During this series, we will be discussing how the gospel calls us to the world of racial justice and reconciliation. On February 27, we heard from Pierce VanDunk about the pursuit of costly unity and racial justice. This guide will give you a chance to take the conversation further.
Before you start, take some time to read or review our Conversations on Racism Discussion Tips. This short guide provides some important principles for having a good discussion on a very sensitive topic.
What is the hardest thing you ever did? Why was it so difficult?
Why should the Church pursue racial justice and reconciliation?
Read Isaiah 60:1-3 and Isaiah 49:1-6. In his sermon, Pierce discussed the way identity drives action. In the book of Isaiah, Isaiah says that the identity of God’s people is being a light to the world. Reflecting on these verses, answer the following questions:
- How have you seen God’s people fail to be a light on racial justice?
- What are some of the places you have seen God’s people, or individual persons, be a light on matters of racial justice?
Pierce introduced the concept of cheap unity vs. costly unity. Read the following quotes and respond to the questions.
“Cheap unity is the preaching of diversity without confronting disparity or discrimination. Cheap unity is the doctrine of colorblindness or the celebration of people’s cultures without understanding the painful history of their race and ethnicity. Cheap unity produces awkward silences when Christians of color share wounds from racist encounters or outrage from unjust systems. Cheap unity is no unity at all.”
- How does “cheap unity” undermine the creation of real diversity, equity, and inclusion?
- What drives the desire for “cheap unity” in communities?
“Costly unity, on the other hand, requires justice and equity. Costly unity requires seeing and knowing wounds that prejudice and injustice have caused Christians of color, seeking true healing and not just quick cover ups. Costly unity means clearly and unequivocally calling out racial injustice as evil and petitioning God to intervene on behalf of brothers and sisters of color. Costly unity is the only kind of unity God desires from us.”
- How is “costly unity” a reflection of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection?
- What would be the cost for pursuing “costly unity” for you?
Pierce provided a few practices that are good steps in the pursuit of racial justice and reconciliation. Read the list of these practices and answer the following questions:
1. Accepting People’s Experience with Compassion
2. Not Using Prayer and Spiritual Practices as a Way to Silence
3. Embracing Awkwardness, Humility, and Dialogue
4. Knowing the History of Racial Injustice
5. Supporting and Learning from Communities Oppressed by Racism
- What are some of the practical barriers to these kinds of practices? In other words, why don’t we always do these things?
- Which practice seems hardest for you currently? Why?
- What are some concrete steps you can take to pursue the work of costly unity today?
- Book: Latasha Morrison, Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation
- Book: Christina Edmondson and Chad Brennan, Faithful Antiracism: Moving Past Talk to Systemic Change
- Article: Barna, White Christians Have Become Even Less Motivated to Address Racial Injustice
- Resource: The Witness: Black Christian Collective