Captive Audience: A Black Woman’s Reflection on the Sparrow Conference
I first heard of the Sparrow Conference when a friend posted online: “Look how diverse the panel is for this women’s conference!” I recognized several faces on the promo and was surprised at the ratio of POC to white presenters. Their website declared, “In an increasingly divided world in which truth has become a relative term, our hope is to point to Jesus, His infallible word, and the call to reconciliation to God and others.” The text of Ephesians was to be split between and taught by the speakers.
A group of my friends, all Black women, decided to attend together to learn and support the women we knew presenting. We were all particularly excited to hear from Ekemini Uwan, whom we were familiar with from the Truth’s Table podcast.
A Monocultural Welcome
As the conference began, I quickly realized it was overwhelmingly monocultural. Though there were a diversity of leaders, the message was white-centered.
We debated returning the next day and agreed we were still eagerly looking forward to hearing from Ekemini Uwan and Jackie Hill-Perry; that their messages might have something to say about our part in reconciling our divided nation to Christ.
We arrived early to create a welcoming spirit in front
Finally, it was time for Uwan to speak. Rather than being assigned a portion of Ephesians to teach, she was interviewed by Elizabeth Woodson. As her credentials were read, she was welcomed by a smattering of enthusiastic voices.
The Offensive Gospel
In introducing herself, she shared that her parents raised her to be of conscious race and proud of her ethnicity…a direct rejection of colorblind theology. That naturally bridged to her talking about the enslavement of her Black relatives in the US slave trade, the destructive forces of colonialism, and the global reach of White Supremacy. The Black women in the audience started making eye contact across the auditorium. We knew. This was an elementary lecture our white sisters, by and large, had never been forced to hear. The audience was sitting uncomfortably straight in their chairs, note-taking pens dropped in their laps.
Uwan referenced how the lynching of Trayvon Martin jarred many to explore, for the first time, racial identity and racial politics in our country. Every time she said white people, the white woman sitting to my left physically cringed. I could feel her thigh vibrating against mine as she tapped her foot. Uwan continued, “Jesus rose, bodily, as a brown-skinned Palestinian
I looked around at my friends. Some were nervous, sunk in their chairs, oppressed by the building tension swallowing the size of the room. Uwan continued, “Race is a social construct that was organized around strife, difference, and racial
Whiteness Meets Black Theology
It was obvious the audience as a group was angry and uncomfortable, but it was their very whiteness that trapped them
White womanhood trembled and seethed. The woman sitting next to me rose from her seat and angrily whispered, to no one in particular “Someone will hear about this.” Should the Sparrow Conference crumble under that stress? Should they apologize and assure Uwan won’t be on the stage next year? What happens when whiteness goes on without being confronted? To paraphrase Uwan, “The danger of continuing as we are is continuing to perpetuate oppression. Whiteness is wicked. It’s rooted in privilege. White, Black, and POC must divest from whiteness. Whiteness kills white people too. We must imagine a world in which our whole identity isn’t bound to oppression. We live an embodied faith. We must not use Christ as a bleaching force to strip us of our identities. Instead, we must express our Christianity through our ethnic and gender identity.”
So, what happens to whiteness when Black theology confronts its idols and takes up room in its sacred spaces? It claws for its purse in the darkness, storms quietly out of the theater, and asks to see the manager because it demands someone pay for failing to protect it from conviction and discomfort. When confronted, whiteness crumbles, falls on its face, head and hands breaking off like the statue of Dagon in First Samuel. We see it for what it really is – an idol meant to destroy us.
I left the conference unsure what the leadership of Sparrow Women thought of the interview with Ekemini Uwan and, by extension, me. Their Twitter account posted quotes and memes from the speakers throughout the conference, but there was noticeably no mention of Uwan. We were given a resource guide that gives me hope that she was a welcome voice to the organizers; though that support seemed absent when confronted with angry white women. The full interview can be found here.
My prayer in sharing is that the theology and teaching of Ekemini Uwan would forever be a sharp rock which shatters the facade of whiteness as goodness and pushes each of us to reclaim our lost ethnic heritages.
138 thoughts on “Captive Audience: A Black Woman’s Reflection on the Sparrow Conference”
I think whiteness is a mindset. I also believe blackness is as well. Because as a black individual I had to repent for it seeing myself as God sees me. I have never been racist or counter racist, but many of those in my family line are. Just because you are born something doesn’t mean it defines you. I was born and shaped in iniquity but I traded it in for a life of holiness. No one is demanding you to repent of whiteness. But maybe ask God to show you your heart towards your brethren. We may not look the same on the outside but we are definitely made up of the same parts. Can you honestly say you love your neighbors as yourself? This is what I ask myself daily. Even when I get racially profiled by cops that pull me over and look embarrassed when they Get to my window and realize they know me. And when people who aren’t of color are rude to me and don’t use manners because they don’t feel that I’m worthy of an excuse me…. I forgive and ask God to keep assumptions far from me. Even about my own race. Because blackness and whiteness causes trust issues. And pressure on each side to be nothing like the other when the fact of the matter is ::: there are good and bad whites, and there are good and bad blacks. We decide which one we are. There can’t be a generalization of either because even in our races we’re divided. Wicked knows no color but we still have to do our part to bring awareness. That you don’t be suspicious of anyone because of their race, something as minor as that is costing us black lives daily. And many Christians are too bound by whiteness to even SPEAK OUT AGAINST INJUSTICE. If I see anyone wrongfully murdered or mistreated IM SPEAKING OUT. BECAUSE IF I LOVE THEM AS MYSELF AND THAT WAS ME ID WANT THEM TO SPEAK OUT. That’s the least we could do ….. wait, actually the least we could do is N o t h I n g .
But In the New Testament they had everyone give whoever had much gave much and whoever had little gave little and it was divided up so that none lacked —- so if that’s New Testament and biblical —— SOME BODY IS LYING. AND ITS NOT THE WORD. ? Apparently Christ wasn’t selfish like you thought.
Dear DeeDee and Kristin Hamilton,
Thank you DeeDee for a beautiful essay, and thank you Kristin for your beautiful comments. I currently am reading the book White Fragility and and so thankful for the work of its author. I honestly would not have understand your essays and comments if I had not first read White Fragility, which has taught me so much about my life experiences and helped me to better see and comprehend. May God be your continued strength and wisdom.
The first thing that came to my mind when reading some of your comments:
Warning against Pride (from James 4)
“What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.
You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God. Or do you think the Scripture says without reason that the Spirit He caused to dwell in us yearns with envy? But He gives us more grace. This is why it says:
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
and Matthew 23:12
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Amen!! Outstanding reply, Paul! I normally don’t have the time to respond to such posts as thoroughly as I’d like, but after reading yours, you’ve already done it for me!! PTL!!
White European culture is beautiful and should be promoted? So imperialism and slavery and genocide and sexism and child abuse and greed are all products of centuries of Christian prayer and teaching and should be celebrated as the high point of civilization and promoted as the ideal for all cultures? Yikes! Who’s the revisionist again?
Thank God that the Kingdom of God is separate from any earthly culture.
@J P – You are the kind of Christian that helped me learn long ago that The Church is the only organization that kills its wounded and eats its young. God is not anywhere evident in your vile spewing, so you might check your own witness.
That’s a ridiculous take on this situation.
Whiteness and European civilization is beautiful and should be valued and promoted.
You are a historical revisitionist, and a self hating, far left activist masquerading as a concerned Christian. Your perverse ideology has no power, as it is patently self refuting and incongruous with the Gospel. It’s an ideology predicated on resentment, self victimization, and a pathological, racist hatred of white folks. Hope God heals your diseased and wicked soul.
Black nationalist/political activist gets offended when people don’t immediately worship her and her false teaching. These folks are toxic and are trying to pervert the Gospel and manipulate well meaning Christian.
Michelle, I think you proved a valuable point about the proponents of this movement. When Scripture is brought up to refute the movement, secular activists and sociologists are used by the proponents to defend it. Thanks for that!
Well, Shawn, I know A LOT about being white, and you are simply ignorant. She didn’t blame white people for every evil, she blamed systemic whiteness. I really recommend you humble your heart enough to read about the issues of white supremacy and systemic oppression that continue to happen. Since you won’t here it from the Black women (and men) who experience it every day, read Waking Up White by Debby Irving (a white woman), The Myth of Equality by Pastor Ken Wytsma (a white man), White Awake by Pastor Daniel Hill (another white man), or White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo (another white woman). I suspect you may choose not to read these resources because they very clearly refute your ignorance. In the name of Jesus, back off of these women who are sharing their very real lived experiences.
You know absolutely nothing about being white. Blaming Whites for every evil is not Christian. Go join Farrakahn because you will fit right in with his lies. Africans enslave and still enslave people today. People of all skin color have done evil. Jesus offers forgiveness to all regardless of their color. I wish I’d been at that conference on that platform to refute that speakers racist ignorance. Sad to hear others subscribe to it but not surprised.
SeekingMercyLuke1248, I agree that conflict can be a valuable builder of community if engaged well. Yet I am also reminded of James Baldwin’s words: “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
Mr. French, your words humble me and bring me to tears. Your humility does indeed reflect Christ and it is your attitude that has the biggest impact on me as I read through this article and all of these comments. The gospel of Jesus Christ is about identifying as children of God and walking in a manner worthy of our calling by Him. Thank you for sharing and for staying true to the word of God. I thank God for instilling His wisdom into your heart and for your boldness to share.
I didn’t deny her experience, Ms. Hamilton. I think she honestly believes her experience. However, she’s clearly and unequivocally made up the experience of white women, which is what I’ve contested she’s not capable of doing any more than you or I can.
“This was an elementary lecture our white sisters, by and large, had never been forced to hear.”
How does she know their past and what else they’ve been forced to do?
“The audience was sitting uncomfortably straight in their chairs, note-taking pens dropped in their laps.”
How does she know their comfort?
“Every time she said white people, the white woman sitting to my left physically cringed. I could feel her thigh vibrating against mine as she tapped her foot. ”
Does this person next to her have ADD instead? A nervous twitch? I often tap my feet in church for instance when I’m focused on a sermon.
“That’s when I saw the first group of white woman walk out.”
Is it possible some of them had to pee? Had another talk to attend, prepare, or give? Is timing enough to confirm Ms. Roe’s bias?
“White womanhood suppresses public displays of negative emotions. ”
Wait, what? What does this even mean?
