This creative project was made up of seven small groups from our combination of churches: Lake Nokomis Lutheran, Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community and Living Table United Church of Christ.
During our time together we set rules to ensure respectful listening. Each session began and ended with prayer. Our learning was deepened by a visual presentation of the topic, an essay, and discussion. The essays, written by prominent Christian theologians and activists, covered issues around “race, the Bible, whiteness, African American and Native American experiences in the U.S., as well as the role of women in racial justice movements.”
Some of the cherished experiences of these sessions for us were:
- Excitement to meet new friends from the other churches, and the trust we developed with one another. We were also impressed by the gripping honesty of some of our group members – sharing what they have encountered, and admitting the things we never realized.
- An appreciation of the work that many in this small group have already done as well as their knowledge of resources and amazing commitment to justice.
- Sharing our sorrow as we learned how our devastating systematic caste entrenchment has cruelly impacted people Christ asks us to love and serve and how the Bible has been interpreted to hold people of difference in judgment and control.
- A specific essay by Jim Bear Jacobs taught us the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery, which declared that New World lands first discovered by a European Christian nation could be seized and claimed (its inhabitants and land) by that nation. This profoundly, sadly impacted the rights of indigenous people. He reminds us that since tribes were uprooted, the name of the tribe is a treasured designation, and speakers/writers should be respected by acknowledging their tribal name.
- Lenny Duncan in our last chapter calls us to an image of a kin-ship, a family of Christ, a tapestry of people living in equality. He challenges us to become activists for the soul of the country. Our churches are the DNA of hope; God is empowering us. We are the embodiment of the Holy Spirit.
I'm encouraged and hopeful to learn that many of the dialogue groups have chosen to continue meeting to work on projects inspired by the dialogues in 2022, and the years beyond.