30 Days of Anti-Racism: #6 The Big Sell

Marketing is a form of propaganda that elicits a transaction by provoking a desire for products and services. With churches, marketing can help broaden engagement and connect the church to its mission field. Church marketing takes many forms. Before starting an appointment as a new-church pastor in 1999, I attended a seminar at Duke University […]

30 Days of Anti-Racism: #5 Revisionism

As we continue this survey of the tactics deployed by structural racism in resistance to institutional change, we now look at the practice of revisionism. Societies are built around common narratives. These narratives simplify, reduce, and communicate shared history in ways that provide the public with role models and an etiology for the structures of […]

30 Days of Anti-Racism: #4 Normalization

In 2001, I conducted a study of the membership, worship, growth, and demographic statistics of over 300 churches within the Southwest Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. To enhance the effectiveness of this study, I combined internal data gathered annually from each church with demographic information in the context of each local church […]

30 Days of Anti-Racism: #3 Spotlighting

Spotlighting is the practice of focusing attention on an individual, event, or action. Every organization will have a means to concentrate attention in this manner. Anti-racists must learn to develop their own means of spotlighting. Attention is influence. Influence is power. As a concentrator of attention, the spotlight can convey the currency of favor, privilege […]

30 Days of Anti-Racism: #2 Personalization

If there is one thing we know about racism – it’s that racism is deeply personal. Racism arises from within human personalities even as it dehumanizes others. Those subjected to its trauma feel the sting of being constantly defamed, excluded, and oppressed. Those indoctrinated and brainwashed into racism either accept its false-narratives and participate in […]

30 days of Anti-racism: #1 Externalization

The General Commission on Religion and Race has challenged United Methodists to spend the month of September “dismantling” racism. In response to this challenge, I will be sharing experiences from over 25 years of United Methodist Ministry that involve structural racism. I joined the UMC in 1990 as a student at the University of Texas, […]

Just Pray

Peace with Justice Sunday June 7, 2020 Has anyone ever told you to “just pray”? Telling someone who is voicing a grievance about suffering or injustice to go away and “just pray” misses the point of prayer and Christian spirituality. Crying out to seek empathy, solidarity, help, and change is the very essence of prayer. […]

Love (and loathing) in the time of coronavirus

Last Sunday, March 15, 2020, the congregation I serve registered a greater attendance of those viewing online than those present in person for worship. This did not take place because we have finally moved into studio television production or due to the amazing popularity of our ministry. We experienced a surge in online viewing due […]