Download entire issue: Let’s Talk Issue 21.1: Can We Be a Multi-Cultural Church? [pdf, 372k]
The place names have become commonplace: Ferguson, North Charleston, Charlotte, Baltimore, Chicago. Their names have been ingrained into our memories: Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Laquan McDonald. The specter of racism has taken over our electoral politics from talk of border walls to the banning of entire populations. Even the Oscar Awards have not gone unaffected. Clearly there is a much-needed conversation about race going on out there. The question is, is that conversation going on within our church? This Lenten period of reflection and introspection is a fitting time for this dialog. The beginning of our services is often referred to as the Gathering. Here the people of God make space to come together in Christ’s name and oftentimes in this season, to confess our sins to God and one another. We hope the readers will consider the following articles as a gathering of sorts to reflect on the questions of race and multiculturalism in the ELCA.
In Breaking Free Wayne Miller begins the conversation with emphases of Lent: self-examination and confession, and poses three views of theological anthropology that may inform the church’s engagement with racism.
Francisco Herrera has an initially more celebratory response to the question, but also sounds the trumpet for lament in Can the ELCA be Multicultural? I’m Glad You Asked.
Recent police shootings and community protests call to mind the killing of Amadou Diallo for Stephen Bouman, and he weighs the call of Ta-Nehisi Coates and the call of Leviticus in Reparations? … Jubilee!
Coates is also on the mind of John Flack, as is Pope Francis. In Bodies and Worlds: Coates and Francis, Flack contemplates the future of the body of the world and the body of Christ.
Finally, in Working in a Multicultural Parish Josh Ebener gives an on the ground description of multicultural ministry in one congregation.