RECONCILIATION & The Power Struggle Involved in Transitioning to a Multiethnic Church

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Reconciliation is not about acculturation or blending, but about “giving up power.” That’s what Mark and I tried to say in our book: re;MIX Transitioning Your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press, 2017). Read this article below for a good corollary.

“Transitioning to a Multiethnic Church” By Eric Nykamp, Global Christian Worship, 8/25/17.

Many urban white churches realize that their congregation doesn’t reflect the diversity of the cities they reside in, and many of these churches desire to become multi-ethnic communities. However, moving from this desire to developing into an actual multi-ethnic community can be challenging, especially for churches with a track-record of being a “whites only” worship space in their city. Since most white people have little awareness of their white cultural norms, they mistakenly assume that what is normal for them is also the norm for all people … and are puzzled when their “outreach” or “welcome and enfolding” efforts fall flat with people of color. Due to this cultural blindspot, they are unable to recognize that some of their white cultural norms send the message that people of color with different norms of worship are not welcomed, unless the person of color is willing to assimilate.

Some majority-white churches realize that changing their worship norms will help them develop into the multi-ethnic space they desire to become … but find that they are stuck in making this happen. This talk, given at one such church, addresses how white Christians need to recognize and understand how white norms about worship may operate within their church. The presentation asks questions about what it would mean for white people to change their ways and give up power in order to become a multiethnic community. He concludes with a challenge to white Christians in multiethnic churches to love their brothers and sisters of color with Christ self-sacrificial love for the church, especially when it comes to issues of power and control in multiethnic churches.

Read more at … http://globalworship.tumblr.com/post/164621929550/transitioning-into-a-multi-ethnic-church-eric

Hear it at:

http://cdn.antiochpodcast.org/021.mp3

and go here for more:
http://antiochpodcast.org/podcast/episode-21-worshiping-whiteness-a-presentation-by-eric-nykamp/

RECONCILATION & 5 Non-Negotiables for White Folks In Pursuing Reconciliation

by Andrew Draper, Taylor University, 8/8/17.

…Pursuing reconciliation … does not mean that having white skin is inherently sinful or that appreciating historically “white” cultural particularities is necessarily problematic. However, this is not the way white identity has functioned in modernity. Since at least the days of colonization, whiteness has been presented as the universal “good.” In this sense, “whiteness” names a way of being in the world, a sociopolitical order that is best understood as idolatry. Pursuing reconciliation demands that the altars of whiteness be cast down and its high places laid low.

Here are 5 practices in which white folks must engage if we are to seriously pursue reconciliation:

  1. We must repent for complicity in systemic sin.
    White folks must repent for histories of slavery, subjugation, segregation, and a racialized criminal justice system…
  2. We must learn from cultural and theological resources, not our own.
    Rather than gravitating toward books and sermons from “white” sources, white folks must listen to other interpretive trajectories on those tradition’s terms…
  3. We must locate our lives in places and structures in which we are necessarily guests.
    Christian theology and ecclesial practice has often understood itself as being “host” to the world. White Christians often enter unfamiliar places not as guests, but as self-appointed arbiters of divine hospitality. How different it would be if white folks practiced withholding judgment about what is “needed” in specific places and structures…
  4. We must tangibly submit to non-white church leadership.
    …White Christians desiring to practice reconciliation must not unilaterally start churches, plan worship services, design cultural events, and organize community activities and then invite “others” to them. Rather, white folks must join churches or ministry associations in which they are a minority and which are led by non-white folks.
  5. We must learn to hear and speak the glory of God in unfamiliar cadences.
    If white folks practice being guests and submitting to non-white leadership, we will begin to hear God spoken about in ways with which we are not familiar. Rather than jumping to evaluation of previously unfamiliar modes of discourse, white folks must learn to “sit with it” for a while, to join in and experience the praises of Jesus in ways that may be initially uncomfortable…

Read more at … http://fuller.edu/Blogs/Global-Reflections/Posts/Five-Non-Negotiables-for-White-Folks-In-Pursuing-Reconciliation/

#DMin LEAD 716

HUP & Mark DeYmaz on Why McGavran Recommended Heterogeneous Churches

by Mark DeYmaz, Mosiax Conference at Exponential East, 4/25/17.

