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racial reconciliation resources

July 2, 2020

Dear Hebron EM,

Thank you for joining together over these last few months of digital gatherings and worship. It has not been easy to come up with a new normal during these times and if there are any of us that are experiencing growing fatigue or lethargy, these might be signs that the trauma of adapting to a new world so quickly and drastically are starting to catch up. The last few weeks, in particular, have been rife with tension and division. Like a perfect storm we are dealing with the pressures and winds of intense forces: politics, racism, xenophobia, and fear mongering. While trying to be faithful stewards to God’s Word is challenging enough, we must also humbly search for the prophetic word in the midst of storms.

What has been my growing conviction is that the way we get through this storm together is not by fleeing but actively doing our part until we get through it. Our task as Christians is to be engaged by standing up and speaking out, working, and preaching against the sin of racism. This is not to be confused with being politically active or motivated. Rather I am calling us as a church to biblical action. Each and every single one of us must ask ourselves these questions:
  • What is God saying to change us, heal us, renew us?1
  • What common narratives will this moment change?
  • How much priority will we give to anti-racist spiritual formation?
  • What will it mean to have a Christian world and life view in responding to racial inequality?
  • Will we allow ourselves to be crucified with Christ, so that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us?
1Questions from the CRCNA Statement about the Death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. 

This past weekend, I stepped aside to give space and voice for black leaders in the Christian church to prophetically speak into this situation and call us to action. You heard from Rev. Reggie Smith, director of the Office of Race Relations and the Office of Social Justice in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. He comes from our theological heritage - Reformed and Presbyterian. You also heard from Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, pastor of Middleton Collegiate Church and author. She comes from an over 400 year old diverse Methodist church of multi-ethnic and “multi-everything”, which she defines as LGBTQ and straight, rich and poor, black and white. Both voices are on different ends of the theological spectrum yet we hear from our common Christian faith tradition that we are to dismantle the lies of racism. One sermon will increase the voice of what God is doing during this time. The other voice will increase the responsibility of what we as believers must do. We listen to them with teachable hearts knowing that our experience and history with racism is not the same as our black brothers and sisters.

We engage with their hurt, their anger, and their calls for help. As we listen, my prayer is that we would all take on God’s Kingdom agenda: it isn’t enough to “not be racist”. We must be anti-racist.

I trust that the messages you heard this past weekend have given you some serious reflection into the way we have dealt with or not dealt with racism. As Rev. Smith said during Pulse, we can be thankful for this time because God is starting a big movement out of acts that were meant to make black people small. The world is crying out right now and laws are changing as we speak. The prophets of the Old Testament were the loudest speakers and biggest defenders of justice and mercy. Jesus lived out his entire ministry as a voice and presence to the marginalized. Hebron, we must all ask ourselves during these days what the Holy Spirit is trying to change, heal and renew in us, with us, and through us. It is my firm conviction that the church must be the loudest, strongest, clearest voice of justice and mercy.

As Asian Americans, we stand in a unique place between the relationship of whites and blacks. We are people who are victims of “whiteness” ourselves, but we are also people who often stand “whiteness adjacent” by leaning and gleaning from the privilege we have in this system of racism. We are people who can complain about racism while at the same time benefiting from it. So, my challenge to all of us is to not just to use your identity in Christ to no longer be a part of racist behavior, but take it a God-step further by being on the frontline of working for racial reconciliation. Apart from the African American church, matters of racial reconciliation have been painfully silent. Hebron, let the Spirit of God move in you to break that silence today.

Below are some links that I’ve gathered together that will help educate and grow your understanding of the systemic injustices in our world that tilts all favor away from black people. You’ll also find some resources to help you personally get started in being a defender of justice and active participant in racial reconciliation. Pray for your church leadership so that we will develop a clear voice for this ministry in the weeks, months, and years to come. We’re all in this together. Let’s unite behind what God is doing. Let’s also unite behind the responsibilities God gives us.

Pastor John & Pastor Yun


“Whiteness” is more than the color of someone’s skin — when we use the word “whiteness,” we are referring to the system of thinking (and the social structures built on this system of thinking) that values the cultures, bodies, and contributions of people with white skin above those of people of color. These systems were constructed over generations — there’s plenty to learn and unlearn so that we can be free to live the abundant life God has for us! Here are some resources we recommend to get you started.

Dig deeper into scripture and Reformed thinkers on race and racism to establish a firm foundation for dismantling racism.

Racism is more than individual prejudices. It also shows up in the ways that our social systems privilege some and under-privilege others. Because racism is a Gospel issue, doing what we can to change these systems is part of our Christian calling.  Some of these resources have discussion or study guides that can be done together as a LifeGroup.

Inspire the next generation to love and enjoy the beautiful ways God creates his people.