Race and Faith Communities
Race and religion have a long and complicated history. From the crusades to the use of religion to uphold and justify enslavement, faith has been used as a weapon as much as a balm. Our Religion or Spiritual path provides us a moral and practical foundation for our personal lives and communities. The death of George Floyd, and the unrest that has followed, challenges all of us to explore the ways racism is present in our personal lives and faith communities.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Race and Faith Communities (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- How racially/ethnically diverse is your congregation? Have you ever attended a place of worship where you were in the racial/ethnic minority? What was that experience like?
- How has your faith inspired you to respond in this moment? What are you feeling called to do? Where do you feel resistance?
- What messages have you internalized from your faith’s culture, history, and doctrine around Blackness and people of color?
- What challenges/barriers do you face in speaking up when you see anti-Blackness/racism/white supremacy in your faith community?
- What is giving you hope right now?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?