Donald McGavran suggested that the healthy church was heterogeneous, but with homogeneous cells (or sub congregations).  But the homogeneous unit principle (HUP) which is defined that people “like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic or class barriers,” gave the majority church in America a theological rationale to create churches monocultural churches.  Donald McGavran didn’t support this and even warned that focusing on one culture can make the church racist.

(On his website, Mark continues)

What may surprise you, however, is what Donald McGavran himself had to say about the HUP: “It is primarily a missionary and an evangelistic principle.” And in an apparently prophetic admonition, McGavran also warned that with any misunderstanding or application of the HUP, “there is a danger that congregations…become exclusive, arrogant, and racist. That danger must be resolutely combated.” Such quotes from within the context of his life and ministry clearly reveal McGavran’s understanding of the HUP: what it is and what it is not. More importantly, McGavran’s words reveal his expectation that a healthy local church will reflect God’s heart for all people in ways that go beyond mere mission statements and the race and class distinctions of this world that so often and otherwise divide.

In my new highly innovative eBook, Should Pastors Accept or Reject the Homogeneous Unit Principle?you will learn that the HUP was never intended by McGavran as a strategy for drawing more believers into church or for growing a church in the sense of how most are taught to think of it today. Rather, the HUP was originally mined and refined as “a strategy to reach unbelievers—a missionary principle” according to Donald McGavran, himself. Yet from its introduction in the United States, the HUP has played right into our natural, all-too-American, desire to become real big, real fast: and it works. In other words, to grow a big church, you simply target a specific people group: give them the music they want, the facilities they desire, in the neighborhoods where they live, and “they” will come…whoever “they” are.

77D60D40-6B02-408E-9AB1-0A662C12F3B2-1-2048x1536-orientedHere is Mark’s diagram.  The “umbrella” at the top represents the heterogeneous church as an organization.  The lines and circles represent “cells” (or I would call larger cells = sub-congregations) of different cultures that are part of the same church.

Read more about DeYmaz’s rediscovery of the original intent of the HUP here: http://www.markdeymaz.com/glue/2011/08/should-pastors-accept-or-reject-the-hup.html

MULTICULTURAL & Observations by Daniel Im, teaching pastor of The Fellowship, Nashville

Daniel Im, a teaching pastor at The Fellowship a multisite church in Nashville, shared some interesting observations at the Mosiax Pre-conference at Exponential East today. Here are some of the take-aways.

Cultural comfort develops in our childhood.  “If your parents had a dog when you were young, you probably want a dog when you enter adulthood. The same is mostly true for cats.”

Is there a place in America for a mono-ethnic Asian church? “There is a lot of grey area around this for immigrant groups.  If it is language-based, then probably yes. But, maybe not for second-generation churches… So, what if we partnered and shared our facilities with immigrant churches and helped disciple the second generation?”  This would be what I have described as a Multicultural Alliance Model where the church assets are shared.  Read more about this here … http://intercultural.church/five-types-of-multicultural-churches/

An Example of a Multicultural Alliance Model:  “We had a first generation Arabic congregation in our church.  They didn’t have much finances, so with our support of giving them their space free, they could concentrate on reaching their culture.  They told us, ‘We don’t want to be an independent church.  We would rather not do the organizational piece’.”

For more on Daniel and his ministry, see … https://www.danielim.com

 

COLORFUL CHURCH & Why I don’t have a problem with segregated worship at 10:30 am, IF reconciliation takes place at 11:30

April 10, 2017 | by Bob Whitesel, published by Church Central.

It has been said that “10:30 on Sunday morning is the Church Central copy.jpgmost segregated time of the week.” I don’t have a problem with that if 11:30 is the most integrated time during the week. Here is what I mean.

