“There is no power out of the church,” 19th century theologian and minister Albert Barnes wrote to white ante-bellum America, “that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.” Though Christian abolitionists were instrumental in fighting slavery, it was ended through warfare, and the American church missed its calling to enact Jesus’s radical call to peace, justice, and love. Likewise, today, privileged Christians deny their mandate and their power to address hate and oppression.
Want to talk more about how Christians, and especially white Christians, can make hate unsustainable? Consider coming out to talk with me in person this April.
Pennsylvania has more hate group activity than almost any another state. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map, 36 hate groups are currently operating in the state.
I’m heading out on a short tour from central to western PA to talk to congregations, individuals, and community groups about the current state of hate in the US today and, specifically, what people of faith can do about it. Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing the dates and details of each event. Currently, they include:
Sunday, April 7: preaching at Stahl Mennonite Church in Johnstown, PA
Monday, April 8-Thursday, April 11: leading a pastoral retreat for pastors in the Allegheny Conference of Mennonite Church USA at Camp Laurelville in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Check out the plan of events here.
Saturday, April 13, 7-8:30: A community conversation about hate, Penn State University, State College
Sunday, April 14, 3-5 pm, Peace Walk, State College
Dates for additional events in Pittsburgh and State College are forthcoming.