read more

‘Change making includes risk taking’ – How the church can SURJ – 2

In my first post on this topic I talked about how the methodology utilized by SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice) could prove to be an effective methodology for the church, if and as we seek to do the same. The church is in need of new thought and dare I say it, ‘experimenting’ with new methodologies for initiating fundamental and core change. Mainline churches are too often ‘sidelined’ when it comes to leading in the art of transformative cultural change,… Read more

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