The purpose of worship is to draw near to God as if to kiss his feet. This means the goal of our “worship services” should not attempt to create unity but to create a connection with God. I asked a girl in one Millennial church why they had such a large foyer with a coffee shop. She said it was because the large foyer was designed as a place for people from the early service and the late service to fellowship and discuss what they are learning. I replied that in my observations, most of the time in Boomer churches this fellowship takes place in the sanctuary. She replied, “That’s a poor place to have fellowship. The seats are facing the wrong direction.”

Worship has become too many things; it is one thing.That got me thinking about 15 years ago, about how we have turned worship services into pep rallies. We often celebrate the church and our volunteers or our different musical styles, when really “worship service” in its very terminology is about connecting people to God. Maybe that is why people sometimes feel less connected with God, because we have the wrong emphasis in large segments of the worship service.

I’m not saying worship doesn’t take place in our worship services. It does. I’m saying, however, that it often feels sandwiched in between so many other things.  Worship is too important to be sandwiched.

Where is fellowship, dialogue and reconciliation fostered: the Fellowship Foyer, Hall, etc. I believe fellowship is better fostered when we can talk about what we are learning at length. That takes place best in small, intimate groups where we can dialogue on a regular basis about our differences. But, it is especially hard to do when you’re entering or vacating a sanctuary so the next service can be held.

A good first step, however, would be for churches to provide a fellowship foyer (fellowship hall?) adjacent to the worship area where people could hang around after worship services to discuss what they are learning. I believe we must again create robust areas for fellowship, like the fellowship halls of old. These were the places of old where congregants hung around after church and deepened their relationships.

Even today many large churches with trendy facilities foyers too small for congregants leaving one service to fellowship with congregants attending the other.  One pastor said, “We have a foyer, but they don’t hang around.”  Well, if we are intent on creating unity and making 11:30 (or 10) a.m. a reconciliation time, then we may have to spend more time and thought on how to create fellowship. Just don’t do it during the worship time and detract from that.

And, worship services should be multiplied according to the artistic genres with which people are most culturally comfortable. It has been my observation that people worship best when they are singing songs with which they are familiar, to music with which they are comfortable.

I don’t think the worship service is, by its very name, purposed to create unity. I believe this is the wrong use of the worship time because the designation “worship” means a time to draw people close to God as if to kiss his feet.

I’m not against unity, I’m for it … just not at the expense of worship.I want to see more unity in our churches. But, we detract from the important ministry of worship and the Word by trying to cram into our worship services a unifying experience as well. In fact, I’ve written a whole chapter in the book The Healthy Church (2013) on how to create unity services.

Reconciliation begins with dialogue. Reconciliation is not going to take place in the limited conversations of a fellowship foyer, fellowship hall, etc. But it needs to start somewhere, and it can be fostered there. What if people who enjoyed different musical genres could attend the same church, hear the same sermon (perhaps by different culturally relevant preachers) and then exit into a “fellowship hall/foyer” to might with people of other cultures and learn how the sermon impacts each culture similarly and differently. This can begin a dialogue that can then branch out from Sunday morning to the rest of the week.

Here I think is the reason the quote that “10:30 is the most segregated time of the week” was utilized by Martin Luther King Jr. That is because our churches are segregated on Sunday mornings. This may be because most churches offer only one musical genre style of worship and therefore those who come to worship are primarily people attracted to one musical genre. I recently wrote a book with a colleague titled: re:MIX: Transitioning Your Church to Living Color(Abingdon Press).

I pray fervently for churches to develop a ministry of reconciliation to God and one another (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

So, what if we offered multiple genres as well as united opportunities to talk about what we’re learning over a cup coffee in our foyers? Reconciliation might not end there, but it certainly should start.

Most people who attend church do so on Sunday mornings. And they attend a segregated church because the music we select and the facilities we build promote one dominant culture. That is not good.  So, if we are going to start breaking down cultural biases and walls, we must start church makeovers with facilities and options that promote multicultural options with uniting environments.

