By Orissa Arend
In the first chapter of what I would describe as a practical, prophetic guidebook to the Kingdom of Heaven, Joe Barndt reminds us that “our sisterhood and brotherhood in the family of God is imprinted in our hearts, minds, and souls. It is part of our spiritual DNA. We did not choose it and we cannot choose to undo it. We may love it, we may hate it, we may protest it, or we may ignore it. But the truth is, regardless of our color – red, brown, yellow, black, or white – we are all in the family for good.”
Over a decade ago Barndt, a Lutheran pastor, experienced teacher and organizer, came to my church, Trinity Episcopal, in his role as director of Crossroads Ministries with his team of multi-racial trainers to teach us to be anti-racist Christian organizers. Barndt stresses that he learned to understand racism from people of color. He had to unlearn the lies that he had learned about racism from white people. He sees his responsibility as taking a true analysis of racism to white people to help them heal and change.
Our church was large and powerful with affluent, well-connected parishioners almost all of whom were white. Despite our considerable commitment of money, time and energy for new learning and new relationships, and the formation of a continuously functioning anti-racist team called TURN (Trinity Undoing Racism Network), our church looks pretty much the way it did then. It is wealthy, privileged, and white, enfolding not so much the down and out as the up and about. Why has there not been more of a visible and substantial change in the last decade? Barndt’s book is a right-on-time answer to that question. Read More…