Racism in Churches?
Updated: May 16, 2022
I heard Anthea Butler at a webinar #whenshespeaks and picked some favourite quotes from her book. She points out that just as slavery was a curse to black people, it was a blessing to white people. It set up systems that benefited white people. While individuals have apologized for racist behaviours, structural changes or restitution are lacking.
As I have been researching women in church leadership in history, I noticed that many of those who fought for equality of sexes also fought for equality of races. The same individuals were advocating for abolition and voting rights.
Many times when the mainline or large churches closed the door to women preachers, the women either became independent, itinerant preachers, or joined smaller, sidelined denominations. Then the large churches could write off the women preachers as being in churches that were not significant or mainstream, possibly not even truly Christian.
Blacks in America broke away from many churches because those churches followed cultural practices such as segregated seating and not allowing a black to teach a white person.
While Anthea Butler's book is speaking specifically about United States history, those of us in other countries need to look at our own histories. Canada has a history of indentured servitude of blacks, and of disrespect for the culture of our indigenous peoples.
Praise be to God, we have come a long way since those days.
However, recognizing this racist history may help us see where change may still be needed to make us more like Jesus.
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another.”
John 13:35 NIV
In the novel, Forgotten Followers: from Broken to Bold, Mary is broken by abuse, Joanna by #racism. Both take active steps towards wholeness.
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