10 Day Challenge Gilded Cage

“A gilded cage is still a cage.”

Open your mind and fly free.

Almost two years ago we launched our hospitality initiative to be a church that is radically welcoming to persons of color. This initiative was a result of our desire to live out the gospel, and to be faithful to Jesus Christ, our Lord. From the start, some of our members committed to serve as a team, “Christians for Racial Unity,” to help identify and recommend ways we we can work to become such a congregation. They knew one of the ways that would help us on this journey is for the congregation to be exposed to, and study, resources and materials by persons of color and that are specific to race relations.

As such, we have been working over the last year to compile and curate a list books, songs, articles, movies, dialogues, and more to offer the congregation a place to begin. The team had been presenting its work and progress to the Administrative Board, the leadership body of the church, so the members could keep abreast with the work that was being done.

February 17 begins the Season of Lent, and our theme for Lent is “Suffer and Grow Strong.” February is also Black History Month, in which the work and legacy of blacks in America are recognized. Beginning Ash Wednesday, we will start the first of our three 10 Day Challenge, where we invite and challenge our members to read an article or and excerpt from a book, listen to a dialogue or a discussion, or watch a movie or short clip by a person or color or on race relations. The link will be on the church’s website, with the resources for each day, for the 10 days.

We invite you to take the challenge. Engage the resources provided. Do not be disheartened if you miss a day. Pick up where you left off and continue the journey. Invite your family to take the challenge with you. Invite a friend. Invite the people in your circle.

This is an opportunity that can help us to choose to become the congregation that welcomes the stranger who does not look like us. It is one that enables us to choose to be followers of Jesus Christ who show and reflect the love of God to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Journey well. And God be with you every step of the way, each day.

10 Day Challenge Books Wings

Part One

Racial Justice as proclaimed in the Bible, by the United Methodist Church, by Theologians and Prominent Clergy

DAY ONE

What the Bible Instructs

Read one or more of the scripture references provided.  Listen to the music.  Become immersed in the prayer.

John 13:34-35
1 John 4:20
1 Peter 4:8
Romans 12:10
1 John 4:7-10
1 John 4:11
Romans 13:8
1 John 3:18
Galatians 5:13
John 15:12

1 John 4:7
John 13:35
Luke 6:31
Leviticus 19:18
1 John 3:11
Luke 6:35
1 Peter 1:22
1 Thessalonians 4:9
1 John 4:12
1 Thessalonians 3:12

1 Corinthians 16:14
Mark 12:31
1 John 3:23
1 John 4:19
2 John 1:5
Colossians 3:14
1 John 4:21
Proverbs 10:12
Matthew 22:38

Benediction given by Bishop Woodie White at 1996 General Conference
And Now,
May the Lord torment you.
May the Lord keep before you the faces of the hungry,
the lonely, the rejected and the despised.
May the Lord afflict you with pain for the hurt, the wounded, the oppressed, the abused, the victims of violence.
May God grace you with agony, a burning thirst for justice and righteousness.
May the Lord give you courage and strength and compassion to make ours a better world, to make your community a better community, to make your church a better church.
And may you do your best to make it so, and after you have done your best, may the Lord grant you peace.

DAY TWO

What Methodists Believe, Doctrines of the United Methodist Church

Read one or more of the proclamations provided.  Listen to the music.  Become immersed in our beliefs.

The Book of Discipline 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.

Methodist Women’s Charter, 1980
Because we believe:

* That God is the Creator of all people
* That racism is a rejection of Jesus
* That racism robs all humans of wholeness
* That there is strength in racial and cultural diversity
* That the struggle for justice requires new attitudes and understandings
* That we must commit as individuals and community

Candler Alumni Board’s Prayer for Racial Justice

DAY THREE

Insights from Theologians – James Lawson

Listen to the music and message.  Become immersed in prayer for justice.

A Prayer for Racial Justice

With thanksgiving, we humble ourselves before you,
Holy One, Creator, God of God, Light of Light.
Liberator, Bridge over troubled water, Waymaker.
The One who first breathed the breath of life into all humanity.
The One who created us in your image: beautiful, hopeful, loving.

