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.