Prejudice, Power & Reconciliation: A Sacred Conversation on Race LEADERS COPY

Prejudice, Power & Reconciliation: A Sacred Conversation on Race LEADERS COPY

A Confessional Workshop
October 2008

Description:  “We claim God’s radical inclusivity.  Where do we stand?  How are we agents for God’s peace, justice and reconciliation with our neighbors near at hand and around the world?”        (Paul’s “what can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus?”)


  • handouts
  • 50 copies:  “Be a Global Mission Church” – copy for each participant
  • PPT:  Michael Briggs, Aboriginals
  • Micah Challenge CD
  • Paper and pencils for small group secretaries
  • Whiteboard and pens (or newsprint)
  • “The Learning Spirit” with “Thandiwe goes to School” marked


  • Turn on ppt
  • Hand out “Be a Global Mission Church”


Prayer: Read in unison: Page 5 in “Be a Global Mission Church”

Scripture:  Today we are hoping to teach and learn, so we are going to share the scripture about “educating” in the booklet, “Be a Global Mission Church.”  Read Romans 12:2 on page 18 of “Be a Global Mission Church”

Hand out Agenda

Welcome and Review Workshop Goals:

  1. Identify an area of prejudice in your personal life.
  2. Identify an area of prejudice in your community.
  3. Identify an area of prejudice in the wider world.
  4. Considering the prejudice you hold and work to overcome the hurdle(s) you face.
  5. Identify an element of the power you hold to make a difference.
  6. Identify tools that are accessible:  prayer, community, experience of others (printed, etc)

(slide 1)  Prejudice, Power & Reconciliation Workshop

I.  Opening

  Introductions: (first name and church) – in circle

II.   Questions in pairs:  Stand up.  Get a partner! Introduce yourselves.

  Fill in the blanks… (2 mins)

  1. When I think of “the other” in my community, I think of…
  2. Prejudice manifests itself in my world by/through…
  3. Someone who inspires me as an example of a reconciler is…
  4. When I hear the phrase, “God’s radical inclusivity” I think…
  5. I feel my church is an agent for peace and reconciliation because…

All sit.

Proceed with PowerPoint…

Slide #2  What do you see?  Who do you see?  

What would you guess this person does?  What would you guess his education level is?

  This is a college graduate.  A minister  —  Michael Briggs
  A vegetarian who gets around on an electric bike. 

Slide #3  What do you see?  Who do you see?   Where does he live?

  What would you guess this person does?  What would you guess his education level is?
                         –  Sudanese refugee, Christian, living in Australia

Slide #4  What do you see?  Who do you see? 

  What would you guess this person does?  What would you guess his education level is?
  –  a film actor   –An Australian 

Slide #5  What do you see?  Who do you see?

– What would you guess these people do?  What would you guess their education level is?
– a group of Christian Australians
– a minister
– an Australian knighted by Queen Elizabeth – Doug Nichols

Summary:  What assumptions do we make?  Whom do we exclude?  What pre-judgments do we make, based on external information?  That is prejudice.

Slide #6  Let us share a bit from Australia, where Tod and I were recently serving Global Ministries for 4 ½ years.  The 4 slides you have just seen are from this context, too…

            Australia…a land down under, a continent set apart.  The home of our partner churches, the Churches of Christ and the Uniting Church of Australia. 

Slide #7 Early European settlers arriving in the late 1700s declared Australia “terra-nullis,” a land devoid of people. “Terra-nullis, a land devoid of people?  

Slide #8  Those first Europeans, and much of Australia’s subsequent history, conveniently ignored the indigenous population who inhabited the country from coast to coast, north to south, east to west, and even the island of Tasmania. 

Slide #9  What did they see?  Who did they see?

Slide #10  Over the years, as European colonists and the indigenous people competed for the same limited resources, misunderstandings occurred,  injuries inflicted, conflict erupted. 

Slide #11 The European settlers, invaders to the indigenous folk, declared “open season” on the natives of Australia.  On the island of Tasmania, the native population, considered little more than animals, was exterminated.  

Slide #12  On the mainland, the native people retreated into the dry, desert interior, the Outback, and sought refuge there. 

