Cumberland's Statement on Racism

The Unbiased Gospel

At some point, we must admit the prejudices we hold are not from God. We filter God’s love through our own preferences, and then try to offer it to others. The true gospel must be preserved, by a church that offers it as freely as she has received it.

The following resources have been gathered to provide awareness, offer encouragement, and inspire action in the direction of racial reconciliation. We understand that with such a broad array of content, Cumberland cannot definitively endorse this collection. We acknowledge that some content may not be faith-based, and we dare not offer them as a substitute for God’s word. Nevertheless, we recognize that the issues surrounding these racial tensions are historical as much as they are theological. Therefore, we hope to provide appropriate attention in both regards.

Our intent is to connect with people wherever they might stand on these issues, and to encourage movement in a  direction towards unity. May these resources assist you in your own longing for racial harmony.

Where Am I on this Journey?

PeaceHeader

Uncertain about the Issues 

“Is this really something we should be discussing?”

Curious about the Causes 

“I know something is wrong, but I don’t really understand what or how we got here.”

Advocate for Others 

“How can I continue to practice love beyond my own cultural experience?”

Open to Change 

“I’ve seen the problems, and I understand there have been injustices, but what do I do?”

Cautious about the Solution

“I have voiced concerns in the past, only to meet dismissive resistance. I’m willing to take steps forward - but how did their hang-ups become my responsibility?”

Eager for Change

“We must address these problems together. What responsibility should I take in helping to educate those who have a different experience?”

Hurt from the Reality

“My experiences are too hurtful to ignore, and it’s difficult to build relationships beyond those offenses. How can I get past the pain?” 

Why won’t people acknowledge my pain?

I am…

Uncertain about the Issues 

“Is this really something we should be discussing?”

Or

Hurt from the Reality

Why won’t people acknowledge my pain?

The distance between perspectives

The distance between perspectives on these issues of race emerges from our tendency to paint history through the lens of our personal experience. The reality is that we have one, shared American history - for better or for worse. And the only way we can come to the same conclusions about what is happening today is if we view what happened yesterday in truth. This sharp gaze into the mirror is not about guilt or condemnation, it’s about applying the hope of the gospel specifically to the issues at hand. If we really want to find a solution, then we have to be willing to start with the problem.

Videos

Articles

Books

  • “Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope” by Jasmine Holmes

Additional resources:

I am…

Curious about the Cause 

“I know something is wrong, but I don’t really understand what or how we got here.”

Or

Cautious about the Solution

“I’m willing to take steps forward - but only after others own their responsibility for the problem.”

Things are not the way they should be.

At some point, we have to acknowledge that things are not the way they should be concerning race relations. Even if we agree about our past, we still need to reconcile its implications for today. Our faith informs us that not only is the world broken, but more specifically, we broke it. And even when our intentions are good, our fallen nature continues to impede God’s desire for humanity. Obviously, the problems won’t fix themselves. But if we continue to ignore them, then we’ll have to own responsibility for allowing the tensions to become worse. 

Videos

Articles

Books

Additional resources:

I am…

Open to Change 

“I’ve seen the problems, and I understand there have been injustices, but what do I do?”

Or

Eager for Change

“Haven’t we all had enough of these injustices? Why isn’t everyone taking personal responsibility to eliminate racism for good?”

What is required of us?

Change requires the courage to act. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to arrive at the courage that is needed. And whether it is compassion for the oppressed or frustration with the oppressors, the desire for change provides a point of agreement for all who are willing to acknowledge the real problem. If we can get past the temptation to demonize each other, then we can unite to fight against the true enemy - racism.

Videos

Articles

Books

Additional Resources:

I will…

Advocate for Others 

“How can I continue to practice love beyond my own cultural experience - FOR those who are hurting, WITH those who long for justice, and TO those who oppose?”

God’s heart for humanity

As we capture God’s heart for humanity, it becomes clear that He is for us, not against us. Our challenge seems to lie in broadening our definition of “US”. We must continuously dismantle the walls of division - visible and invisible - to experience the harmony promised by the gospel. This requires active participation, humble self-assessment, and a conviction to love unconditionally. 

Videos

Articles

Books

Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign's Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement by Justin Giboney, Michael Wear, and Chris Butler

Additional resources:

If you have questions about the statement or recommendations on additional resources, email us.