Read more at … https://www.churchcentral.com/blogs/why-i-dont-have-a-problem-with-segregated-worship-services/?utm_source=Email_marketing&utm_campaign=emnaCCC04112017&cmp=1&utm_medium=html_email

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MULTICULTURAL & Most Scientific Research Narrowly Based on Samples of Western, not Asian Populations

The weirdest people in the world?

Henrich J1, Heine SJ, Norenzayan A.

1 Department of Psychology and Department of Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada. joseph.henrich

Citation

Behav Brain Sci. 2010 Jun;33(2-3):61-83; discussion 83-135. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X0999152X. Epub 2010 Jun 15.

Abstract

Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.

Full text at journal site

Read more at … https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20550733/

BIAS & Guarding your Eyes: The Impacts of Unconscious Bias in Multiethnic Churches

by Oneya Fennell Okuwobi, The Journal of the Academy for Intercultural Church Research, 10/27/16.

On September 19, 2016, millions watched a video showing that Terrence Crutcher was tased and then shot after his car stalled on the highway. He lay bleeding on the ground unattended and later died. Although much uproar resulted from this video, watching black men die is nothing new. On April 23, 1899, two thousand people watched as Sam Hose was brutally mutilated and burned at the stake. We view our modern spectacle of death through dash-cams and cell phone videos rather than at celebratory gatherings, but there is continuity between the two phenomena. Posted in the interest of transparency, videos of police-involved shootings show intimate views of last breaths that will have devastating impacts for modern race relations. As we watch these men die, we dehumanize them and deepen our unconscious biases.  In the context of multiethnic churches, these biases result in reification of racial hierarchies that threaten unity within the body.

To understand the possible consequences of these images of death, it is important to recognize that race is not an objective reality, but rather a created one. Race is used to organize social life in the United States by ranking various groups (Omi & Winnant, 1994). In this process, meaning and status are assigned to physical differences (e.g., skin color), not by natural distinctions but by specific action. For example, legal proceedings were used to determine now taken for granted definitions of race. Berkley law professor Ian Haney Lopez’s White by Law (1996) recounts suits brought by Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and Syrian immigrants attempting to prove in court that they were white and therefore eligible for US citizenship prior to 1940. Various court cases were also used to assign blackness to those with any African ancestry, solidifying what is popularly known as the “one drop rule,” even as other countries developed more nuanced views of black and white.

The formation of racial differences can take forms much more gruesome than court proceedings. In the case of public post bellum lynchings, Fordham University sociologist Mattias Smångs (2016) has shown that these executions were critical “race making” events. These not uncommon occurrences were used to cement racial divisions at a time when freedoms granted after the Civil War could have threatened white superiority in society. The sentiment around lynching affirmed separation of whites and blacks into “us and them,” both politically through the strengthening of the southern Democratic party and legally through the advent of Jim Crow.

So what do lynchings a century ago have to do with our current state of race relations? Race was not created once and for all during slavery or during the time of legal segregation. Race has to be recreated in order for divisions and hierarchies that cast some as less than to continue generation after generation. Public displays of violence have effectively led to racial divisions in the past; the ways in which police-involved shootings of black men are portrayed today are recreating race via unconscious bias.

Unconscious biases are deeply held attitudes that affect decision making without an individual’s awareness (Banaji and Greenwald, 1994). These biases can be positive or negative. Importantly they have no relationship with the conscious attitudes or prejudices an individual holds. A person can consciously desire to treat all people equally, while in actuality treating persons differently by race, class, or gender due to implicit stereotypes.

A common bias is viewing Black men through the lens of criminality. University of Florida law professor Katheryn Russell-Brown (1999) coined the expression criminalblackman to express how myth meshed deviance and blackness into one. Even if you are too PC to actually cross the street at night when being approached by a black man, you probably consider it; this myth is to blame. This myth also makes boys carrying toys- like Tamir Rice and Tyre King- subject to the consequences of grown men. From the time of slavery, black men have been depicted as dangerous to justify violence against them (Alexander 2010). Each time a new video of a police-involved shooting is released, this process continues. If one is already stereotyped as a criminal, simply viewing him in an interaction with the police confirms that bias. Whether accused of a small offense such as selling loose cigarettes [Eric Garner] or a non-offense such as having car trouble [Corey Jones], the dead instantly bears the burden of culpability. This association recreates race by depicting black men as especially, and justifiably, policed.

