By Dolores Oliver, Fifth Friday Conversation Coordinator
“I had no idea!” That is how Fran Beck from Incarnation reacted to our chosen book The Color of Compromise by Jamar Tisby. She continued, “We cannot change something when we don't know the history.” One of dozens this past Friday, we were all affected on several levels. During my read I paused several times to asked myself, “What would I have done?” As Christians devoted to Jesus, we all hope we would stand for righteousness. But when choices impact us, especially by our faith community, how willing are we to be part of the solution? Or would we compromise?
Tisby walked us through the colonial, revolution, antebellum, Civil War eras through today. David Ketter from Church of the Savior in Ambridge, felt our time together was, “a moment when people encounter the truth and hear it together. That was a beautiful thing to see.” Our brothers and sisters in Christ believed that black and brown brothers and sisters were 3/5 a person, instead of human beings made in God’s image. It was crushing. And we continue to do so. The church denied our black and brown brothers and sisters their opportunities. Opportunities to be all God wanted for them. The church has compromised.
I learned that Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield were slave holders. I felt as though I was overreacting on an icy road. Whitefield petitioned the Georgian colony, who had outlawed slavery, to remove the prohibition. He wanted to use slaves to fund his Bethesda Orphanage. Northern churches participated in keeping African Americans from living in their neighborhoods. It was hurtful to learn that.
What is the intention of this Conversation? Our intention is to stimulate conversation, understanding, and to encourage each other. How can each member in each congregation be One in Christ regardless of our ethnic background or nationality? Each month with five Fridays, we gather, currently through Zoom, from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. We process and consider how we as a diocese can be One in Christ. The conversations are live streamed on Facebook or recorded and uploaded to the diocesan social media platforms. It is the intention to rotate from non-fiction to fiction. Beloved by Toni Morrison is the chosen book for our next Conversation. Please join us on Friday, October 30 at 7:00 pm. RSVP's are required to deliver the zoom information securely.