Every moment, we have a decision whether to create more inclusion, diversity, equity, and antiracism or less. It is our hope that the conversation within The Unfinished Church podcast informs and inspires action.
The six-episode themes are rooted in action: Respecting Differences, Examining Our Perceptions, Choosing a Path Forward, Seeking Relationships, Listening for Understanding, and Growing in Cultural Humility. They are connected to six actions for being and building
beloved Community. These six actions provide opportunities for us to journey together, grow our capacity to love well, truly see, honor, and respect the divine in one another, and to build
Beloved Community with great intention.
The work of building an inclusive, diverse, equitable, beloved community that promotes antiracism as a part of our discipleship is essential. These six actions are not partisan but are a way for us to live out the Great Commission and Great Commandment of Jesus Christ. They are an invitation to daily practice the unconditional and powerful love of God.
Together, we desire to grow a heart set, mindset, and skill-set that allows us to better build bridges, heal divisions and participate in holy reconciliation.
Respecting Different Forms of Expression
Respecting different forms of expression requires an understanding that we may not really know all that is going on. Our baptism vows unite us, across time, age, nationality, and ethnicity with all believers as we pledge (or reaffirm) “to accept the freedom and power God gives you (us) to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
Examining Our Own Assumptions
As we examine our own assumptions and perceptions so that we might avoid projecting our cultural values onto others, it is important that we recognize and affirm the image of God in one another. Our assessment and judgment of people who don’t look, think, move, or act like us happen unintentionally as we project our cultural values onto others and when we forget our interrelatedness. We must examine our own assumptions and perceptions and engage in bias-reducing actions to build healthy, intercultural relationships to truly honor each creation as worthy, equal, and sacred.
Assuming Positive Intent as we Choose a Path Forward
God’s grace prepares, redeems, and continually restores us to be the people God has created to be within the common community that God aspires for all. This amazing grace (unmerited favor) is extended to all and we are called to extend this grace to one another in mutual trust and commitment. We assume positive intent as we are all moving onto perfection because of who God is and in so doing can serve as channels of God’s grace to co-create the Beloved Community.
Listening for Understanding
“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” The practice of listening for understanding — with the understanding that agreement is optional — fosters a climate of faithful inquiry, grounded in an abiding respect for each person’s dignity. Beloved Community requires our whole and authentic selves to listen [pay attention] for understanding because agreement is optional.
As we seek authentic relationships with one another – especially across lines of difference – we must grow in our capacity to fulfill the Great Commandment: to love God and neighbor as Jesus did. We are an interrelated people created by and in the image of the Creator of the Universe. We seek relationships not as a transaction for what we can give others and what they can give us – but as a mutually transformational opportunity.
Exercising Cultural Humility
We are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God (cf. Micah 6:8). When performed holistically, this active, loving posture of humility compels us to dismantle systems of oppression — including racism — so that all may be free. This requires us to exercise cultural humility with an awareness that our world is just one model of reality.
The Unfinished Church is a new place for conversation, learning, encouragement, accountability, and transformation through connection. It’s time to move beyond comfort zones and comfortable conversations that do not lead to transformation, reconciliation, and truth-telling. It’s time to work for the liberation of God’s people.
We invite you to listen and lend your voice to this essential and on-going conversation.