Please note Ms. Hamilton, not ONCE does she mention actually talking to a white woman. She projects, and claims she can tell you THEIR experience. So I find this damaging not only to the discourse of these difficult topics, but just as wounding to her white sisters in Christ when instead of talking with them, she gets on a blog, makes up THEIR experience, and demonizes them for it.
A good book to try is The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma. He writes from a Christian perspective.
Wow. This response was unkind, and unnecessary. The technical term for what you are doing is “gaslighting” – telling someone that their own lived experience is not real or valid. You say gross assumptions are not helpful, then you make gross assumptions. I assume you are a sibling in Christ, so I would ask you to read this over and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how your words wound rather than heal.
“I left the conference unsure what the leadership of Sparrow Women thought of the interview with Ekemini Uwan and, by extension, me. ”
You’re unsure at this point? Yet you were entirely sure of why they were twitching next to you or left? Why not just keep making it up?
You have created your own hallucination Ms. Roe.
Gross assumptions of others aren’t helpful. You could easily have asked someone why they left for instance. Instead you assumed.
Which if it’s at moment in which white fragility is being promoted, I don’t blame them. Terms like white fragility are dismissive, devaluing, and racist. They would have every right to reject Eukimi’s opinion on that topic.
I attended the Sparrow conference, so I have read DeeDee’s article and compared it to my own account. A few things I think are worth noting…to disagree with someone does not mean that you cannot love or respect them. We as a society have largely highjacked the word love and misappropriated it to be synonymous with “complete acceptance” which is not biblical love. Jesus showed mercy, grace and compassion to the woman who was about to be stoned and showed the crowd their own sinful and hypocritical hearts, but then said to her after the crowd disbursed, “no go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11). It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, it is the believer’s job to point to scripture, to point to what the Gospel says about sin and leave it to the Holy Spirit. If we believe that the Spirit is capable to convict, why would we ourselves try to jump in and it on it’s behalf? You can love someone, be compassionate and show them mercy, but not agree with all their choices/words/thoughts/ideas. To automatically say that anyone who disagrees with her comments or doesn’t throw their full support behind every word Ekemini said does not automatically make them a racist. Only the Lord can view and judge what is in the hearts of man (1 Samuel 16:7). As someone who was there in person, watched the video by a Sparrow attendee before it was taken down and has re-read the transcript multiple time, my biggest concern was that only four passages of scripture were even mentioned during the 32 minutes interview, and none of them were actually read. Overwhelmingly the conversation was dominated by opinions, modern day interpretations and words/terms as defined in today’s society. Very little of the 32 minutes conversation was tied or linked to scripture. I attended the conference with the hopes of hearing Biblical truth surrounding what God says about race, the church and our role in reconciliation, but was disappointed at how little of God’s word was used during Ekemini’s interview. So after the conference I “did my homework” and read and searched and continued to try to expand my understanding, since I’m not black. The below two sermons were some that spoke the most biblical truth. I would genuinely like to have those who support DeeDee’s views watch one or both of the below two sermons by black pastor Voodie Baucham and help me understand why this approach isn’t the most biblical sound and consistent application of what racial reconciliation looks like from all parties involved.
Racial Reconciliation| Voddie Baucham – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoJGYCc7EUg
Ethnic Gnosticism | Voddie Baucham – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip3nV6S_fYU
I am in awe of the kindness and thoroughness of this answer.
I agree that the gospel isn’t about whiteness or blackness. But the title of this article says exactly what the author is writing about. The author is not trying to preach the gospel to us. I am sorry to hear that your family is still living on a reservation. As a Native American, how do you feel when the potus mocks a senator by calling her Pocahontas? (didn’t Pocahontas convert to Christianity?)
As a Native American, my family lives on the reservation in Arizona. Here are my thoughts:
The gospel isn’t about whiteness.
The gospel isn’t about blackness.
However, victimization is about both. My skin is “red”, and my ancestors that faced genocide are long removed. To take issue with the past would be a self imposed victimization, and I have learned to forgive America’s forefathers for what happened. Otherwise, I would emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, live in chains.
The Gospel is completely about forgiveness, and I want my story to look like Jesus’.
Our quarrels are like a passing vapor, next to the plan God has for our lives.
I think it best not to live chasing the passing vapors, hoping to eventually see what we want to see.
Hey, DeeDee! I didn’t know you wrote for The Witness. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m sure it must have been painful to recount and painful to go through. I’m so sorry that some people have chosen to question your experience rather than choose empathy. That says far more about them than they realize.
Looking forward to reading more from you! ?Leah B.
It is Kristin, and I am a doctoral student.
It feels like you didnt really read my post so, yes, I think you should be done here. You dont appear to have a genuine interest in learning but in trying to fit all of us to your own “master.”
Peace to you.
Kristen, I will heed your advice and not respond any further on this sight beyond this last comment thread. In response to your direct comments towards me, I found two things interesting that fit the ideology and worldview surrounding this movement and why I think it’s hypocritical, wicked and pagan. To clarify this further, this ideology, in my estimation, requires at its core that the professed Christian participants serve two masters. As a mdiv student, I assume that you know what that means and the end result related to it. While I think it is a wonderful thing to be salt and light and push back darkness in any area, racism included, I will not stand for a pagan worldview that demands definitions and terms offered and to be followed that are not from God. All one has to do is read the initial blog and the comments in favor of it to realize that there is little room, if any, for active dialogue. Instead we see motives, intent and the condition of the dissenters hearts already determined-not by God but by man and culture. It is automatically assumed that if you do not agree with one part of it then you must disagree with all of it and thus require a supernatural experience, reading books, going to school and listening, hearing and hanging out with black people and repentance of all things, real and perceived. Perceived by who? Not by God but by man/culture/world. Let me ask you and the others that belong to or advocate for this movement-WHO ARE YOU TO DETERMINE THAT OTHERS HAVEN’T ALREADY DONE THESE THINGS AND CONTINUE TO DO THEM? MAYBE EVEN MORE SO THAN YOU! God forbid, some white women walked out of a speech. Sound the trumpets, they must be racist! Poor pitiful women-I was once racist just like them but I prayed and God opened up my eyes. To do what? To devalue, mock, rob of worth, judge and condemn a whole other set of people. This is wrong and evil. Wrong is wrong, evil is evil. And yes, that even includes the double minded professed Christians that worship at the idol of Trump, but I digress…. Hey, we might be in the same corner on that battle?.
Kristen, I believe people are people and not algorithms (or caricatures) that can be reduced to their skin color, shared (or perceived) experiences, behavior and/or educational qualifications, etc….While these are certainly important, I believe people bare God’s image and are designed with meaning, purpose, value and worth no matter what size, shape-I think you get the picture. I have said it before-God determines the roles, rules and responsibilities surrounding our relationships and our very being. Not you. Not me. Not Nefertiti. Not the speaker. Not the blogger….
Now specifically to your response-What is notable in your response to me is that you actually didn’t reference the other participant involved as related to her unkindness and dismissive-ness. Nor did you mention that I stated that I love her or more importantly that I affirmed the Father’s love for her and her identity in Christ. Why the hypocritical ness with overlooking her tone and attitude towards me, particularly as it applies to dismissiveness? I was unkind, she was unkind. I own that because I was intentional in being unkind as it related to her comments and ideas, not her personhood. I am not so sure she did not include my person in her unkind comments towards me. Would you even care if she did? God be the judge. As it pertains to dismissiveness, my heart is not to be dismissive and I think my language reflected it. I am not sure that she could say the same thing. I challenge you and others to reread her statements-I am pretty sure she is upfront about dismissing me and she would probably and rightly own that. Let’s be honest, you seemingly are not bothered by those same things she does to me (and others) that bother you about me. Is it because ultimately it doesn’t serve your purposes because maybe it doesn’t serve your “master”? You have been unkind yourself, so it must not be the unkindness that bothers you. Should I, and others, play judge and jury over you and not even bother to answer questions you may have because, after all, what is the use-you wouldn’t even care to listen, you are not worth our time and or the numerous other offensive things that Nefertiti said about my character that you just happen to overlook in your rebuke of me. Enough about that-you can still get you some glory for being the white enlightened girl who was once blind and now can see, judge and condemn all those who disagree with you and this hypocritical, pagan, bandwagon you have joined.
This leads to my central problem with your response. Namely, your omission of my appeal to God’s love for Nefertiti and her identity in Christ is where I believe you give away your position of serving two masters. You can not love and serve two masters. You know this-at least as it pertains to head knowledge. Is your omission of my appeal to the Almighty (in reference to her) just an oversight? Or was it because you don’t care? About God, about her, about me? The only other option is that you are on the throne of your own heart and this space serves your desire to belong and yet still serve self/world. I mean, after all, you seemingly had no problem assessing my ability, or lack thereof, to love despite no mention of God, who is love. That coupled with what appears to be very natural to you in playing the judge and jury of mine and other’s qualifications, intent, motive, worth and heart seems to point to option 3. If so, option 2 will inherently follow. And option 1 will be the justification. Either way, you will be served by belonging to a group, your theology will grow increasingly pagan/worldly and Christ and the cross will be an afterthought. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Yours spoke-as did mine-as did others. God be the judge. ?
Ok…I can buy into those answers. I agree with #1 & #2.
But if whiteness means white supremacy why not say white supremacy and avoid the confusion? This is where is gets hazy for me…..despite what you may think of me…I think racism is horrible and despicable. I try really hard to not judge someone based on their physical appearance. But as a sinner, I make mistakes and sometimes I make that mistake. As a sinner, I can only repent and (Biblically & spiritually speaking) only be held responsible for my own sins. There is nothing that you and I can do to repent for the sins of someone else. How can I divest or repent of white supremacy as a social construct? If white supremacy exists as the sins of others how am I to repent of that? Lets be honest if I was able to repent of other peoples sins, i would repent of my childrens sins first…..Only Jesus is/was able to atone for our sins.
Can i do a better job of loving my neighbor…absolutely. I am not perfect and still have much to learn. Are POC hurting…I would say Yes thats pretty obvious. But I honestly dont believe there is anything I can do for them physically to stop that hurt. Have POC been wronged in the past…obviously. But is my repenting and acknowledging those sins in the past going to stop the hurt? I dont think so. Only Jesus can take away that hurt and pain.
I have Anabaptist ancestors who were burned alive at the stake by Catholics….Do catholics today need to repent of the sins of their forefathers? Obviously not….
I disagree wholeheartedly with the below paragraph….
.“The danger of continuing as we are is continuing to perpetuate oppression. Whiteness is wicked. It’s rooted in privilege. White, Black, and POC must divest from whiteness. Whiteness kills white people too. We must imagine a world in which our whole identity isn’t bound to oppression. We live an embodied faith. We must not use Christ as a bleaching force to strip us of our identities. Instead, we must express our Christianity through our ethnic and gender identity.”
