This summer, in the context of the Association for the Sociology of Religion conference, is an incredible opportunity for scholars of race and religion from all disciplines to come together. This first symposium of our new network will feature innovative sessions, a networking lunch, and even an end of day salon. I hope you can join us! See this site for the full call for papers and submit your abstract here:
I was privileged to share my work at this conference disseminating findings from the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project.
I highlighted how the multiracial church has, in some ways, strayed from the vision of the founding fathers of racial reconciliation. John Perkins, Tom Skinner, and Samuel Hines, among others, advocated a specific vision of united church. Yancey described it as requiring the following:
- Primary relationships across race must be developed;
- Social structures of inequality must be recognized and resisted together by Christians of all backgrounds;
- Whites must repent of the personal, historical, and social sins; and
- Blacks and other Christians of color must forgive, individually and corporately.
Interviews from the RLDP highlight that most churches focus solely on building cross-race relationships and personal repentance. This form of cheap reconciliation employs only select elements of racial justice with detrimental impacts for racial equality. Given events since 2016, however, there is a growing recognition that coming together in the same building without addressing societal issues that keep us apart is not sustainable. As such, some multiethnic churches are redoubling their focus to capture all the elements of reconciliation.
If not, check out Molly Worthen’s article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/20/opinion/sunday/black-evangelicals-diversity.html
Racial Inequality can take many forms. One of them is who bears the burden for reimagining and reforming spaces with unhealthy conceptions of race.
My article, ““Everything that I’ve Done Has Always Been Multiethnic”: Biographical Work among Leaders of Multiracial Churches” now appears in the Sociology of Religion journal. This article uses the biographical narratives of pastors of multiracial churches to highlight a shift from discussions of racial inequality to diversity. This shift can deeply entrench racial injustice as it becomes invisible. You can read it here: https://academic.oup.com/socrel/advance-article/doi/10.1093/socrel/sry058/5306016?guestAccessKey=75912178-989e-485f-b2df-90f3a06ca16f