Beyond the prejudices triggered through images of police interaction, further damage is done by the predictable response post shooting. News outlets and social media posts examine videos, criminal records, and eyewitness accounts, citing this evidence as police action is vilified or justified. The act of analyzing and arguing about the violent death of another image bearer dehumanizes the dead. A recent video has reimagined some images of police shootings with white victims instead of black to jarring effect. To the extent that it is acceptable to view a black victim and not a white one, race is recreated by making the death of one less tragic than the other. As our biases make black men less than human, it is small wonder that Blacks are nearly twice as likely to be killed by police when compared to Whites. Stereotypes of criminality and the process of dehumanization combine through the voyeuristic viewing of shooting videos, recreating racial hierarchies and maintaining a dangerous environment for black men.

Leaders and attenders of multiethnic churches need to be especially watchful of the impacts of bias within their churches. Multiethnic churches tend to handle race by subordinating racial identities to broader identity in Christ (Edwards, Christerson, and Emerson 2013). This enables churches to keep unity, but allows racial attitudes and inequalities already present in society to seep into church operations. Unexamined attitudes are not innocuous, on the contrary, unconscious bias actually has more predudicial effects on the behavior of those who view themselves as valuing all people equally than those who realize that they hold prejudices. (Gaertner, 1973). Not surprisingly, it is difficult to develop deep, reciprocal relationships where unconscious bias creates a barrier (Greenwald, Banaji, and Nosek 2015) To the extent that multiethnic churches are not discussing race, or the dangers of bias, these items remain beneath the surface, hindering the objective of unity…

Read more at … http://intercultural.church/index.php/2016/10/27/guarding-your-eyes-the-impacts-of-unconscious-bias-in-multiethnic-churches/

References:Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. 1 edition. New York: The New Press.

Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. 1994. “Implicit stereotyping and prejudice.” In M. P. Zanna & J. M. Olson (Eds.), The psychology of prejudice: The Ontario Symposium (Vol. 7, pp. 55-76). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Dovidio, John F., Tamar Saguy, and Nurit Shnabel. 2009. “Cooperation and Conflict within Groups: Bridging Intragroup and Intergroup Processes.” Journal of Social Issues 65(2):429–49.

Edwards, Korie L., Brad Christerson, and Michael O. Emerson. 2013. “Race, Religious Organizations, and Integration.” Annual Review of Sociology 39.

Gaertner, S. L. 1973. “Helping behavior and racial discrimination among liberals and conservatives.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25: 335–341.

Greenwald, A. G., Banaji, M. R., & Nosek, B. A. 2015. “Statistically small effects of the Implicit Association Test can have societally large effects.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(4): 553-561.

López, Ian Haney. 2006. White by Law 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race. Revised and Updated: 10th Anniversary ed. edition. New York: NYU Press.

Omi, Michael and Howard Winant. 2014. Racial Formation in the United States. 3rd edition. New York: Routledge.

Russell-Brown, Katheryn. 1999. The Color of Crime: Racial Hoaxes, White Fear, Black Protectionism, Police Harassment, and Other Macroaggressions. New York: NYU Press.

Smångs, Mattias. 2016. “Doing Violence, Making Race: Southern Lynching and White Racial Group Formation.” American Journal of Sociology 121(5):1329–74.

 

The Academy for Intercultural Church Research, a network of researchers dedicated to analyzing and researching multicultural churches such as multiethnic churches, multi-generational churches, churches reaching out to multiple socioeconomic levels, etc. Below is their home page. Be sure to bookmark it and  check out their journal which features the latest research on congregations that are transitioning into healthy multicultural churches.

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