Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference | Main Session 2: Race and the Church: Christians Joining God for Change with Dr. Michael Emerson

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities Kainos Movement

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference Main Sessions: Session 2 with Dr. Michael Emerson


Previous Kainos Movement 2015 Conference posts:




The following posts will feature my notes from the strong collection of Kainos 2015 pastors, nonprofit leaders, and sociologists who prophetically spoke into our segregated American cultureOur prayer, hope, and striving is that Emmaus City will be a transcultural and multi-ethnic church in Worcester, of Worcester, and for Worcester. As we move forward, we have much to gain from these men and women who have gone before us and lead the way in Jesus' name.

Kainos 2015 Main Session 2: Race and the Church: Christians Joining God for Change


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities Kainos Movement

Dr. Michael Emerson


Allyn & Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University
Award-winning author of Divided by Faith:Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America; People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States

Religion has immense potential to reduce racial inequality and division. But racially segregated congregations are a powerful countervailing force.

"Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done. The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach."Dr. Benjamin Mays, President of Morehouse College and mentor to MLK, Jr.

What is a multiracial congregation? No one group is 80% more of the congregation. It takes at least 20% or more of another group for them to begin to feel as if they have a voice.

Sadly, congregations are 10x more segregated than the neighborhoods they sit in, and congregations are 20x more segregated than the schools they are nearby.

Segregated churches reproduce:

(1) inequality
(2) separation of friendship networks
(3) strengthen racial division
(4) heighten political conflict

When we are connected across ethnicities, we learn how to step back and not fall back into preconceived notions and foundations. Not taking sides and listening help us grow. But when we don't understand and we choose not to understand, we tend to hunker down in our monocultural ideas and political and religious groups.
But there is a religious movement beginning. 

The percentage of multi-racial, - ethnic, and -cultural churches and amount of books focused on becoming multi- is growing at a rate that is fascinating and exciting to see as a sociologist:

1998: 7% of churches, 10 books focused on the topic
2012: 13% of churches, thousands of books

However, there is still a lot of room for growth.

83% of people involved with a church are only involved in monoracial relationships.
70% of people not involved in church are only involved in monoracial relationships.
But only 36% of people involved in a multiracial church have a continuing trend of monoracial relationships.

Benefits | There are immense social benefits for people across ethnicities who are involved in a multiracial church.

(1) Social ties are stronger
(2) An organizational home is formed for families and people across ethnicities
(3) Group formation and solidarity begins and grows
(4) Attitudes about races are altered
(5) Inequalities are reduced across all people groups economically, socially, spiritually as there are growing opportunities through a diversity of contacts

Criticisms and Concerns | There are worries from people that multiracial churches will hinder more than help.

(1) Moving towards multiethnic churches will obliterate race appreciation
(2) Moving towards multiethnic churches will hurt marginalized groups of people
(3) Moving towards multiethnic churches will reduce our unique and special differences within our cultures creating an unequal ranking of people based on major differences in wealth, education, employment, etc.
(4) Moving towards multiethnic churches will force a move of unidirectional assimilation with the majority culture

 We need to have a gospel-, love-, and service-focused movement of equally valuing all of God's people. One example of how to do this as a church is going on mission trips to countries that people in your church are from – and let them lead the trip and orchestrate the details. Give up authority, learn from, and love those God has placed you among.

  
– Sully


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