Preaching about Racism

Preaching about Racism❮PDF / Epub❯ ☆ Preaching about Racism ✪ Author Carolyn B. Helsel – Euipping pastors to address racism faithfully from the pulpit Of all the activities that come with being a minister sermon preparation can loom largest especially when racism is the subject You've got Euipping pastors to address racism faithfully from the pulpit Of all the activities that come with being a minister sermon preparation can loom largest especially when racism is the subject You've got to address Preaching about PDF/EPUB ² racism with your white congregation from the pulpit But truthfully you can't wrap your head around how to preach about this topic thoughtfully and sensitively In Preaching about Racism preaching professor and pastor Carolyn Helsel speaks directly to other faith leaders about how to address racism from the pulpit In her first book Anxious to Talk about It Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism Helsel addressed the anxiety white Christians experience around conversations about race In this followup Helsel provides strategies and a theoretical framework for crafting biblical and theological sermons that incorporate insights from social sciences and psychology gleaned fromthan a decade of writing and teaching about racism Written for the busy pastor several chapters are uick reads helpful reminders as you prepare a thoughtful and sensitive sermon while others dig deeper on the theory behind the crucial work of dismantling racism.

Is a well known author some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Preaching about Racism book this is one of the most wanted Carolyn B Helsel author readers around Preaching about PDF/EPUB ² the world.

Preaching about Racism MOBI ç Preaching about
  • Paperback
  • 132 pages
  • Preaching about Racism
  • Carolyn B. Helsel
  • English
  • 14 February 2016
  • 9780827231627

8 thoughts on “Preaching about Racism

  1. Robert D. Cornwall says:

    How does one convey the reality of racism in a sermon that will reach where people are at? Most people, most white folks, don't see themselves as racist. When they hear discussions of white privilege and white supremacy, they rarely see themselves being addressed. Racism is something that involves someone else. So, we don't get very far, and racism persists. So, what do we do?

    Like many mainline clergy, I've gone through anti-racism training. My denomination seeks to become an "anti-racist, pro-reconciling" faith community. It's a worthy goal, and the training is useful, as far as it goes. We learn definitions of racism and we become sensitized to the possibility that we, especially if we're white, could be racist. Now what?

    When I picked up Carolyn Helsel's book, I figured it might be another guide to preaching against racism. In one sense, it is that kind of book, but I found it to be more realistic about the nature of racism, the difficulty in defining it, and the challenges of communicating this to congregations. Preaching about racism is more than standing in the pulpit and railing against white privilege and white supremacy, using guilt and shame as the key motivators. That "righteous indignation" that goes by the name prophetic preaching might get you some applause in certain circles, but likely doesn't get us far toward change. At the same time, racism is something that must be addressed from the pulpit if change is to take place. Silence is not the appropriate response.

    This is a book written for preachers, which accompanies an earlier book written for congregations titled "Anxious to Talk About It," which I have yet to read. She recognizes that this is a politically powerful subject, and there is a sentiment out in congregations to avoid politically sensitive issues. The reality is that while this is political, it's not partisan. It is a concern of the polis, the community, of which the congregation is a part. Yes, we could lose our jobs, but again it is important. What Helsel tries to do here is provide foundations and strategies that can succeed, without leading to job loss.

    She begins with a chapter on "preaching to ourselves." For white preachers, called to preach to predominantly white congregations, about racism, one must start with looking at our own identities as persons who are white. This should lead in the end to gratitude for the awareness that comes when we take steps toward recognizing our own identifies, including the the fact that we are sinners and that we rest in God's grace. That is the starting point. When it comes to interpretation (chapter 2), it is important to recognize that there are differing perspectives on what racism is. I have learned that it is "prejudice with power," but that is only one definition. So part of the process is expanding our definitions and understandings of what racism might be, so that the congregation might begin to see how it impacts them. What does it mean for instance to live in a racialized context, where whiteness leads to power. This will likely involve story-telling. If chapter two is a call to the task of interpreting racism, chapter three offers us a look at varying definitions, recognizing that definitions change over time. This is a most helpful chapter.

