WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?
Click on the bolded orange links throughout the page for more information
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?
Click on the bolded orange links throughout the page for more information
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
What does the United Methodist Church say about Racism?
From The United Methodist Social Principles:
Racism, manifested as sin, plagues and hinders our relationship with Christ, inasmuch as it is antithetical to the gospel itself. … Racism breeds racial discrimination. We define racial discrimination as the disparate treatment and lack of full access and equity in resources, opportunities, and participation in the Church and in society based on race or ethnicity.
Therefore, we recognize racism as sin and affirm the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons. We rejoice in the gifts that particular ethnic histories and cultures bring to our total life. We commit as the Church to move beyond symbolic expressions and representative models that do not challenge unjust systems of power and access.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016, paragraph 5:
The United Methodist Church proclaims the value of each person as a unique child of God and commits itself to the healing and wholeness of all persons.
The United Methodist Church recognizes that the sin of racism has been destructive to its unity throughout its history. Racism continues to cause painful division and marginalization.
The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate racism, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large.
The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of racial justice at all times and in all places.
United Methodists Stand Against Racism
We will work for equal and equitable opportunities in employment and promotion, education and training; in voting, access to public accommodations, and housing; to credit, loans, venture capital, and insurance; to positions of leadership and power in all elements of our life together; and to full participation in the Church and society.
What Can You Do?
We listen for the voice of Jesus in our private acts of devotion and public acts of worship.
• The Upper Room has collected resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism
• Prayers for the Healing of a Nation - Discipleship Ministries
• No justice. No peace: Devotion written in response to George Floyd’s murder
• Turning to God in Days of Trouble is a prayer for difficult days
We begin our work by joining hands and hearts to journey side by side.
• Read White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo. Or watch her speak here. Other titles at Cokesbury.com
• A United Methodist Pastor in Ferguson, Missouri, offers helpful tips for talking about race
• The General Commission on Religion and Race offers several video series to encourage discussion
• Discipleship Ministries offers some great resources.
• School-to-Prison Pipeline Bible Study by United Methodist Women
• We also have some tips for talking to your children about racism
• Seek diverse blogs, podcasts, news outlets, and new relationships
We seek to be present at the rally, to participate in the conversation, to hear the pain of others, and for opportunities to use our voices for change.
• Watch the Denominational Town Hall (more Town Halls are being planned)
• Watch the Worship Service of Lament
• Watch the Bishops' Juneteenth Announcement
Jesus calls us not only to speak, but to join in the work of liberating the oppressed.
• Join Church & Society of the United Methodist Church in their work for civil and human rights
• Connect with United Methodist Women in their work for racial justice
• Creating Change Together: A Civic Engagement Toolkit from Church & Society
• Suggested Resources for Becoming Anti-Racist: Discipleship Ministries
• Work for justice in your church, community, work and school
Find more information and resources on our Racial Justice page.
United Methodists as Agents of Transformation
We live in a country permeated by racial bias. We may not be able to avoid racism, but we do not have to accept it. If God’s kingdom is to come, and God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven, things need to change. We United Methodists can be agents of the transformation by changing our beliefs, changing our actions, and working to change the world. (From umc.org)
Changing Beliefs about Race
Becoming an agent of transformation includes focusing within ourselves. We need to allow God to shape our inner thoughts and attitudes toward race.
Pray – Changing our beliefs begins with prayer, a foundational spiritual practice to support everything we do as Christians. Pray for God to change your heart and attitudes. Here is a sample prayer:
Triune God, help us be ever faithful to your example: affirming of our unique identities, while remaining unified as one body in you. Help us seek out the voices that are missing, and empower the marginalized. Let our witness of repentance, justice, and reconciliation bring glory to You, O Lord. Amen. (Katelin Hansen)
Broaden your education – It is important to include more voices in your learning. The internet is a great resource to find authors and thinkers whose racial and cultural backgrounds differ from your own.
Seek new relationships – There is no substitute for sharing consistent, ongoing, authentic relationships with people of color. Developing those relationships may mean moving out of your comfort zone. Isolating ourselves among people of similar backgrounds just deprives our own souls of God's majesty.
We live out our changing beliefs through changes in behavior. By taking some bigger steps outside our comfort zone, we begin to act on what we believe about race.
Empower leaders – Use your resources to promote and equip leaders of color. Then, be willing to follow. Listen and act on opinions, activities, and points of view different from your own.
Show up – As we come together for conversations and demonstrations, we build a culture of justice in our community and model multi-cultural love and understanding.
Spend responsibly – Support racial equality through your shopping and donations. Shop at local markets owned by people of color. Donate to charities and ministries led by and supporting those of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Examine your media intake – Expand your social media follows and news sites to include voices and opinions different from your own. For big stories, be sure to consult multiple sources from a variety of points of view. Consider your entertainment choices also. Be aware of the movies, music, and television shows you consume that promote equality, and those that present a bias.
To take a stand against racism we cannot simply change our own beliefs and behaviors. We must also work to change the world.
Advocate – Written and unwritten policies in our neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, schools, and nation disadvantage certain ethnicities. Learn from the people of color in your neighborhood about the ways they feel disadvantaged and find ways to participate in changing those systems.
Sponsor – People of color sometimes struggle to access public services, opportunities, and more. Use your money, gifts, and sphere of influence to make a difference. Invest in people and programs that work toward racial justice.
Take a risk – Meaningful change requires risk. Sometimes we will put our reputations, money, and leadership opportunities on the line. Shaping our society and institutions to reflect more fully the kingdom of God will not always be appreciated. We must be willing to risk the loss.
(From “Ways United Methodists Can Stand Against Racism”)
Education Resources for Race and Religion
Books to Read:
• How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
• The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation by Fania Davis
• Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
• Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel
• On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope by DeRay Mckesson
• The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Today by Charles Marsh
• So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
• Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
• The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
• The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
• White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
(List compiled from various UMC sources.)