Christ does not call for us to express our Christianity through our ethnic and gender identity. Nowhere in the Bible is that called out. Once we are in Christ, we are a NEW CREATION. We are not bound by the secular things of mankind. Our identity is in Christ. I would never identify myself as a white Christian. I am simply a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that he lived the perfect, died the death I deserved, took on God’s holy wrath and then rose again on the third day.
I’ve seen different articles and posts asking white people to vote for black legislators so they can help the black community. 90% of black legislators are Democrats who support abortion. I will never knowingly support a candidate who supports abortion. Will I get behind some Democratic ideas to help black communities…yes of course. Lets fund inner-city schools better, lets teach basic finance courses in middle and high school. Lets build more libraries. Lets better fund police so they know how to interact with the black community better. Why dont we incentivize moving away from the city and into a more rural area where jobs are more plentiful and get our kids away from violence in the inner city? Will I support abortion, reparations, extremely high taxes, medicare for all, free college and such? Nope. Contrary to what many people today think….Jesus was not a socialist. He did not call for the government to take from the people and then give to others. He called for us to be good stewards of our money and WE as Christians are to give freely…but he didnt not support a socialist government. I’ll conced your next point….He didnt explicitly support a capitalist government either. But a capitalist government allows individuals to acquire more wealth, which if we are true followers of Christ, we use to further his Kingdom.
this is probably going to be something where we hopefully agree to disagree. I respect you for continuing the dialogue.
If POC want white people to understand, then why identify the white person’s sin as “whiteness” and demand that white people research it in order to understand? It is said that “whiteness” is not a skin color, yet it is inextricably tied to a skin color; it is identified with a particular skin color. This seems, at best, to be unnecessarily confusing. If the sin is not a skin color, then why identify it with a skin color?
The Bible does not describe sinfulness as behavior tied to persons of a certain race, identified according to that race. Sin is sin regardless of the race, color, sex, or shoe size of the sinner. My plea is that the conversation be reframed around actual sin, identifying and calling out the sin, whether it be favoritism, cronyism, nepotism, or prejudice of whatever kind.
Further, please, let’s all be compassionate. We can best elicit compassion by being compassionate ourselves. If you want others to go “the extra mile” for you, then you must be willing to go the extra mile for them. i.e., if you require others to do their research, then at least be willing to meet them halfway (or more) in helping to explain, or else give them time to wrestle with things and come around. Even then, it is not up to us to require anyone to understand. Even the disciples didn’t do that. Jesus tells them in Mark 6:11 to leave those who will not listen, shaking the dust off their feet. After giving their message, they’ve done all they can and are not responsible any further. We can’t force anyone to listen to us, and to try to do so, whether by belittling, insulting, or worse, is itself manipulative and abusive. It is just as evil as any other form of oppression. Overcome evil with good!
Paul T. Corrigan
1. You already know from the Bible that it’s a sin to fail to love your neighbor. Racism is obviously a form of not loving your neighbor.
2. In order to fight racism, you have to learn about it. But since racism isn’t discussed in the Bible, you will have to learn about it from other sources and then APPLY what you already know from the Bible to what you learn from other sources. One assumes you make this sort of application all the time with other topics that aren’t discussed in the Bible but to which your faith is nonetheless still relevant.
3. Just what “whiteness” is and what its relation is to racism is a complex topic about which scholars themselves disagree. However, in the context of this article and the talk it describes, “whiteness” does not refer to white people but to an ideology of white supremacy. Therefore, no one has asked you to repent of being white. What you’re being asked to reject is the ideology and the practices that reinforce, rather than tear down, the racial hierarchy in our society. One example of that ideology is that you’re demanding that people prove to you on your own extremely narrow terms that you should fight racism and, if you don’t find the proof satisfactory, then you’re not going to do anything. It should be enough that your neighbors of color are hurting and that God has commanded you to love your neighbors. But nope.
Ekemini Ewan is a noted theologian with a MDiv. Did you listen to her podcast, Truth Table, or her conversation that sparked this article?
Here is how I repent of my whiteness (the social construct from which I benefit and people of color do not). I searched the Scripture for examples of systemic oppression and came to Amos. He spoke prophetically to the people of God who were oppressing their own through systemic injustice. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what is breaking God’s heart in our own culture. I began to read everything I could about the church and race, about how white Christianity has been complicit with injustice. What I found began to break my heart. I read Prophetic Lament by Pastor Soong Chan Rah and began to repent of the places where I was blind to my own white privilege and complicity. Then, in my DMin program I began to research whiteness as a construct and am currently writing a dissertation on the need for white Christians to repent and lament past and present complicity so that we can speak prophetically of God’s desire that there be no racial hierarchy (that doesn’t mean we see no color, btw).
You, of course, cannot mimic my journey but you can develop your own. Read Amos and ask God to show you, read. Looks by pastors and theologians (of all races) who have already done the research for you. Let your heart be broken for your siblings in Christ and for the world. Finally, and this is important, you HAVE to figure out a way to develop relationships with people of color. You cannot care about an abstract people.
Best wishes on your own journey.
I am being instructed to repent of my whiteness. So I assume this a religious conversation. This is a Christian website. Yes, i reject all teaching regarding a religious conversation that isn’t rooted in Biblical teaching…Shouldnt we reject all teaching of religious matters that isnt rooted in the Bible???? And of course you would insinuate that I mean EVERYTHING, including modern day medicine and transportation. Yup thats what I meant….again….sarcasm. If you truly believed that I meant I reject ALL teaching regarding everything that isnt found in the Bible then I sincerely apologize. I should have been more clear.
And there it is! I’m a racist because I’m challenging you and the thought that I need to repent of my whiteness.
For the third and final time…how do you repent of your whiteness? Give me Bible verses. Paul writes in Romans that ALL of sinned and fallen short of the glory. I guess I missed that part in Romans where he says that light skinned people need to repent of their light skin and they are worse sinners than dark skinned people.
I will legitimately check out those books though. 100% sincere. I will research them and if they appear to be rooted in biblical teaching I will read them.
Paul T. Corrigan
You reject all knowledge not in the Bible? Does that go for medicine, too? Transportation? Just how are you commenting on this article without some sort of nonbiblical technological know-how? Maybe you actually have found ways to integrate what you find in the Bible with knowledge from other sources, too. Except when it comes to racism, for some reason. I wonder why that would be the exception.
Austin Channing Brown’s I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness writes from a Christian perspective. The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
by Jemar Tisby looks like a pretty good resource, too, also apparently from a Christian perspective (I say apparently because haven’t read it yet).
But you obviously have no interest in learning. If you were curious about, say, cars or WWII history, you would not rule invent rules to weed out virtually all sources of information. No, you would go learn wherever you can. Your actions when it comes to learning about racism prove that you are far more interested in SAYING you want to learn than in actually doing anything to understand or fight racism. Which is, just as you guessed, a racist stance. You could change if you wanted to, though.
Heyyyyyy…actual resources….too bad it appears none of them are rooted in Biblical teaching. Did I read them…nope. But a quick google search shows none of them are biblical. One of them is even about the black Muslim community and while I value that person as a person, I do not value their opinion about religious matters. I am only concerned with that individual knowing Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
I truly do have an interest in learning. I believe that the Bible teaches us to continue to learn and grow in our faith. I will continue to do so. However, I dont have much interest in learning things that aren’t taught in the Bible. And while I agree that racism is alive and well today and I will do everything in my power to stop racism, I see no verses in the Bible that teach that whiteness is a sin and I need to repent of it. How can I repent of something that I was born with? If I said that blackness was evil and it killed black people and black people needed to repent of it…I’d be labeled a racist and RIGHTLY SO….but because its whiteness…no one bats an eye.
Again, I say to you….how do you repent of your whiteness? What have you done to make your standing right with God? PLEASE GIVE SPECIFICS. Do you just listen to black people? Do you pay them reparations? What Bible verses do you use to support your views?
You will call me a false Christian…that I cant possibly be a true follower of Christ because I dont believe I need to repent of whiteness. That I’m lazy and have no interest in learning from black people so I’m a racist and a bigot. And because I’m a racist and a bigot, that you’re done arguing with me because I’m soft and fragile…and I’m an angry white man. That’s ok.
I will only believe what I learn in the INERRANT and TRUE WORD OF GOD. I will not simply read books from secular authors and apply what I learn in those books over what I learn in the Bible. The Bible is the only book where every word is true and accurate.
Specifically, listen to all the episodes of respected theologian Ekemini Uwan’s Truth’s Table podcast. Often, it’s best to work from the beginning episode to learn and evolve one’s understanding as the creators of a show evolve, but of course how you choose to listen is up to you. And remember, Christ’s message is revolutionary. If you’re uncomfortable and challenged, that’s something to sit with in prayerful contemplation.
Hello, in sincerity, I searched on your own phrase, “Black Christian leaders,” and can attest to the extremely current & comprehensive results (e.g., Feb 2019 survey of leadership articles). You do know where/how to start. This is uncomfortable, necessary self-work I have only started myself in January; taking responsibility for my ignorance & complicity in a system the makes me, in my whiteness, the default, the center, the unchallenged. I can strongly recommend following @aprilharterlcsw on Instagram for a compassionate approach to reforming one’s inherent racist behavior/assumptions. May peace be with you as you open your heart to the pain our society is built on, the suffering of BIPOC.
Paul T. Corrigan
You claim you want to learn but your comments suggest otherwise. My sarcastic response was merited when you admitted that you keep asking BUT keep disregarding the answer you get because it’s not the answer you want or it’s not framed in the way you want it to be. Who would want to help you if you’re going to do that? Who would even be able to? If you do really want to learn how to understand and fight racism, then here’s a handy resource, but I share it with the realization that others have already shared similar resources in other comments below and that did not help:
If the problem is that you really think you shouldn’t have to do your own learning, that people of color should have the burden not only of explaining it to you but also of explaining it to you in a way that you would like and accept, then here’s another resource on that:
Thanks Paul….thats really helpful. (thats sarcasm) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So nothing specific?
I grew up in the largest Amish settlement in the United States. I personally know exactly one black person. One. And hes not a Christian. Thats why I’m here…to learn. From black people. I dont want to google it. I want to learn from Black christian leaders. As a white guy…arent you of the opinion that we should sit down and let the black people speak?
What do you do to repent of your whiteness? Give. Me. Specifics.
