Lunch Conversations

Diverse Unity, Racial Justice, and Matthew 24:14

Chris Beard, Peoples Church

Jesus paid with his blood for a church of every tribe, tongue, and language (Rev 5:9). For the past two decades at Peoples Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, we have attempted to create church in this way through ethno-diverse missional teams. When the local church lives this out, individuals and societies experience more fully this gospel of the kingdom.

Is the Bible a “White Man’s” Book?

Clifton Clarke, William E. Pannell Center at Fuller Seminary

What is the relationship between the Bible and race? How does our understanding of racial identity and experience of racism inform and shape our biblical tradition and hermeneutic? In this “table talk” we will explore how the Bible has been co-opted into the project of “whiteness” and “white theology” as the highest and noblest ideal for theological thought and Christian practice.

Another World Is Possible! Or Is It?

Grace R. Dyrness, Institute for Transnational Research and Development
Oscar García-Johnson, Centro Latino at Fuller Seminary

This will be a conversation about resistance to a way of social organization that pits us against one another in xenophobic and other ways. Do we have to conform to the way things are, or does Jesus offer us another model of subverting the racialized status quo? We will look at models in other parts of the world (such as the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas, Mexico) that might provide us with ideas for a way forward—one that is built on community and a desire to uplift one another so that we all can flourish.

Christian Witness in the Age of Religious Pluralism

Mathew John, The Mosaic Course

Jesus is the only way to God. But can there be more than one way to Jesus? This session will explore redemptive revelations in major living religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Judaism) and propose methodologies for facilitating culturally sensitive communication of the gospel with people of other races, ethnicities, religious beliefs, and worldview assumptions.

From Missionaries to Indigenous Leadership: Racial Tensions?

Sebastian Kim, Korean Studies Center at Fuller Seminary

Leadership transition in mission fields can be a contentious issue. Missionaries are often involved in pioneering work like establishing churches, educational institutions, hospitals, and Christian NGOs. The timing and mode of the transition of leadership of these organizations involves more than management and leadership issues. Racial prejudice is an important contributing factor in the process and can create conflict and division. In this conversation, I shall briefly analyze some historical examples of both Catholic and Protestant missionaries in Korea from a race perspective, and also contemporary cases of Korean missionaries overseas. Participants can then share their theological and missiological views on the topic.

Race and Asian American Christians

Daniel D. Lee, Center for Asian American Theology at Fuller Seminary

Where do Asian Americans fit into race discussions that are often framed using a black-white binary paradigm? How are Asian Americans victims and perpetrators of racism? How have Asian American churches dealt with racism and how can they do better? How do these issues about race connect to discipleship and ministry among Asian Americans? These are some of the questions we will be discussing with an eye toward praxis and mission.

Race and Place: Overcoming Geographies of Division

David Leong, School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University

Many of the structures in our daily lives, especially in cities, are designed to keep us apart from those we deem “different.” How can we better understand these patterns of urban geography? This conversation will focus on the realities of race and place in our neighborhoods and the opportunities we have to cultivate communities of belonging.

Developing Prophetic Communities in Troubling Times

Janna Louie, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students

What forces contribute to Christian ministers’ silence about hostile realities in the United States? What questions should the North American church ask about the good news of Jesus amidst our present sociopolitical reality of racism? From the Pew Research Center’s statistics to recent years in U.S. history, it is apparent that ministers of this generation are challenged to engage historical realities differently. Join a discussion about how ministers may guide prophetic communities to faithfully engage society for the long haul.

Why Are We Still Struggling With Racism?

Duane Loynes Sr., Rhodes College

After the election of Barack Obama in 2008, some pundits opined that America had finally reached a "post-racial" status where we could move forward as a nation away from the racial failures of our past. Nine years later, periodic conflagrations remind us of the embedded reality of racism. In this panel, we will discuss why racism remains a problem in our nation and in the church.

