THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION

This month’s theological reflection is on “Lift Every Voice and Sing”


LEARN

Choose one or more of the following:

READ

  • Book of the Month: Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Why we don’t need a white history month Short article/video from Huffpost Black Voices to help you share with people who wonder why there is no “White History Month.”

  • The 1619 Project began as an idea pitched by Nikole Hannah-Jones (from Waterloo, Iowa), one of the magazine’s staff writers, during a meeting in January. Her proposal was clear and ambitious: to dedicate an issue of the Sunday magazine to examining the ways the legacy of slavery continues to shape our country.

  • African American History in Iowa (article)

  • Colored Conventions (website) -From 1830 until the 1890s, already free and once captive Black people came together in state and national political meetings called "Colored Conventions.”  Before the War, they strategized about how to achieve educational, labor and legal justice at a moment when Black rights were constricting nationally and locally. After the War, their numbers swelled as they continued to mobilize to ensure that Black citizenship rights and safety, Black labor rights and land, Black education and institutions would be protected under the law.

  • Absalom Jones: Learn about The Episcopal Church’s first Black priest.

WATCH

  • Race: the Power of an Illusion (available through Vimeo to stream for $4.99) (2 hours 50 minutes for all three sections).  This video questions the very idea of race as biology, suggesting that a belief in race is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth. Yet race still matters. Just because race doesn't exist in biology doesn't mean it isn't very real, helping shape life chances and opportunities. Each of the three sections is about an hour and would be a powerful thing to watch and discuss in 3 group settings.

  • The Time Has Come (30:19 min) Narrated by James Earl Jones, this short film Describes and illustrates progress of black Americans through black elected officials.

LISTEN

  • The 1619 Audio Series is part of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.

  • Historically Black (podcast) The Historically Black podcast brings historical objects and their stories to life through interviews, archival sound and music.


NOTICE

  • As you move through the day, what’s the racial composition of the people around you? On your commute? At the coffee shop you go to? At the gym? At your workplace? 

  • Visit your local library and identify books that are available for kids and adults to check out that deal with Black history. Is there a display? Are books available to suggest without the display? 

  • Consider this journal prompt: When was the first time you learned about African American History? Was it in school, with a friend, a parent, or on your own? What topic or person was the focus? How did exposure to this topic impact you?  Or, how do you think exposure can impact you or others in the future? 


ENGAGE

  • Interrupt the pattern of white silence by speaking openly with family, friends, and colleagues about what you’re doing and learning.

  • Review or research your family’s history in connection to racial history.


REFLECT

  • What stood out to you the most?

  • How are you feeling?

  • What action will you take?

  • Who in your family/community may want to take action with you?


PRAY

Holy and Gracious God, we give you thanks for the lives of your faithful people throughout history. For the privilege of learning about those, who in their time and place, have called us toward racial justice, we give you thanks. For ------------ ( name the people you’ve learned about this month), we give you thanks. For people of glorious color who call us to accountability in our own day, we give you thanks. As we continue to expand our knowledge of history, give us the courage to tell the truth and proclaim your dream. And finally, give us grace to love, honor, and follow the communion of saints of every creed and color, in order to bring your love to action. In faith we pray. Amen.