Slide #13  Warfare between indigenous and colonist continued, but the outcome was a foregone conclusion.  Although the indigenous people of Australia knew how to survive the continent’s extreme conditions; without the weapons of an industrial society their subjugation by European colonists was certain.

Slide #14  Europeans eventually, grudgingly, acknowledged the presence and humanity of the original Australians, but,

Slide #15  they lumped them all together, with their hundreds of languages and variety of cultural practices, and called them by one name, “Aborigines.”  

Slide #16  Aborigines would not be recognized as citizens of Australia until 1967!  The fortieth anniversary of that referendum was observed last year. 

Slide # 17  Australia, a land of wealth and prosperity.  Yet with

Slide #18   an indigenous population suffering from prejudice and racism, facing illiteracy and unemployment. 

Slide #19  Facing a serious health crisis manifested in high infant mortality and below national-average life expectancy.

Slide #20   For such a sunny continent, a sunburnt land as it has been called; this is a tragically dark side of the Australian story.  

[Slide #21 (black):  Stop at this point in PowerPoint.  Leave on Black screen – to return to later.]

B.  Need:  to acknowledge prejudice  – personal and corporate;

Willingness to name, claim and address our own fears and racism/prejudice. 
Our silence is complicity.  I grew up thinking I wasn’t supposed to be prejudice, rather than learn to face my prejudices and transcend them.

Example:  Thandiwe goes to school  (read up to point of saying “no”.) p.44-45

C.  Living with our own  prejudice — pre-judgement.

  It’s the way we make “sense” of our world, but sometimes it gets us in trouble, especially when it comes to groups of people.
(Bucky’s explanation:  One exception breaks the rule!  If there is one exception, there is no rule.  Generalizations minimize exceptions.)

D.  What does the Bible say about prejudice, making pre-judgements?

What does Jesus say? 
-Good Samaritan  (Who would it be today?  Mick Briggs?  An aboriginal?)
The Great Commandment…What is it?  (Luke 10:27); Why is it great?  Because it is so hard to “love our neighbour.”  Jesus knew this!  (Luke 10:25-37)

E.  Why is it so hard to truly love our neighbour? 

(in pairs)

  • What are the hurdles I/we need to overcome to rise above our own racism/ prejudice? 
  • What fears provide the foundation for racism/prejudice?

(then call out to plenary)

IV.  Overcoming/transcending our own prejudices/racism

  A.  Complete “Thandiwe goes to School” story (p. 44-45)

[Put next PPT slide up, #22– Thandiwe in school uniform. ]

   B.  Tools to address/overcome racism/prejudice/fear:

1.  Brainstorm in small groups (3-4)  [Put in Micah DVD]

2.  Share in plenary – each group share one – list on whiteboard

  • Prayer
  • Community:  groups; neighbours; church; mentors; traditions
  • Resources:   books, magazines, DVD’s
  • Workshops
  • We are not alone.
  • God intends for us to be in community.


V.  Moving into Action

A.  Willingness to follow up with action – move toward personal/group change

1.  View:  Micah Challenge Video “Feature Movie:  Make Poverty History   Campaign”  (from Australia)  (4 minutes long)


  1. What do you think is the primary message of this film?
  (You can make a difference! Or, There is a Bible mandate to act!

  2. How can one person make a difference, according to the video?

  • Activism
  • Consumer changes
  • Overcome apathy


B.  Little things are important

In Pairs: What actions can we/you/I take to transcend our fears/racism/prejudice?

D.  Willingness to advocate for social change
– move toward dismantling systemic racism.
PLENARY: What actions can we/you/I take to address and change systemic racism?
Big changes are important – laws, social behaviors/norms

SLIDE:  Sorry written in sky
      Example:  Federal apology in Australia on 13 February 2008

VI.  Plenary:         

  Read: Have someone else read  (p. 21, “Be a Global Miss Church”) Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  “It is easier to fight for your principles than to live up to them…”  Alfred Adler

VIII.  Closing

A. Word of Thanks

B. page 18 in “Be a Global Mission Church”   — Micah 6:8

“What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” 

C. Prayer:  page 24 in “Be a Global Mission Church”

Have each person read a dot-point item; go around circle