I trust you are a brother in Christ…hopefully you can treat/respect me as such. I truly dont understand….I’m not trolling. I want to know…I want to learn…I want to grow in Christ. So help me understand.
Paul T. Corrigan
Translation of Miller’s comment: White guy here, I’ve already asked and gotten an answer on how to take the first step in fighting racism (“do more research, google it”) but I didn’t want to, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
White guy here….Just to clarify…I’ve listened to the black leaders in the christian community the last few years. The central theme regarding race is that whiteness is sinful. I need to repent of whiteness. And I’ve asked this question every single time….how? How do I repent of whiteness? Have I sinned against my black brothers and sisters simply because I’m white? Do I find specific black brothers and sisters and apologize? Is that enough? Do I repent to my Lord and Savior? Is that enough? If not, what are the specific steps that I can take…This is not sarcastic…this is not rhetorical.
Basically all ive gotten in responses is I need to do more research, google it, or I’m just being naive and not really trying. Sooo can someone please tell me what I need to do??? Be specific and please cite verses in the Bible to back up your claims. To be clear, if its not in the Inerrant and Inspired Word of God, then i will not be following your instructions.
Mary S Smith
Thank you so much for writing this post and bringing this sad response to light. I have been blessed (as an older white woman reared in the South, but graced by God to move to different areas and countries to broaden my perspective and open my eyes) to have listened to Truth’s Table podcast and, therefore, know that Ekimini has such a prophetic voice needing to be heard.
And it was that exposure that causes me, as a white person, to know how little I understand the effects of that 2nd skin I walk in (whiteness), how I’ve affected POC through it and how it affects me. So much learning I have to do; so little time. SPEAK!
This is sad … I am sorry for you, you feel inadequate and sorry to say you are.
I understand your perspective of wanting unity. I think that unity in Christ is a great and God-honoring goal. However, we have brothers and sisters that have been wronged, marginalized, and oppressed in different ways for many many years. This including the slave trade, segregation, Jim Crow Law, redlining, police brutality, and the assumption and bias of others – only to name a few. If you are white (as I am) you have the luxury to forget, because we live in a white-centered society. However, if you are a POC you are reminded, every day, that you are other in a world that has always elevated whiteness, and America has always elevated. Color matters because being “colorblind” is not an option when you are constantly reminded by a white centered society that you are other. There has been and still is injustice for our brothers and sisters, we need to acknowledge that. Jesus stood up for the marginalized and the oppressed. It is not ok to ignore or discredit injustices toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. Unity will only come after reconciliation.
Jesus was a Jew, born in Palestine. He was both Palestinian and Jew.
you are clearly upset by the conference, this article and the comments here. What is going on in your heart right now? Can you articulate it?
For whatever help this may worth, the link below is a cbs news article about a white athlete who was able to metaphorically walk in someone else’s shoes. He also wrote an insightful essay about his discovery.
“NBA player Kyle Korver confronts racism and white privilege in powerful essay”
A link to Kyle Korver’s essay called “Privileged”:
Point of clarification (directed at your comment, not Ekamini or Deedee both of whom I am in total and unmitigated support of) – Judaism is an ethnoreligion. One can be ethnically Jewish without practicing Judaism. To whit, I am Jewish by ethnicity and I have never practiced Judaism.
Amen. Thank you for this.
RC, if this is how you love, maybe step away from any further comments toward Nefertiti. Your comments have been spectacularly unkind and dismissive, not anything that resembles love. You obviously have a particular world view that will not allow you to here her, so just leave her be.
DeeDee, thank you for writing this. I am white and praying through how to first see the privilege that I have and to lay it down for all my other brothers and sisters. Thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless you with the strength to carry on.
There are only two times in my life that I really “heard” from God. One was about marriage. And the other time was two years ago- when out of the blue- the Lord said to my spirit. “Listen, to the Black voice in America.” Up until that moment I was truly “colorblind.” I had no idea that my Black American brothers and sisters were experiencing this side of heaven MUCH differently than me. And that my skin color is the primary reason. I am beyond grateful for this invitation from God. I am closer to His heart as I watch Him intimately care for and listen to my Black brothers and sisters and I feel stronger and more empowered in my own white identity as I see it more fully and can stand in solidarity and as a witness and support to the journey, history and experiences of my Black brothers and sisters. I would encourage you to listen. Start with Dee Dee. Listen to her experience. She was really hurt. Whether you agree or not- doesn’t make it any less true or important to share. I can tell you have a beautiful heart who loves Jesus and wants to do what is right. I don’t think anyone would disagree. In trying to prove and defend your position, I believe you are missing Dee Dee’s heart and her personal experience as a Black sister in this country.
Nefertiti, I will continue to love you. Not because I am any better than you but because the great I AM first loved you. He has fearfully and wonderfully made you with meaning, purpose and value. He loves you!
You say, “make better use of yours and our time”.
If only you had some semblance of knowledge, by God’s grace, how He has blessed my family and I to invest our time, treasure and talents in meeting those in various crisis, majority of which are black, I think even you, Nefertiti, would be mesmerized. (I praise and owe all glory to God for this!). Instead though, you seemingly are too busy playing god, full of hate and rage, drawing wicked, pagan caricatures of whole groups of people you don’t even know, to see clearly the truth, beauty and goodness of a redeemed people from every tribe, tongue and nation that surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Because after all, “whiteness”. What an horrible worldview, a wicked worldview, an unbiblical worldview.
Amen brother! Semantics is a thing. Thanks for saying what I wanted to say. Your point on defining the term “whiteness” the way Uwan intends it to be understood is at the heart of this heated disagreement. Again, thank you.
*”The term ‘whiteness’ does not refer to people but to an ideology.”
Do continue to hate my comment.
Have fun writing meaningless, unproductive, comical essay comments/responses that display how woefully inadequate your understanding of the topic at hand. Your complete failure to grasp the most basic understanding of the conversation being had here makes reading your reply slightly taxing but mostly amusing.
Also, I haven’t and won’t read your reply fully. The First Amendment protects conversation pollution, which is all you’ve produced here. If that was the goal, 1) GREAT JOB, you nailed it! , 2) find another place to reach any other goal besides the goal of understanding why these specific experiences of Ekemini, DeeDee, and women we won;t be able to hear from keep happening in Christian environments and how to address it in the way all other unacceptable sins ought to be addressed, 3) make better use of yours and our time.
Be kind to yourself and resist deceiving yourself into thinking anything you have said actually amounts to a contribution, because quality exchange requires informed opinions. Otherwise, it’s not an exchange but a one sided convo in which someone has to overcompensate for you.
Since you’ve failed to demonstrate you have any informed opinions, while simultaneously exhibiting a very energetic pursuit of asking questions you wouldn’t even understand the answers to, I politely request that you refrain from directly engaging me henceforth.
I will continue to rightly affirm Ekemini’s truth filled biblical message, DeeDee’s truth filled post, and everything I have said. And I will continue to identify as Black, until the Lord returns to me the specific knowledge of my ethnic heritage that was stolen from my ancestors generations ago when they were enslaved in what is now also my country. And I will continue to affirm the platform we are interacting on, The Witness BLACK Christian Collective (I mean…..it’s even in the name, MY GOODNESS), as an important and rare space where Black experiences, culture, perspectives and contributions are valued and respected. All In Jesus Name, Amen.
I found this article describing “whiteness”. Take a look. http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf
It is titled “unpacking the invisible knapsack”. Maybe help bring some clarity on “whiteness”. At Keats it did for me.
How would “whiteness” differ from “blackness” if I was a white man in Kampala? I really want to understand the mentality that the author is referring to. Is it about the power, as the majority in a culture that has over the minorities in that culture? So as an American in Ukraine, the power ( traditions, habits, cultural norms) would be Ukrainian. I would need to either assimilate or divest if it was against what the Lord Jesus has for us? Am I close? Is “Whiteness” unnecessarily divisive? Or was that the point. To wake us up to our majority thinking in America?
If the term “whiteness” has nothing to do with skin color, then why call it “whiteness”? Why not call it “cronyism,” “nepotism,” “favoritism,” or “prejudice”?
Nerfertti, I suspect many on here, as I do, vehemently hate white supremacy to their very core being. After all, many of us, by God’s grace, are new creations bought by the blood of Jesus and are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit, empowering us, sanctifying us and growing us in a love and empathy for God and neighbor. The difference, in my estimation between us and you, as it pertains to our ideas (notice the distinction I make here because it is very important), is that many of those speaking out against the speaker and blogger’s ideas also equally are disgusted by white hate. I’ll just call it black supremacy for consistency sake since you seemingly go through great effort to establish power in your comments. You have even assigned yourself as the arbiter of whose space this dialogue/blog is set in, defining it as “this is black space”. I find this particularly interesting since the speaker actually makes note of race not being a category in the Bible but rather “it was meant to “hold and hoard power.” Is that also your intention here in assigning race to this space? Notice I am not assuming or assigning motive, intent, judgement or condemnation to your personhood and condition of your heart. I’ll leave those duties to our Creator God and surrender to HIS lordship in defining the roles, rules and responsibilities governing our relationships. I just wish you would’ve done the same because in your comments, you are all too comfortable assigning blame, asserting motive and intent as well as assassinating the character and condition of others hearts. Is it safe to call your behavior here “blackness” because after all, you don’t appear to show empathy but instead seem all too comfortable to play judge and jury over those who disagree with you-which by the way is a common power ploy to suppress speech and assert power. Nerfertiti, I hate your comments and the comments of the blogger and speaker. I don’t think they are of God and/or are purposed for God’s glory. Drawing evil caricatures of entire people groups and assigning judgement and condemnation on the condition of their hearts based on the color of skin is evil no matter if it’s called whiteness, blackness, white supremacy and/or black supremacy. Why? Because black theologians don’t determine the rules just like white theologians don’t and didn’t. God does, did and always will. He is sovereign and He will not be mocked.
In closing, I love you Nerfertiti. I do not attach your identity to your ideas. Rather, I see you as God sees you-bearing His image, fearfully and wonderfully made, valued, worthy and loved by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! My hope and prayer is that one day you might be able to see me (and others) the same way-even if we may look different and think different. God bless you
The term “whiteness” has nothing to do with skin color. It’s a term that references one’s mentality or way of thinking and behaving.
Dara, what are your qualifications for your comments? Ekemini came to the group with an MDiv and was discounted. I commented based on knowledge I have gained through my doctoral research and you say I lack common sense and don’t understand reality. Sadly, I think many in the white church choose to lean on their own understanding rather than doing the work to learn with the Holy Spirit.
