Last Saturday night was the first of four monthly discussion groups for the "Go Underground" project. The idea is simple: gather two or more churches with very different racial demographics to simply discuss various issues related to race, race relations, racial wounds, and so on. We joined with Bridge of Hope from the urban core in KCK, meeting at their facility. (The next discussion will be at our facility.)
The discussion guides contain some historical and present-day stories related to race, with some open-ended questions for the joint groups to discuss. The first topic was fear.
The kinds of fear and experiences of fear do have some racial implications. A majority population doesn't have the same kind of race-related fears and minority populations. We can all have fears, but the nature of those fears are quantifiable in their differences.
The goal is not to "fix" the ills of our society, wallow in guilt, or cast blame. Rather, we want to enter into authentic dialog and friendships to become part of each other's stories. We can't fix racism, but we can certainly grow in our relationships across racial differences, and perhaps we can work together to change some systems that oppress and discriminate.
The Church has a responsibility to help bring healing to our land, even if those wounds are not our fault. (The Church, however, has had at times an ugly hand in racism in our country's history.) It is very much on Christ's agenda for His Church to bring redemptive healing to brokenness in the world. And we have the unique, divine power and responsibility to offer. There is no real hope here without Christ, and who else can bring Christ into brokenness? The Church must be proactive in addressing this cancer that is eating away at our society. It is not enough to just remain blameless.