Redeeming Christian Mission from Its Race-Conquest Capture: The Suppressed Story of African Christianity

Bishop Zac Niringiye, The Institute of Religion, Faith, and Culture in Public Life

It is now acknowledged that historic Christian mission is inextricably grounded in a conquest paradigm. Africa was the theater of this race-conquest drama, from the “discovery” missions of the 15th century through the celebrated “great century” of Christian missions. It is also arguable that the “great century” is a Eurocentric narrative, through Caucasian-supremacist lenses. Understandably, the latter has dominated Christian mission historiography of African Christianity. I submit that the real strength in African Christianity is the subversion of this Caucasian-conquest narrative in the lived stories of faith of the conquered and vanquished: African evangelists, African-led revivals, African-initiated churches, and African slaves.

Chinese Racial/Cultural Elitism: Its Role in Contextualizing Christian Faith in Mainland China

Diane Obenchain, The China Initiative at Fuller Seminary

First, we shall examine a general sense of Chinese racial/cultural “superiority,” which for millennia has shaped China’s (and consequently other China-influenced people/cultures’) discernment of non-Chinese peoples/cultures as “inferior.” From this general perspective, Chinese leaders today, as they have historically, insist that Christian faith is entirely a Western ethnic/cultural phenomenon for which China has no need. In this context, we will consider four aspects of how Chinese racial/cultural elitism affects contextualization of Christian faith: (1) Confucian leadership elitism and the role of government with regard to all religious practice in China, (2) Han ethnic elitism in relation to China’s minorities, many of which are Christian, (3) urban Christian elites in relation to rural Christian immigrants who now populate China’s leading cities, and (4) the irony that Chinese Christians believe their church is “closer,” both historical and geographically, to “original and, therefore, true” Christianity than any cultural expression of Christian faith.

For Such a Xenophobic Time as This

Daniel Ramírez, Claremont Graduate University

The current outcry over the United States’ treatment of its young non-citizens throws into sharp relief churches’ need to prophetically champion and pastorally engage the racialized (and criminalized) sojourner. What can the history of missions tell us? The Anglo-American missions project of the 19th and 20th centuries—both mainline and Pentecostal—entailed love and condescension toward people of Hispanic Catholic background. Can the black church’s and Latino apostolic experience of autonomy—versus dependency—serve as a model for the Latino church? How might the early practices (hermeneutics, homiletics, music, etc.) of Methodism and Pentecostalism serve as resources for effective reconciling solidarity?

The Call to Welcome the Stranger at this Historic Moment: Bad News and Good News

Alexia Salvatierra, Faith-Rooted Organizing

This session will lay out the challenges in welcoming the stranger at this historic moment and the various current responses of the church. We will have the opportunity to tackle some of the theological and practical dilemmas, clarify points of entry for effective involvement, and enter into creative brainstorming. The presentation will cover the sanctuary and Matthew 25 movements.

The Need for Moral Courage in Addressing Racial Conciliation in Missions at Home and Abroad

Gabe Veas, LA Urban Educators Collaborative

Due in part to technological advances, as globalization is now well underway, countries around the world are looking at the United States to see how we address issues of conciliation. As a global superpower with incredible wealth, we are in a unique position to continue to spread the message of Jesus via evangelism, teaching, missionary work, and service. Going into other regions to discuss controversial topics such as China’s human rights violations is one thing, but to not adequately address areas that have plagued America such as racial conciliation is quite another.

White Silence, White Violence: Exploring the Mission of Evangelical Christianity in an Era of Trump

Daniel White Hodge

In this time, we will go into what it means to be Christian, evangelical, missional, and “woke” in a time when black lives don’t matter, black and Latinx bodies seem to be expendable, and we have erased many of the advancements of the Civil Rights generation. What does it then mean to be “Christian,” woke, and still be part of your race? Lastly, what is the missional cost of white silence in the face of racialized violence?

Practical Reconciliation

John Williams, Fellowship Monrovia

Practical reconciliation is reconciliation that moves beyond racial representation. The aim of practical reconciliation is to create a gospel centered environment that leads to active engagement in difficult conversations over a period of time that results in individual and systemic reconciliation. Located in Monrovia, California, Fellowship Monrovia is a gospel-centered, multiethnic, Intergenerational church that was founded in part out of this commitment, and we have been working missionally toward this vision for the last five years. Highlights of our journey will be presented, with opportunities and challenges noted, for other churches that might be looking to implement such a vision as part of their ministry and mission.

(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182