Thank you Semone Simmons… You hit the nail on the head!
Kristin Hamilton, I could not disagree more with your comment. Racism is about power, but to say that racism against white people cannot exist, and that white people in the US hold all the power, ignores both common sense and reality.
Michelle, if “whiteness” is not a skin color, then…why is it “whiteness”? It is clearly related to a skin color, a “white” skin color. Specifically, as you say, that of people who are also of Western European descent. So, is the issue really colonization, or is it colonization done by a specific race of people? Is the issue the whiteness of the people, or the colonization that they enacted?
If the issue really is systemic oppression perpetuated by the effects of colonization, then would we not do better to discuss it as that, and nothing more? Are we not unnecessarily divisive by attaching race to the problem?
If societal redemption is what is needed, how can you or I truly fight “the system” other than to do what we can in each of our small spheres of life? We can each treat one another justly. There are many, many, kinds of injustices, including that of bearing false witness against one another. It is wrong for any of us to judge the hearts and minds of people we don’t know, based upon assumptions in turn based upon skin color or ancestry or citizenship or ethnicity or race or sex or gender or occupation or sports fandom or hobby, or… This was the original cry of the Civil Rights movement: equal rights, opportunity, consideration, and right to be free of racial discrimination.
I, as a white woman–a woman with pale skin of Western European ancestry, would like to be free of discrimination against me merely because I am white. I do not want to be considered a disfavored class by persons of color or by others with white skin, merely because I am white, and because I object to race being attached to any sort of bad behavior as if it is the race of the person (or their history or social status) and not their *humanness* that makes them any particular kind of sinner.
I am tired of the whole discussion about race. It always goes like this: white people are sheltered, pampered, and ignorant; we need to shut up and let black people teach us how the world really is.
Obviously a white person can’t know what a black person deals with. But neither can a black person know everything a white person deals with.
Instead of embracing this truth with humility, and admitting that we are limited in our ability to understand each other, Deedee Roe claims to know white people better than we know ourselves. In nearly every paragraph, she impugns racist motives on the white women in the audience. She claims to know what makes us uncomfortable, as if she’s a mind reader. This is both dangerous to her soul, and widens the racial divide we already have in the US.
People who are white are sick of being told we’re closeted racists just because we are not black. If we’re going to have an honest discussion about race, EVERYONE needs to be willing to listen, and learn.
God bless you. Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective, I am extremely grateful you were willing to be so vulnerable in this way in allowing people, many of which who are incapable or comprehending or reciprocating, have a glimpse into this extremely difficult environment that we face as Black women in spaces that cater to fragility, ignorance, and immaturity. I have no doubt that had you not shared here, this entire ordeal might’ve been swept under the rug or only dealt with behind closed doors, even though the wounds are so very real and will take a long time to heal.
I am writing here but I actually pray that you don’t read the comments here. I pray you are able to be healed from the injuries caused when these things transpired and also when people started reacting. Many commenting here exhibit the same failure to actually do the difficult work of reflection and self education BEFORE responding or even empathizing on a basic level within the response….Because even here, they don’t love us. This is a Black space. They have no respect, just audacity and presumption.
Others display this weird obsession with debating semantics and peripheral details at the expense of actually contributing to the real topic at hand, which is unmistakably the failure to love others well specifically due to the sin of partiality known as white supremacy.
Still, others have decided to discount anything contributed here because it wasn’t a 3 point sermon with an explicit gospel presentation, which could possibly be the most asinine behavior on the threads NOTHING about the title of the piece should lead one to realistically expect anything evangelistic in nature.
But I am grateful for any who actually do hear DeeDee. And Ekemini. Much needed messages that have been silenced for too long. I mean this entire ordeal is extremely disappointing, the fact is too many are hearing these things for the first time here because they are in environments and communities that do negligence to this kind of work.
It’s all very reassuring that the Black Exodus is necessary and God ordained. It’s affirming our need to protect our spaces and amplify our message.
But we’re tired of having to be both the teacher and the punching bag while unqualified and uneducated people usurp the conversation and demand we prove our pain to them.
Again, THANK YOU DEEDEE!!!!!!!!!
For some reason, I’m having difficulty figuring out how to “Reply” on this website, but I wanted to say that I think Semone Simmons’ comment is on point, and I commend her courage in posting it. The Gospel of Christ is to be central in our lives, and Ms. Simmons’ reminder about that fact does me good. Christ shatters us in our sin then raises us anew in Him, and our identity as Christians is ultimately in Him. We are diverse in our backgrounds and our experiences, but the truth of His Word bridges those gaps and allows us to celebrate our diversity as one Church. Yes, we should stand against racism just as we stand against all sins, but the way to do that is not to make race central to all we do. Rather, the way to do that is to remember our identity in Christ and seek to obey Him in all things.
Racism, like any other oppression, is about power. White people in this country hold the power so there is no such thing as racism against white people. There may be discrimination or discriminatory practices among POC but that is vastly different than racism. Are you trying to say that the author is oppressing white people with her views (not that that is possible)? Systemic oppression is the sin we are naming. White women felt called out and left in a snit. They had the power to do that AND receive the apology and backing of the conference organizers while the speaker is completely erased. That is the power of white supremacy. The fact that so many people on here keep telling the author and other WOC that their lived experience is either not real, not aligned with the “biblical” point of view, or not as bad as they think is called gaslighting and is a tool used by people in power to deflect uncomfortable truths.
Listen white folk, do the work. Read books, hear from black women and other POC without trying to put your biblical interpretation or spin on what they say. Sit with their pain and call on the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and ears and hearts to what is happening. We in the white church should be LEADING the anti-racism charge! It is not divisive to call out racism any more than it is divisive to call out pride. What other “sins” do you constantly call out as “speaking truth in love?” Why do you get to do that but get defensive when white supremacy is called out? What makes you right? What systems told you that your point of view is valid and those of these black women aren’t? Sit with that question. The Holy Spirit will reveal the answer. You won’t like it, but it will be there. I know because I took that journey. It’s ugly and painful, but it’s also real and true.
Linda E French
I agree with Semone Simmons view that we need to not look at race but at sin as God defined it. The article about the conference bothered me because it seemed the writer was being racist against whites, reveling in the discomfort of white people, and focusing too much on race instead of humanity. Why did she not feel like anything the white speakers said was for her? If what was said was Biblical, then it was said for the benefit all listeners. Not listening to whites is racist and just as wrong as rich not listening to poor.
Hello Sister Semone,
Have you read this Article by John Piper? “Structural Racism The Child of Structural Pride”.
Here’s a quote from it: “Racism is an explicit or implicit feeling or belief or practice that values one race over other races, or devalues one race beneath others.”
The term whiteness is a particular form of racism that values the so called white race/culture above ‘third world’ races/cultures and sh*thole countries. The structural nature of that particular ‘sin’, and its’ effects, seems to be what this article alludes to.
As an African American woman who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ … I agree wholeheartedly with Liz’s article (I reposted it below)I want to add that the Word of God confirms ALL of humanity is wicked. It is CRUCIAL that we see the serious issues in society (race, police brutality, and all others) from a biblical lens … not through race. When we truly embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ (believe it and are transformed by it) that becomes the lens from which we see the world. We are all sinners under the wrath of a holy God … alienated from God, pursuing our own selfish desires … that creates chaos and division and a myriad of problems in society. The answer is not to call people to reject whiteness or any other societal label or concept … but to reject sin as the Bible defines it. Racial prejudice is rooted in the sin of pride and selfishness. Black people are just as guilty of racism and prejudice as white people … although it’s true white people in our nation have possessed more power. I think it’s hypocritical that someone would ask whites to reject “whiteness” while maintaining a position of “blackness.” Jesus IS redeeming a people from every nation, tongue and tribe … so we should embrace cultural and ethnic identities … but from the biblical understanding that we are all equally jacked up and equally in need a Savior. Jesus died to save sinners .. every ethnic group … but we gotta stop pointing the finger at each other and do some personal heart examination. We will never understand our deep need for salvation as long as we are pointing the finger at others. The Gospel levels the playing field … we are ALL guilty and ALL condemned under the judgment of a holy God. Christ’s perfect life, death, burial and resurrection is the answer to the deep seated issues in the human heart … and those issues go way beyond race, culture, and ethnicity. But Satan uses these effectively to divide Christians. If we take our focus off the cross and our sins against God as being the main issue we will miss the unity Jesus purchased for us in His own blood. Our unity as Christians begins and ends at the cross of Jesus Christ.
April 3, 2019, 4:56 pm
To disagree with this article is not the same as being convicted by this article. I disagree wiholeheartedly with this article. That disagreement is not a “symptom of my soul stirring”, It is the ability to discern what is gospel and what is being offered in the place of the gospel. What is completely missing from this entire article is the proclamation of Christ crucified. That should be the message.
2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:2-6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:27-29Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)
Show me where in the Bible one is more wicked than the other by the color of their skin. The frustration in the comments with the substance of this article is not hate. It comes from knowing that your race or skin color does not make you wicked any more than it makes you righteous. Pushing that narrative is to silence the message of the gospel and what Jesus actually came to do. What He died for and why He rose again.
Not at all what was said. Try again.
I thought I was replying to DCGrad, but it ended up under Maria. SMH.
Jesus was concerned with systems of oppression which, while temporary, have eternal implications on other living, breathing humans beings. He was also concerned with our sin; those of us who benefit from the previously mentioned systems should take note of that.
Are you replying to DCGrad?
What alarms me about your response is the apparent lack of research regarding racism and social constructs of race and, particularly, whiteness. Please read books like “White Awake,” The Myth of Equality,” “white Fragility,” “I’m Still Here,” and “So You Want to Talk About Race,” to help you on your journey toward understanding and, hopefully, lament over the horrific systems of oppression that exist in America today.
What alarms me about this article and many of the comments supporting it is the spirit of racial prejudice infused within it. I have not listened to Ekemini Uwan’s speech, so I am not commenting about her speech here. I am simply commenting on DeeDee Roe’s article. I trust Ms. Roe is my sister in Christ, but her words here are offensive and triggering.
First, she criticizes the first day of the Sparrow conference not for anything heretical but because they did not focus on any subject Ms. Roe wanted to focus on. That may or may not indicate the organizers have serious blind spots, but it is extraordinarily inconsistent for Ms. Roe to criticize the Sparrow Conference’s alleged “monocultural welcome” while she herself writes on a website (The Witness: A Black Christian Collective) that is deliberately and proudly monocultural.
