Dear Valley Church family,
As most of you know I’ve got leaky eyes. It doesn’t take much to get tears started for me. This Sunday I’ll be preaching on one of my favorite Bible texts. It’s just two words – “Jesus wept”. No, it’s not my “life verse”, but it certainly seems appropriate for these days of racial tensions, polemic political platforms, and conflicting opinions over Corona Virus. As we’ve said before, any one of these issues alone would be difficult, but together they compound the heartache, anxiety, and discouragement all of us are susceptible to. Our Lord Jesus was no stranger to political pressures, racial prejudice, and the heartache of loss. In John 11 we’ll see how he brought hope and healing to his dear friends. By God’s grace, He can use us to do the same, as long as we stand together.
I told you last Sunday that I’m concerned we’d allow these issues to divide us. I’m feeling it. I’m weeping over it. Pastor Tony Evans says, “The devil created the evil of racism, and now he is trying to use it to tear our churches and our nation apart at the seams.” How can we unite to combat this evil together, as brothers and sisters in Christ?
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:2-6
From this verse it sounds like it starts with humility and a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit. With the help of some friends, I’ve gathered some Christian resources about racism and reconciliation. I included conversations with Black Christian leaders, book suggestions, sermons, and more. I’ll tell you now that you won’t agree with everything you read and hear. I am learning so much from a book on racial reconciliation by Latasha Morrison called Be the Bridge. It’s painful at times, but we’ve got to understand and acknowledge the problem before we start to fix it. There’s no doubt Christians could go inward and find much to disagree over. But there is so much Biblical common ground to find and to rally around to bring transformation to broken lives around us and to our broken world in Jesus’ name.
It’s not often when social consciousness and media converge on a matter that is the clear and unmistakable will of God – every human is equal in the sight of God and therefore deserves equal justice. This is a unique moment in history when the church can, “…shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:16). We’ve been filled with “…the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6).
In the attached list I want to make sure you don’t miss the “Opportunities for Serving”. It will be part of our sermon notes this Sunday and we’ll post this online so you can find the latest version on our website at: http://valleychurch.org/v/resources/
Let’s shine brightly together!
Christian Resources for Learning About Racism and Racial Reconciliation
We hope to periodically update this list of resources and opportunities. For the latest version go to: http://valleychurch.org/v/resources/
The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation by Miles McPherson
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
Oneness Embraced: Through the Eyes of Tony Evans by Tony Evans
One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race by John M. Perkins
The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Christians and the Problem of Race in America by Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson
Strength to Love and Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community by Martin Luther King Jr.
Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church. By Soong-Chan Rah
CONVERSATIONS – These conversations with Black pastors and leaders were recorded at Bayside Church near Sacramento at a conference on June 15. 2020.
T.D. Jakes – “Don’t allow the ways you describe your convictions to alienate you from your brothers and sisters. Let’s be more Christian than anything.”
Miles McPherson – “We get stuck in us vs. them thinking. There is a third option: honor.”
Condoleezza Rice– “Look hard at everything you do and ask, will this help bring a world where every human being is valued as an image-bearer of God?”
Latasha Morrison – “You can be the bridge”
Albert Tate – “This is a big monster of evil, and not one single group can take it down.”
Pastor Hurmon Hamilton “Greater Things”
Dr. Tony Evans speaks from his heart about social justice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7y4RD43vKA
Bryan Loritts: How the Gospel is Our Only Hope for Racial Reconciliation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKs1azV_Qh0&t=128s
Dr. Voddie Baucham “Racial Reconciliation” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoJGYCc7EUg&t=975s
Be the Bridge: Our vision is that people and organizations are aware and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. People are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. All are equipped to flourish. https://bethebridge.com/podcasts/
All The Things: a weekly conversation about the cultural issues of the day through the lens of the historic Christian worldview. This is our attempt to create a space where Christians can think through uncomfortable topics.
