When the Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) promote a project titled “One Church, One Book,” what do you think the book would be?
Might you think it was the Bible?
What if it was described this way:
“Our hope is that it would start conversations. But it’s not just about reading the book. My hope is that we would be somewhat changed.” Jan Edmiston, Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly (2016)
Still think it’s the Bible? You’d be wrong.
The recommended book the highest ranking elected leaders of the PCUSA hope might change us it not the Bible. Edmiston, along with Co-Moderator Denise Anderson, is instead encouraging Presbyterians to read the book Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving.
The PCUSA Co-Moderators are promoting their “One Church, One Book,” project, inviting the denomination to “join them in a literary journey on race.”
This book, not the book you thought but Waking Up White should be read by Presbyterians anywhere they gather together, which may include pastor support groups, church school classes, book clubs or even … Bible studies. That’s right. The call is not to study the Bible in Bible study but this other book, vaunted as the one book for the one church.
The “One Church, One Book” web site includes a four-week study guide and a video series by the co-moderators that will be posted soon.
Each of the four study guide sessions includes a quote from the Bible, along with a quote from the Confession of Belhar and two or three quotes from Waking Up White. It then includes a list of questions about race and racism.
One wonders how a four-week study (or longer) of the Bible might affect our opinions on race and racism?
Carmen LaBerge, President of the Presbyterian Lay Committee said that her four week Bible study on the subject would run “From Genesis to Revelation. You can’t start with the Imago Dei and end with representatives of every tribe and tongue bowing down to Christ the King and not get that people are people in the eyes of God. We are equally created in His image, equal in the totality of our depravity, equal at the foot of the cross, and equal before the throne.”
When asked to sketch out what a four week study might look like, LaBerge offered this outline:
- A confrontation of worldview: Racism is absolutely fine if the Bible is not True. Equality in Creation and at the foot of the Cross.
- A confrontation of the individual conscience wandering around with Jesus and then witnessing the expansion of the offer of salvation beyond the Jews to Gentiles. Facing that we’re all racist because we’re all sinners and we see that in others even if we like to deny it about ourselves.
- Philemon as God’s blueprint for reconciliation within the household of God
- A vision from the other side of eternity: seeing one another as eternal siblings, co-heirs of the Kingdom, children of the King.
Concluding, LaBerge added, “If I had four weeks to open the Book with believers on the subject of racial reconciliation, that’s where I’d turn.”
See related article: One Church, One Book” aims to jumpstart discussions about race
Any discussion on race in the PCUSA begins and ends in three presuppositions that are accepted a truth in the entity. One, that apart from any other reason or causality, police and public safety represent the most lethal and deadly aspect of life in the urban core and young black males. Two, That all aspects of American life and culture, from the church to the courts, to the justice system is by definition racist against people of color. Three, that all people are color have been victimized by white establishment and people, and that the only acceptable remedy is a sense of white guilt, apology, followed by some form or reparations. And its on that basis, and that basis alone does discussion happen in the PCUSA.
I would remind the co-moderators that collectivist socialism sort of went out of favor with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. One church, one book is a bit comical, even for them. Also they are under the illusion that the PCUSA is some important, national, global entity and people really listen to what they have to say. The facts are is the PCUSA is a small, and getting smaller leftist religious entity. By their own metrics, they already accept they will lose over 150-200K members in 2016, and over 400-500K in 4 years. And that’s their estimates. Please, if they assume the curious mix of collectivist white guilt and apology narratives will advance the cause of racial health or even foster discussion. How that is that working out so far?
I guess you missed the part in the introduction to the idea that this was “after the Bible, of course.” Why would you ignore that and publish this incendiary stuff?
One Church One Book One Opinion Seems like the more progressive we get the narrower the lane we travel in. One Book, seriously?