Why Do We Have Pro-Reconciliation Anti-Racism Ministry?
2013 Theme: Love Takes Courage
(An Article for Reconciliation Offering September 29th and October 6th)
The work of CCIW’s Pro-Reconciliation Anti-Racism (PRAR) Team is a sanctioned ministry effort of the Christian Church in Illinois/Wisconsin called to assist the Region in dismantling racism in the institution of the Christian Church. As a team, we gather from various parts of the Region. We affirm the one faith that we share as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and we understand that as church we deal with the church-spiritual and the church-institutional. All believers in Jesus Christ are on a spiritual journey seeking to be formed in the likeness of the One who demonstrated all inclusive love, equality, and justice. Our struggle is with the church-institutional. One of the greatest place of struggle as church-institutional is the area of racial reconciliation.
Racial Reconciliation is difficult to deal with as church-institution because the church-spiritual feels shame, brokenness, and resistance as the sin of racism is approached. No one wants to air their sins especially when we have embraced the One who forgives sin. Conversation is complicated by the fact that many of us tend to reflect personally on the individual intent to do harm to one of another race. The unexplored racism that is ingrained in institutions is what hurts us all. When we fail to recognize the very nature of all institutions that infuse a worldview that puts our white brothers and sisters in a position of internalized racial superiority (without asking for their permission). In the same way the institutions set forth a worldview for our People of Color brothers and sisters of internalized racial inferiority (without asking for their permission). Sadly some have used scripture as a means to justify the sin of racism through inaccurate and poorly intention-ed Bible exploration. Using scripture inappropriately by the church-institutional supports a lopsided racial worldview that creates road blocks to the unity of church-spiritual and healing of church-institutional. The church-spiritual is calling on the heart of the Gospel within each believer in Jesus Christ to examine the church-institutional to pursue the path of wholeness, healing, and God’s shalom.
In the life of church-institutional we have attempted to “fix” the issues of racism by making proclamations, discernment and position papers. What is needed is for Christians of all colors, opinions, political persuasions and theological perspectives to be willing to lay aside the pride that keeps us from admitting what is happening in our church-institutional. Are we willing to admit that racism has blurred all of our visions? The church-spiritual is urging us to go the Doctor, Jesus, the heavenly Ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to remove the cataract from our eyes that we may see clearly what we are doing to ourselves.
The Pro-Reconciliation Anti-Racism Team is a part of the church-institutional seeking to work with all our brothers and sisters to transform our church-institutional into a Church-Spiritual. We are seeking those who have experienced the pain, discomfort and brokenness in our church and want to be a part of a “movement for wholeness”. Join us on the journey.