Pass The Mic: interviews addressing the core concerns of African Americans biblically. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pass-the-mic/id1435500798
Truth’s Table: Black Christian women who love truth and seek it out wherever it leads them. They have unique perspectives on race, politics, gender, current events, and pop culture that are filtered through their Christian faith.
CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION has a long-standing commitment to the confrontation of injustice. Living and working in our communities gives us a unique lens to the pain and systemic injustices that impact those we care about. Sharing Jesus’ compassion and His commitment to kingdom justice is the origin of our advocacy and organizing. https://ccda.org
Center for Biblical Unity: We are men and women gathered from diverse backgrounds unified by the common desire to engage in conversations to promote unity in the Body of Christ. https://www.centerforbiblicalunity.com
One Race: Racial unity has a vertical answer, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which compels us to a horizontal action, ultimately bringing healing and justice. http://oneracemovement.com
The Global Immersion Project: What would the world look like if the Church took seriously our call to be peacemakers? In pursuit of the answer, we immersed ourselves into conflicts around the globe. What we discovered is that peacemaking is not just a good idea, it’s the mission of God and the vocation of God’s people. https://globalimmerse.org
Roadmap to Reconciliation – https://www.saltermcneil.com/roadmap-to-reconciliation
Walking towards Love – Racial Reconciliation Curriculum https://walkingtowardslove.com
“Rethinking Incarceration” https://walkingtowardslove.com/series/rethinking-incarceration/
Opportunities for Serving
CITYTEAM SAN JOSE
Restoring lives and rebuilding communities through innovative programs which provide food, shelter, clothing, training, and spiritual transformation. https://www.cityteam.org/san-jose/
International Students Incorporated
ISI’s mission is to share Christ’s love with international college students by befriending international students and helping them adjust to American culture. https://www.isionline.org
Hope, Help, and Healing. We commit to empowering and equipping women and men to choose life for their unborn children through the love of Jesus Christ in accordance with His Word regarding the sanctity of human life .real options san jose ca
SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK
Black leaders point out that food programs are a foundational way to help. To donate or volunteer. https://www.shfb.org
The mission of Reading Partners is “to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results”, which can have a significant impact on the education and trajectory of kids. https://readingpartners.org
FutureProfits is an education program that partners with local organizations and public high schools to target under-resourced high school students at-risk of being caught in generational cycles of poverty. http://able.is/futureprofits/
BAYSHORE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
The mission of Bayshore Christian Ministries is to cultivate hope and a future for East Palo Alto youth. Volunteers create the “backbone” and fuel the success of its mission for youth from East Palo Alto and Belle Haven. In a highly-relational environment, volunteers provide spiritual and academic support. https://www.bayshore.org/
A BRIGHTER DAY YOUTH PROGRAM
Brighter Day is a work based youth program for genuine life change. The aim of this program is to act as a “safety net ” for misguided youth by intervening and redirecting their lives through work that offers discipline, structure and skills. If a youth really wants to change their lives, they can, by participation in a Brighter Day work program. http://brighterdayyp.org/
The mission of Generations United is to empower the children and families of Redwood City and North Fair Oaks to reach their full potential, in this generation and the next. It begins with relationships, one-on-one, between the adult volunteers and the children they read with, tutor, and befriend. And then the whole family gets involved, around meals, fitness programs, service projects, community networking, and conversations about the things that matter to the neighborhood. https://generations-united.com/
The mission of Reach Potential is to reach underserved youth and their families; equipping and developing them with leadership, learning & life skills and extending opportunities for spiritual development. https://www.reachpotential.org/home.html
Opportunities for Giving
JUSTICE REVIVAL Our mission is to inspire, educate, and mobilize Christian communities to respond faithfully to the call to justice by standing in solidarity with the oppressed and defending the human rights of all. https://justicerevival.org
EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE EJI works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality. https://eji.org
ZACCHAEUS FOUNDATION Empowering & Equipping the Next Generation of African-American Leaders https://www.theleadership400fund.com