Second, Ms. Roe racially prejudges white-skinned audience members at the Sparrow Conference. I know she would claim to merely be fighting “whiteness” as a sinful social construct, but her words reveal such a claim to be false. She says she and her black friends worked to provide welcoming faces for black speakers; she thus apparently assumed from the beginning that white-skinned audience members would not be welcoming. More to the point, she states that she knew the white-skinned audience, “by and large,” had not heard even “elementary” lectures on America and Europe’s racist history. In short, Ms. Roe ranked audience members’ knowledge, motives, and ability based solely on the color of their skin. That is, by definition, racial prejudice on the part of Ms. Roe.
Third, and of serious concern, is the fact that Ms. Roe’s article is inconsistent with its own efforts to fight sinful social constructs. She cites Ms. Uwan’s reference to Christ as a “brown-skinned Palestinian,” but nowhere does Ms. Roe’s article reference Christ’s Jewishness. Indeed, I cannot find a single place in the article that specifically references Jewish peoples, despite the fact that the article contains the word “concentration camp.” In an age where Jewish peoples continue to face constant anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, Ms. Roe is arguably adding to that by effectively erasing Jewish people’s place in history in order to make their struggles more compatible with her own causes. Such erasure is directly parallel to white supremacists’ tendency to portray Christ as being white-skinned. If Ms. Roe wants to fight sinful social constructs, she might want to rewrite this article.
Thankful, deeply thankful for the voices of Ms. Uwan and Ms. Roe. The comments here by some highly defensive white Christians are not surprising. Their ignorance is self imposed and wrapped in sin. They are good people who will continue to hurt their brothers and sisters in Christ as well as themselves, unless the Holy Spirit moves them to truth.
Christians are to battle against powers and principalities not against flesh and blood. So then why conflate power with flesh?
To do so is to make the same mistake the colonizers made when they abused my indigenous ancestors. Yes evil has been done historically and it’s effects continue but if you fall into the trap of race essentialism you validate the very core axioms of it. The KKK is absolutely thrilled when white liberals buy into race essentialism. “I can flip them from shame to pride.” said Richard Spencer, a white nationalist leader. You really want to help him by shaming people who are trying to be your allies?
If you are a christian, your identity is in Christ. In Christ there is no slave nor free, jew or greek, man or woman, black or white, gay or straight. There is hope and unity in Christ. There’s no hatred, bitterness, resentment, jealousy. He is the judge. This is not white theology. Nor does it mean those who see things this way do not care. That is an unjust judgement of their motives. Never attribute malice when ignorance may be the reason.
The reason slavery was outlawed was because christians led the charge from a position of humans being of equal worth because they’re made in the image of God. When you conflate evil with collective racial guilt you deny the image of God in a person and make them into an avatar of a group. This is the same moral failing underlying the thinking process people used to justify lynching. It assumes someone’s skin color causes them to be morally pure or impure. Only Christ causes anyone to be pure.
Sit in your discomfort. Do not rush past it. Part of the problem with your statement is that you see mistreatment of people of color as something that happened. Past-tense. We still live in a world that favors whiteness. THis discussion goes beyond slavery.
So well written . Thank you for sharing.
Where is it that Jesus taught us to be “color blind?” That’s a bunch of malarkey. The Reign if God is multi-faceted, multi-cultural, and multi-colored. Why would anyone want to whitewash that beauty?
What color do you think Jesus’ skin was? White? Seriously? He lived in Palestine as a Jewish man. This is not shocking, new information, nor is it blasphemy!
And why are you trying to teach black women about their own ancestors? This is the problem…white people speak from a place of privilege when we should be listening and learning from these women who risk anger, violence, and ostracism to show us truth. Sit. Listen. Learn.
I opened this link skeptical. But this is the God’s honest true account of how I felt Ekemini’s talk went. I thought it was powerful. Insightful. She brought the truth in a rather white-washed conference. I cherished her talk. The rest of the weekend felt like it was built around making “white people” feel better. As a “white” woman, I don’t need to feel better. I need to hear the truth. Of course as a woman who gives a crap, I’m someone who has been reading and educating myself on the subject for a couple years now. None of this came as a surprise but I loved hearing it in this venue, in this setting. I even sent Ekemini a message on IG just to tell her how much I appreciated her boldness. I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who felt like this!
Thank you for sharing. Your voice is needed. I pray that God will work to make beauty of these ashes in each person’s life.
I had the pleasure of getting to know two women of color during the conference. During this interview, one of these delightful women leaned to me and asked if she thought the white women in the room were receiving what was being said. I told her that many probably were not, but mostly because of the Trump pieces. I hoped I was wrong. I am sad that I wasn’t and that any of this happened at all.
Sparrow – please continue to have these conversations. Even Jesus’ teachings were not accepted by all. When he told the Jews that they needed to eat his flesh and drink his blood, many left him. We cannot tell people what they want to hear when it condemns them.
I don’t understand how Jesus rose from the grave as a brown-skinned Palestinian God man?
In one of the panels the group of women said we take our ethnicity to heaven with us, which is true. So how did Jesus’ skin color change to that of a race that he was not born in to? Why is he called “god man” instead of Jesus the Son of God? Why is this being promoted in Christiany?It’s blasphemy.
U suffering, some even going on to purchase the very plantations that they were forced to work on?
Why no discussion about overcoming incredible odds through their joy and belief in Jesus? Why still the victim mentality that keeps so many “enslaved”?
I am so in awe of those who were enslaved and how their songs of lament, their joy, pain and sorrow all mingled together and should have made those who enslaved them tremble. They overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony
Theresa, One more series of thoughts/questions in relation to your assertion that you are “increasingly rejecting the white part of my ancestry.”
Would you characterize your feelings or behavior here as the same or different than blacks, Jews or any other person or group that was meant to feel ashamed and/or less than human? If the same, how could this messaging or your response to it possibly be from God? If different, could you explain how your felt shame and/or guilt associated with your “ancestry” (placed on you by God) is any different than others who were robbed of their “imago dei” by wicked pagan practices, often in the name of Jesus?
Hi Theresa. Honest questions-
1-How is your faith in Christ “weakened” by the behavior of a person or group? Is the Creator beholden to His creation?
2-Why is the emphasis of your hope that white women in the audience agree with the speaker? Is agreement with the speaker essential to/for salvation?
3-How was the bloggers message or actions in sitting in the front row an indication of her faithfulness to the gospel as you indicate?
While I thank you for using Scripture, it is interesting that you chose the particular verse you did-a verse that has been used to justify pagan practices and principles throughout modern history. That certainly does not mean the verse is off-limits but it does suggest a carefulness, clarity and accuracy in its use. I hope we can agree here. This brings me to my last question related to it.
4-Are you asserting that everyone in disagreement of the blogger and speaker are in fact demonstrating hate, rejection anger and insult toward them? If so, are they doing so because of the “Son of Man”?
If so, how do you know?
I am a Native American woman (Cherokee Nation) who is increasingly rejecting the white part of my ancestry. I have lived with the privilege of whiteness paving my way, while also living with the history of my tribe. It is an odd place to be and I feel the tug to apologize for the anger of the white people in the audience–but no, it cannot be “apologized away.”
Each person needs to deal with their own racism and fragility, myself included. I have hope that some white women heard the message and agreed with Ms. Uwan. I have even more hope that some heard and were angry, but God will allow the message to burrow into their hearts so that now they know, they cannot ignore it.
Thank you for sitting in the front row, giving Ekemini Uwan support with your very presence. May God bless you for your faithfulness to the Gospel. I am finding my own faith weakened by the willful blindness of the white evangelicals I worshipped with for so long.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy,
because great is your reward in heaven.
For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
The video you reference on YouTube has been taken down by the Conference. Can we get another link with the full interview. Pretty please????
Paul T. Corrigan
Denigrating Jesus’s Palestinian identity and putting it at odds with his Jewish identity seems pretty anti-Palestinian AND anti-Semitic to me.
Ekemini Uwan had many Biblical, insightful and even prophetic things to say and it’s sad that so many Christians were unwilling to hear her. Such is always the case for prophets – speaking uncomfortable truths does not make one popular.
Therefore, with respect for her courage and knowledge, I implore her to be careful describing Jesus in any way that would diminish his Jewishness, such as “Palestinian.” It is true that he was from that region and probably dark-skinned. But He was never referred to as such in the Bible, and you will have a hard time finding Jews who would refer to themselves as “Palestinian” – even though there have been Jews in that land continuously for 1000s of years. In its present usage, the term denotes an Arab and thus not a Jew. Jesus was not an Arab, just as He was not White – although He came to save Jews, Arabs, and even people who look like me.
Palestinian anti-Semitism predates the formation of the State of Israel. In the 1920s and 1930s, Mohammed Haj Amin al-Husseini (the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem) led pogroms and Jewish men, women and children. In 1941, he met with Adolf Hitler; at Hitler’s invitation, he moved to Berlin to work closely with the Nazis.
And I’ll put my cards on the table here: my wife is Jewish, our family celebrates Jewish holy days, and among our friends is a Jewish family who attended a synagogue for years after openly embracing Jesus as the Messiah.
I realize that Ms. Uwan is pushing back against prejudice towards people of Middle Eastern descent. But labeling Jesus as “Palestinian,” is misleading and risks needless offense, distracting from the otherwise excellent points she made about the idol of Whiteness.
So grateful for Ekemini and DeeDee, who challenge us in the body of Christ, and who do so with great love. Those reacting in rage are being willfully obtuse and are not listening to the entire framing of Ekemini’s message. Ekemini is not saying people who have historically been referred to as white are evil or bad; she is saying race is a nonsense construct that has been used to oppress people, and it has been used to put “white” at the top of the heap. THAT’S what we need to divest from. Why are we so attached to a nonsense delineation anyway, so much so that it makes us horribly defensive? That should provoke some thought!
And the encouragement to find connection back to our ethnicities was such a helpful concept–even though it will certainly be challenging. So what? Important things are challenging! I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this talk; it was incredibly eye-opening and a gift of sacrificial love, given that so many do not have hearing hearts. Thank you, ladies, and God bless you!
You say that you are an Asian. So can you tell me why the name ‘Jean’ is not an Asian sounding name ?
I’m sorry I’m so busy laughing at the “white hate propaganda” that my fingers are shaking as I type this.
Keep speaking DeeDee. May we be a Church that leans in. Jesus save us from ourselves.
“The only theology we should hold is biblical theology”–there’s no one single “biblical” theology in the world…every theological perspective is informed by the context in which it was created, which includes culture, geography, ethnicity, chronology, gender, etc….To deny or ignore this is leaving oneself vulnerable to being blindly led by blind “authorities.”