    One aspect of chapter three is a presentation of ten myths regarding racism. This annotated list is most helpful, and it begins with myth 1: "Racism is not our problem." It concludes with Myth 10: "racial discrimination is against the law; what else can we do?" While there are laws against certain overt forms of racism, much more is needed. Laws yes, but more is needed. As we tell stories, she encourages preachers to do with compassion and understanding.

    Chapter four was especially helpful, for it is here that she speaks of the importance of "talking about racial identity with white people of faith." This is important because most of us who are considered white make assumptions about what that means, without doing much in the way of exploring our own racial identity. She notes that white folks tend not to identify ourselves as white, or least less so than persons of color (and that is in itself a conversation piece, as white is not the absence of color, but one color among many). Here is where she puts her finger on something important -- recognizing congregants own felt needs. One of those needs is moving toward greater justice for all. She writes: "key for preachers today is helping white congregants gain a new identity, an identity that recognizes the painful legacy of racism and connects them to a promised redemption that includes all of God's people" (pp. 44-45). The goal here is moving toward a "positive white racial identity" that isn't "based on on illusions of supremacy." (p. 45). This is important because the goal of preaching isn't to make white folk feel ashamed of being white, but recognizing that having a positive view should lead to acknowledging the harm done by racism. The way this happens begins with contact with persons of color, and moving along several stages to "autonomy," that is moving beyond previous assumptions about what it means to be white, so that there is no longer a need to fear the other, and thus feel the need to marginalize the other.

    Chapters five and six deal with scripture -- addressing what it means to engage in biblical preaching -- and theology. In chapter six, the chapter on theology, she explores in very helpful terms definitions of sin that can help us address the impact of racism, using as definitions idolatry, estrangement, and bondage. She suggests making use of the theological language most familiar to the congregation. But she doesn't end with sin, she takes us to messages of redemption and hope. She notes that "redemption and healing are mysterious and often elusive. However, what these theologians help us to affirm is that God will not leave us in our our idolatry or estrangement or bondage." (page 82).

    It is only after laying this important groundwork that Helsel offers some strategies for preaching. She discusses possible forms, but warns us against always telling stories where people of color are the victims. Tell stories as well about of people of color who are making a difference in the world -- positive examples of being agents in the world. She also reminds us that sermons aren't only about people of color. The goal here, in predominantly white congregations, is to help move the congregation toward understanding their own racial identity and moving toward becoming anti-racist. Here is the word that is so important for we who are white preachers called to preach on racism to white congregations: "We cannot motivate ourselves or our congregations through moralizing or shaming one another." A more helpful motivator is gratitude, which involves being thankful for "a sense of our human need for connection, and the blessings that relationships with others can bring. Most of all, we are moved by our love for God, and the gratitude we fell for God's loving presence in our lives -- inviting us into the work of redemption and healing the woulds of our community of faith." (pp. 94-95).

    One key reminder of this book is that the task is never ending, but it is our calling. This is an important book. It speaks to deep realities of our day, when we see the creeping presence of racism in our midst. As she notes in the book, much of this is ingrained and unrecognized. It's why the work is so difficult and requires patience and a great deal of grace, but redemption is possible. Preaching is not the only answer, but it is an important contributor.

  2. Rob O& says:

    Solid guide to talking about racism with a congregation. Helsel presents a well-researched argument, drawing from the fields of homiletics, sociology, psychology and civics. Essentially 1/3 memoir and 2/3 handbook, the reader sees how Helsel came to her position and deep desire to speak to the issue, something that is often missing from such types of books (generally relegated to the introduction or preface). However Helsel draws from her own story throughout, pulling from her many years in congregational ministry and now seminary instruction.

    Of particular note were chapters 2, 3 and 6. In chapter 2, Helsel lays out an argument for the importance of how recognition of racism influences how we interpret the biblical text. Here she provides three challenges, which are balanced throughout the book (most notably, chapter 1 provides a pastoral theology for gratitude). In chapter 3, Helsel works through 10 common myths about racism and how to answer them. And in chapter 6, captures the concept of racism as "sin" through the use of three metaphors: idolatry, estrangement and bondage.

    I do take issue with a couple of other positions, however those are sharper discussions which are better reserved for the academic conference. This is a solid and much-needed conversation, one that I would highly recommend to any Christian leader who takes seriously the issue of racism.

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