The film and discussion on race and social justice today was AMAZING! Here’s a description of the film and its historical context. So thankful for Elkland Art Center for co-sponsoring this with Blackburn House. We have unanimous desire to have subsequent conversations on such topics and to organize action out of these spaces of conversation and relationship-building. So be on the lookout for the next event! Here are the questions we discussed, for those that didn’t make it:
What does it mean to be church in the face of injustice?:
A screening and discussion of A Time For Burning
1. Ernie (black leader): “Your Jesus is contaminated like everything else you’ve tried to force on us …. You can have [your Jesus] as far as we’re concerned …. I wish you followed Jesus the way we [black Christians] do.” Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous quote “Sunday morning at 11am is the most segregated hour of the week in America” is still true today. Some people continue to remark, like Ernie, that there are different Christianities represented in these segregated religious spaces. How does this make you feel? What is your response to this?
2. Bill (white Lutheran pastor) responds to Ernie’s sharp critiques of the white community and white Christians: “We’ve confessed our sin, we’ve acknowledged our wrongs, what more can we do? Do we just give in to despair or do we try to live together?”
Bill’s church member gradualist detractors: “Why do we have to be so revolutionary? Can’t we take one step at a time? We’ll destroy what we’ve built up in this church. We’ve got a faithful congregation here.”
These two responses represent two “sides” from the white Lutheran community in the film. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once remarked that the real opponents to racial and social justice are not the KKK or radical groups, but the white liberal, the white moderate. What’s your response to these perspectives?
3. In response to Bill’s plea for reconciliation, Ernie remarks that for Bill this is probably only an “excursion” to cross racial lines. How are many efforts to cross boundaries and pursue justice and reconciliation EXCURSION experiences? What is the something “more” beyond excursions and how might we pursue that?
4. “The world will pass us [the church] by on the biggest issue of our time …. Where was the church during Nazi Germany?” How is this movie and discussion relevant today? Why are you personally here? How is this film/discussion relevant for a place like Todd or Boone, areas that are disproportionately white?
5. Bill responded to the detractors and allies in his congregation: “I want to live through this [cross-racial experience] with the people!” What does it look like to commit to justice and reconciliation for the long haul AND with a group of folks who don’t all agree with you?