“your race or skin color does not make you wicked any more than it makes you righteous”–correct. However, people with “white” skin have been brainwashed for centuries into the system of lies that make up the construct of the “white” race, and people with “black” skin have been subjected for those same centuries to violence, degradation, and exploitation justified by the same race construct. I may not be wicked *because* of my skin color, but I am subject to the unsought onslaught of temptation to be comfortable in complicit sins of omission because I was born in this time with this skin.
I find it ironic that so many folks who have no trouble believing in total depravity can’t wrap their heads around the concept of “whiteness” in a racialized society. If I was born into sin bc I inherited it from Adam, why can’t I also be born into sinful whiteness bc I inherited it from my European slave-holding forefathers?
Ok. Let’s break this down. Ekemini Uwan defined what she meant by ‘whiteness’ as a social construct, not a skin color, before she said we needed to divest of whiteness. I think everyone who is offended by her comments and this blog post needs to back up for a minute – let’s take a moment to breathe and unclench together, and look at this with fresh eyes. We all know that none of us can control our skin color and that no color is inherently good or bad. One thing we can all agree on: We are all made in the image of God, all skin colors and ethnicities included. That’s not the issue. The issue is colonization – a centuries-long, multi-continent, culturally ingrained system of oppression engineered by white people of Western European decent, and perpetrated worldwide since the very beginning of historical documentation of white people on this earth. So when we say words like ‘systemic racism’, we are talking about a concept that is so much bigger than any of us and so very ingrained into our cultural thinking that it can sometimes be impossible to even notice. No, white friend, you did not personally enslave a black person. And no, your physical skin color is not a crime, and that’s not what she’s talking about. Look at how Ms. Uwan defined whiteness again within this context. All of us white people benefit from our privilege, whether we know it or not. What she is calling out here is the fact that when we don’t realize and address this privilege, it does active harm to our black brothers and sisters. Even if it’s not on purpose, even if we don’t realize it’s happening. Just because we are unaware doesn’t mean that our black brothers and sisters are not hurting and being oppressed. When we are confronted with this fact and respond so viciously, this increases the harm and hurt, and further divides us. When she asks us to divest from whiteness, she is asking us to remove ourselves from the social construct of oppression and become more aware and empathetic to the experience of black people/POC. I thought this was a perfect rallying cry around the gospel, not a distraction or idol, as others have commented. To love others, to welcome the stranger, to unchain the oppressed – that is the gospel! Galatians 3:28 tells us that now there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, etc. That we are all one in Christ Jesus. For so long, we have used that verse as an excuse to be ‘color blind’, which we have now found did more harm than good. Good intentions, bad result. Praise God that we are all one in Christ Jesus – I interpret this verse as an invitation to divest from cultural and racial constructs that reward and oppress based on skin color – that divide instead of making us one. This verse, instead of giving permission to ignore, should wake us up to injustice in our temporal world and motivate us to strive to make a better world for those who are oppressed – to know that since we are all one in Christ Jesus, we should work toward that very thing together, through reconciliation. Jesus said (Luke 4:18) “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” What would Jesus do? THIS!
This one is also very good!
I think a lot of people on here would have a better understanding if they recognized that Uwan prefaced everything she said about whiteness by establishing that race is a social construct. She is not saying that people of European descent or ethnically white are inherently evil. She is not battling racism with “reverse racism”. She is saying to disassociate yourself as a Christian from the evils perpetuated by the concept of whiteness, which was created to exert dominance over other cultures and justify American slavery and colonization (just a couple of the examples she gave). I mean this with no condescension, I know it’s a very difficult concept to grasp, especially for those of us who never have to think about our race on a daily basis.
Dee Dee, thank you for your summary. I didn’t get a chance to watch the video before it was taken down and your summary is very helpful. I’m so glad you saw yourself reflected and heard by Ms Uwan.
Hey Dee Dee!
I would highly recommend listening to these podcast episodes. It addresses these social justice issues that you are claiming from a biblical perspective. I am an Asian woman and I feel like black theology not only cheapens the saving gospel of Jesus (in terms of true forgiveness and grace), but also excludes the narrative of so many other people like myself which is antithetical to the gospel that is inclusive of all nations (like you mentioned in the verse Revelation 7:9). I would love to have a productive chat about it all.
White women – listen to our black sisters. Trust them. Believe them.
Sadly, by the time I found this, Sparrow had removed the link to Ekemini’s interview.
I am so very sorry this happened and that fragility prevailed in this instance. How completely antithetical to the body of faith when we can confess our sins when it comes to gossip or adultery, but not the sin of benefitting from a systemically racist society. And to the white folk showing up here with comments of vitriol and gaslighting and further attempts at erasure-you have some work to do.
No, doll… just no. ? Palestine was not where Jesus was born and your condescending message is the one lacking in facts.
I’ve been out of the church (but not my faith) so long that I am stunned by these comments and so deeply sorry for how hurtful they must be. Thank you for sharing your heart so fully and being so incredibly brave. May God have mercy on those of us who repent of our racism and lead us to a world in which our brothers and sisters of color can live–joyful and wholly who they are.
Thank you to my Black sisters in Christ for responding to continually being silenced by still shining forth the light of Christ. I am a white man and I am listening and I am mourning. Thank you for your bravery.
thanks for the “history lesson” …BUT if you’re going to be in the comment section windmilling with history, please have an accurate history. There was a variation of the word Palestine going around to describe the region as early as 12th century BC, with the Egyptians and Assyrians. Herodotus (a Greek) used the term in 5th Century BC. You’re welcome, beloved 🙂
lol what is “white hate propaganda”? Is that like the new “reverse racism”? It’s funny because your points don’t even address the issues raised in the article. Sounds like you came in windmilling with some talking points. Re-read it with an open mind, beloved.
Woooooooow these comments. S M H
For the commenters: WHITE Christian sister and brother take time to read, listen, and understand black women.
Notice how we are responding to this post.
***Good article, thank you for expressing US. Thank you for sharing. It is so good to see reflective writing. I appreciate your voice!
We are good (meaning you do not have to insert/defend yourself here) White Christians, please stop telling us how to think and behave. We read our Bibles too!
As a descendant of slaves (Race Based chattel slavery and genocide) in the United States many black women have found shelter in the Most High God and cling to the Saving grace of Jesus Christ. Thank God for Jesus!
Please stop treating US as if WE are your enemy.
Count me as one who desires to push back the darkness of the world! However, if it’s not done to point individuals and/or groups to Jesus but only to point to other worldly, self exalting opinions, desires and/or pursuits-I plead that you, me and others repent and humble ourselves before God. There is much evidence here of a preoccupation with the temporal with very little, if any, Biblical discernment – the pursuit of self gratification with the messaging at this conference coupled with an absurd caricature of a group of people based on their “whiteness” are two such examples. Dee Dee, I am concerned for you that the very thing you rightly hate is the very thing you might (or have already) grossly become.
White hate propaganda. All the black women reading this, you aren’t a victim of the white boogeyman. The white man isn’t your enemy. Deedee and people like her have hate in their hearts and are projecting the world they wish to see but is not reality. Black people are still enslaved today … by Arab Muslims. Asians and Indians are doing financially better than white people in America. Check the stats and see how many cops have shot black people vs how many black people shot black people. Christianity is color blind and this filth is anti Christian and a tinge anti Semitic.
I’m white and I am literally beyond sorry, DeeDee that anyone- especially people who align themselves with the gospel— would speak so harshly and out of line to your personal experience.. I just want you to know this white woman hears you and is listening. I know this is probably just one of your many experiences with blatant white fragility and the ignorance and arrogance that accompanies it—but UGH!!! I’m so sorry!! I soo thank you for being brave. For rising each morning- for trusting your voice and honoring your experience— and looking into the eyes of Jesus— who is ALWAYs saying- “my beloved, DeeDee, please tell me more. I love you. I am listening. I love you.” Trust His voice— all the other hateful white ones can get off the road!!
This is racist, stupid, incorrect, preposterous and quite frankly pathetic/sad.
Oh my goodness… Jesus was born in present day Palestine. When he was born, it was Judea and not called “Palestine” until AD 135. AND it was named Palestine by the Romans after the Bar Kokhba Rebellion… over 100 years after his death and resurrection.
And disagreeing with this article IS NOT RACIST. Stop playing that card just to silence people. The only people I hear talking about the supposed sins of one race are the people defending this article. Everyone else is making the case for us to not focus on race and that we are called to be one in Christ.
The racist comments on this post are so sad.
*So many of these people claiming to not see race on account of their Christianity go to churches that are 99-100% white.
*Refusing to listen to the testimonies of people of color makes you a really bad Christian.
*Although race was not a concept when the Bible was written, taking active steps to make sure to include people of various ethnicities, including changing who has power and what the religion requires in order to include more folks, is absolutely and unequivocally part of New Testament Christianity (see Acts 6 and 15).
*The term “whiteness” does not refer to people but to an ideology.
*For Christ’s sake (literally): Judaism is a religion. Palestine is a place. Some Jews, like Jesus, are from Palestine.
To disagree with this article is not the same as being convicted by this article. I disagree wiholeheartedly with this article. That disagreement is not a “symptom of my soul stirring”, It is the ability to discern what is gospel and what is being offered in the place of the gospel. What is completely missing from this entire article is the proclamation of Christ crucified. That should be the message.
2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:2-6
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:27-29
Show me where in the Bible one is more wicked than the other by the color of their skin. The frustration in the comments with the substance of this article is not hate. It comes from knowing that your race or skin color does not make you wicked any more than it makes you righteous. Pushing that narrative is to silence the message of the gospel and what Jesus actually came to do. What He died for and why He rose again.
We cannot be a colorblind church. We simply cannot. Just like we can’t be a non-21st century-living church. Just like we can’t be a gender-free church.
Who/When/Where we are is how God created us.
The Glory and Mystery of God is that he has created billions and billions of people across time, all with personalities and ethnicities and dozens of other traits and WE ARE ALL UNIQUE.
To ask the Church to be colorblind is to X out how God created that person and how that person experiences the world. And in turn, that allows people, (especially white people) to then ignore, gloss over, and undermine our brothers and sisters in Christ who have very different lived experiences.
DeeDee, thank you for sharing what this conference was like from your perspective. I’m sorry this organization pretended to care for POC when it very obviously did not. I’m sorry you felt excluded and unheard. Thank you for calling out this sin for what it is.
Also, I love you forever and I’m sorry for the hurtful things some commenters have written.