Breathe in us once more your life-giving breath of justice, mercy, and love.
Hear our hearts, our chants, our prayers, our pain, and our hope.

For all who are angry, anxious, grieving, and in need;
For those who struggle to breathe and those who no longer, in this life, have breath;
For those who wonder, How long, O Lord?

Console us, we pray, with strength and courage for this long journey toward freedom—
this long journey toward justice.

For a system—
rooted in colonialism,
propped up by the Church,
and perpetuated by the myth of American exceptionalism.
A system that has oppressed black and brown bodies bruised, beaten, and lynched
by those who would assume power and control.
By those who would assume no responsibility.
By those who would choose to say, “all lives matter.”

Forgive us, we pray, for our individual and corporate Sin of racism,
and all of the ways we participate, knowingly and unknowingly.
Hold us, our systems, and our institutions accountable.
Give us the resolve to repent and turn around.
Create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us.

For our country that claims these truths to be self-evident,
that all people are created equal,
yet we know that all have never been treated equally.

Remind us of your truth that when one suffers, we all suffer.
When one rejoices, we all rejoice.
That not one of us is free, until all of us are free.

For our communities, for our church, for Candler, for ourselves,
that we may claim Black Lives Matter and mean it—
not for a moment—but for the movement of justice and equity;
for freedom and faithfulness.

Holy One, you call us to beat our swords into plowshares,
that we may till a new landscape for our world as we sow seeds of justice
and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Give us courage that we may share our lives in such a way
that together we create a new narrative
and a people that recognize the need for your redemption.

Lift up our hearts so that we may connect with other hearts.
Lift up our eyes so that we may truly see one another.
Give us vision, wisdom, and conviction
to create along with you a new heaven and a new earth,
a dwelling place—
a home, where hope abounds and
Everyone-Everyone-Everyone
is truly welcome, known, loved, and free.

In your Holy Name we pray,
Amen.

– Candler Alumni Board’s Prayer for Racial Justice

DAY FOUR

Insights from Theologians – Howard Thurman

Listen to the music and message.

DAY FIVE

The Perspective from an Atlanta Pulpit – Rev. Dr. Kevin Muriel, Cascade UMC

Listen to the music and message.

Amos 5:21-25

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
“Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?

Kevin Muriel When Black Lives Matter to Everyone

When Black Lives Matter to Everyone, Part One
(click image to view)

DAY SIX

The Perspective from an Atlanta Pulpit – Rev. Dr. Kevin Muriel, Cascade UMC

Listen to the music and message.

Luke 4:17-21

He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Kevin Muriel When Black Lives Matter to Everyone

When Black Lives Matter to Everyone, Part One
(click image to view)

DAY SEVEN

The Perspective from an Atlanta Pulpit – Rev. Dr. Kevin Muriel, Cascade UMC

Listen to the music and message.

Joshua 10:12-13

On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on[a] its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

Kevin Muriel When Black Lives Matter to Everyone

When Black Lives Matter to Everyone, Part One
(click image to view)

10 Day Challenge What is Equal

Part Two

Examining Privilege

DAY EIGHT

Vital Conversations – UMC General Commission on Religion and Race

Deconstructing White Privilege with Robin DiAngelo

What Is White Privilege, Really?
By Cory Collins

For many, white privilege was an invisible force that white people needed to recognize. It was being able to walk into a store and find that the main displays of shampoo and panty hose were catered toward your hair type and skin tone. It was being able to turn on the television and see people of your race widely represented. It was being able to move through life without being racially profiled or unfairly stereotyped. All true.

READ MORE

DAY NINE

Unpacking White Privilege

How to Recognize Your White Privilege and Use It to Fight Inequality with Dr. Peggy McIntosh

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
By Dr. Peggy McIntosh

“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” first appeared in Peace and Freedom Magazine, July/August, 1989, pp. 10-12, a publication of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Philadelphia, PA.

READ MORE

DAY TEN

Further Self Examination of White Privilege

Unpacking Privilege with Sue Borrego