For anyone so uncomfortable about this article that you feel the need to comment angrily and tell DeeDee that her lived experience is not correct, I would highly recommend two books:
White Fragility by Dr. Robin DiAngelo and The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby.
The indignance is stirring something in your soul. Listen to it. Believe the truth that is in this article.
My friend, you are brilliant. I’m proud to know you.
Wow. This article is literally making an idol out of skin color. Just because she references the “every tribe, tongue, and nation” verse doesn’t mean she’s using it in context. Jesus never said “preach the gospel and pursue diversity”, He only said to preach the gospel to EVERYONE. I don’t care what color you are, the state of your salvation is what I care about. We’re not supposed to discriminate, but this article is doing just that against white people. We’re not to pursue diversity over the gospel. It’s so simple, preach the gospel to the nations. Every person is created in God’s image including white people. Just because your darker skinned doesn’t mean you are better than people with whiter skin. Y’all are to busy putting culture over Kingdom. Jesus was JEWISH, not Palestinian.
Maybe the woman cringed for saying Palestinian Jesus because he was and has always been the God of Israel and maybe they cringed because they are in fact colorblind and centered on the gospel alone versus skin color. Colorblindness should be in the church because we lay all of ourselves down to die for Christ ( at least that’s what it should be)including our skin color. Otherwise our skin color becomes the dictator of our lives and God no longer is the pilot of our lives because we are idolizing our color of skin,our race,our culture. We are not of this world as new born Christian’s we are freed from sin and the shackles of the world. We are to think biblically alone and not follow by what this world says and does. and the truth is this world idolizes race, skin, culture today.As a church we should be colorblind. there is no such thing as black and white and latino church. there is the church alone. God wont look at your color just at your heart so why are we so concerned with color in the church. Maybe we are to blame because we still havent forgiven the entire white race and want them to pay back for something committed years ago. Maybe were far too centered on color than we are on changing of hearts. How do you change hearts the gospel alone no agenda no activism the only activism is Christ. Maybe we need to be less colorblind and more Christ centered. Maybe we make it awkward because the world keeps telling us were different. Maybe just maybe we need to remember Jesus unites and this infiltration of society idolizing race, culture and skin is what is dividing the church and essentially dividing us from God. Because little by little the wounds that were buried are being digged up for generations instead of forgiving and leaving behind what has changed especially if we believe Jesus is our savior.
Edward Brown, II
Sister, this is beautifully written and well thought out. This type of tough conversation is a crucial necessity for the church in the west to stand strong. For each of you responding to this in such a hyper-critical manner, using the same tired tactics in attempts to drown out this sister in Christ’s voice, need to have a seat and think about what she wrote, why she wrote it, and how she addressed an American cultural norm that does not directly, negatively affect you. Let your offense lead you to a deeper understanding. Before Paul preached at Mars Hill, he walked around and took note of the culture and used the culture as he introduced them to Christ. See. He saw their cultural identity, respected it and ended up being effective. Take notes. Kudos to the author
Great article and many of the comments are textbook examples of the white fragility the article addresses.
Jesus transcends all race, he transcends all relations. It grieves my heart that you as an attendee, go to a CHRISTIAN conference, where your focus is supposed to be on the Lord and getting closer to Him and instead you come out with an article such as this? This is a divisive article, and in the current state of this world, your words are not helping and not contributing to a Christ like environment.
You wrote “We must imagine a world in which our whole identity isn’t bound to oppression. We live an embodied faith” but yet you are making this to be a race issue, something that is irrelevant who God is.
Praying for your heart to be restored and that you may be focused on Jesus. Not a white or black Jesus but just who He is. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His color doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t change who He is. Thank God.
Just confirming….as a white man….because I’m white…I’m automatically a racist and a sinner because I’m white? Not because I’m part of humanity. Where we have all sinned. But I’m especially a sinner because of something of the color of my skin?
How can I repent? Do I need to pay racial reparations? How can I make this sin go away? Who can tell me what I can do to correct this? Do I bow down and only listen to black people and their teachings?
Just want to make sure I get this right so I can follow all your instructions so I can get to heaven….
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.””
Bethlehem in Judea… King of the Jews… this new evangelical “wokeness” referring to Jesus as a Palestinian is revisionism for the sake of agenda. If you try to change what the Bible says you are promulgating false teaching. That should be taken VERY SERIOUSLY.
“Saying ‘we are one in Christ’ aka ‘our identity is in Christ’ is a shutdown tactic to stop minorities from telling white people the truth about how wicked whiteness is in the eyes of God.”
What in the actual hell? You know God made white people white with the same intentionally a black person black, and Asian person Asian and so on, correct? Your statement is what is evil. A good book to read for the curious Christians who do want to care for brothers and sisters who are from diff ethnic groups and cultures AND race baiters alike is “Beyond Colorblind.” She rejects statements like the garbage I quoted and preaches an actual Christian message of reconciliation.
Anything that qualifies a person’s immutable qualities as sinful is completely lacking in the gospel. Anyone who wants to hear what the gospel says about race should listen to Darrel Harrison’s Just Thinking podcast. I’m seriously blown away by how divisive this article is and all the people cheering for it. Read your Bible, ladies. There is NOTHING in this article that is based in Biblical truth.
Wow this is the most racist hate-filled article I’ve ever read.
The idea of ‘we are one in Christ’ is an erasure of the distinctions of how God made all of us. This is discussed in the video which DeeDee included near the end of this article.
We are one in Christ. However too many white ‘Christians’ don’t see us as their equals. Saying ‘we are one in Christ’ aka ‘our identity is in Christ’ is a shutdown tactic to stop minorities from telling white people the truth about how wicked whiteness is in the eyes of God.
Thank you so much for writing this! Cogent and fair. I am a white woman who hopes to be a mediator in these crucial conversations!! Thank you for braving that conference as a minority. I was at the LifeWay Women’s Forum in Nashville in 2018. May I encourage you by saying that the leadership nose dived into the racial conversation. Lisa Harper had EVERYONE stand up and then said Please sit down if you have ever experienced rejection or pain or hatred because of your skin color in church! There were 95% women still standing
Lisa had everyone look around and the women sitting. THEN we were instructed to lay hands on those women and pray for them. I remember praying for Grace. We were all crying. It was so beautiful. I look forward to more of your work! Blessings!
Thank you for this refreshing work of your heart and soul. Truth does hurt. I am sorry that not everyone understands the need to receive your words. I think we all should feel that the Gospel is first and foremost, but part of that Gospel is undoubtedly the way we treat others and how we allow others to be treated. You made my heart hurt and breathe at the same time. Keep writing. You are a treasure.
Sigh. “Any racial lense applied to the Scripture is gonna lead to incorrect understanding” says the commenter applying a white lens to the Scripture.
DeeDee, thanks for writing this!
Dee Dee you better preach! Folks if you are uncomfortable, go pray about it, don’t post that crap here. Read Dee Dee’s words and allow them to soak in, if you disagree, fine but pray and seek God’s truth. Until you have walked through what black women especially have gone through, miss her with your comments on divisive black racism crap…black racism is oxymoronic anyway??♀️.
Dee Dee keep speaking truth and don’t grow weary in well doing, you have a platform and voice that’s much needed. Love you sis
In reply to K.F. : This article is not divisive. White supremacy is and has been, and is at the root of your offense. Please re-read the article and hear what Ms. Roe is telling us. Your comment is the embodiment of this statement by Ms. Roe:
“So, what happens to whiteness when Black theology confronts its idols and takes up room in its sacred spaces? It claws for its purse in the darkness, storms quietly out of the theater, and asks to see the manager because it demands someone pay for failing to protect it from conviction and discomfort.”
Our identity is in Christ, not the colour of our skin, nor culture. My identity is that i am a woman made by Jesus for Jesus. This same identiy is what i share with all true Christians, of every tribe, nation and tonuge. (see Gal 3:28) We are one. This article is devisive. The only theolgy we should hold is biblical theology, no other. Any racial lense applied to the Scripture is gonna lead to incorrect understanding. We should call all sinners to repentance, regardless of colour. The only thing i want people to turn from is sin, point blank. Black racism needs to be repented of too, as it is on full display here. May the Lord Jesus open eyes and cleanse hearts, removing all stumbling blocks from His people.
Thank you for sharing your insights & summarizing the experience. As a Truth’s Table listener and white woman, I am thankful for and indebted to Ekemini Uwan and the other midwives of culture for grace and truth. So, I read your first-hand observations and watched the interview with interest. After doing so, I’m sorry, not sorry that the white women at the conference were angry and uncomfortable by Ekemini’s teachings. I thought the contextualizing, defining of terms, and applying of scripture to culture were done in truth and love. How discouraging that this was too much for white Christian women, who came to a conference that exists “to catalyze the next generation of reconcilers,” to bear. Truth convicts. That’s what iron sharpening iron does. Peacekeeping is not the same as peacemaking. Seems like many of the white women wanted the platitudes of the former, rather than the hard truths and difficult work of the latter.
So glad for Ekemini’s prophetic voice, and for her willingness to speak truth to hostile ears!! She gives me courage to do the same.
Patricia De Boer
Wow! This was powerful and fabulous. She is eloquent and bold and I thank god she is speaking truth to this hostile world. I remember the first time I was deeply, truly challenged to understand racism and how it works. The first day I was numb, shut down, politely listening (keeping up that front of being concerned but not being willing to honestly engage). And then towards the end of that day, when our black colleague questioned our white quietness something broke open in my heart. I struggled and wrestled with my feelings and cried more than I have in years. And the next day I told my struggle to let my heart feel all the uncomfortable feelings the topic of race raised in me and the way I had avoided taking responsibility in cases when in fact I did have the power to do more. How I had made a gesture or a statement that ‘showed’ that I was aware of racism and colonialism in our international organization but then had washed my hands of the decision. The rebirth of my heart and conscience was painful— and it still is. I don’t claim any greater virtue has come of it, other than the ability to hear these hard words and be challenged about whiteness without shutting down in anger, shame, embarrassment, discomfort that maybe someone might be saying i’m Not a good person…all the anxieties and emotions we white women of faith try to smother and kill. Keep speaking truth with love.
On Twitter I have seen comments that eluded to some radical ie “unapproved” things were said at the women’s sparrow conference. So as a white woman I curiously listened to Ekemini Uwan’s words and what I heard was the gospel -yes I guess it is radical but the gospel has always been so and will always be so! Please do not let whiteness silence you or make you grow weary. Ms Uwan and Ms Roe we need your voices if we are to find our way past the sin of whiteness and find our true ethnic heritages.