I Am Developing a Digital Hub for Conversations About Race, Culture & Christianity — Here’s Why

In a previous post, I wrote about how an experience I had a few years ago illustrated the need for diversity and racial sensitivity in the media and in newsrooms.

I made a case for why I feel there is a place for an inclusive publication (my publication) that centers the voices and experiences of minority and marginalized Christians. The feedback I received from about a dozen Christians of color confirmed the desire for more options in Christian media.

“I’m also hoping Faithfully Magazine can serve as a bridge builder of sorts,” I wrote at the time, “by being a platform that helps make it easier for Christians of different traditions, ethnicities and values to actually talk with each and not so much at each other.”

A month later, I’ve pivoted a bit, realizing after looking a little deeper— and keeping in mind what I’ve learned from Christians of color about their engagement with the media — that FaithfullyMagazine.com should do more than try to level the playing field.

Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. noted many times during the civil rights movement the “tragedy” of segregation in U.S. churches. Nearly 50 years after his assassination, not much has changed.

A clip from a 1960 “Meet The Press” interview with Martin Luther King Jr. in which he church segregation.

Today, 70–75 percent of Americans identify as Christians, and are at odds about nearly everything, including segregation. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of the 300,000-plus churches in the United States are composed of a single ethnic group.

Two churches, one mostly-black and the other white, choose to occasionally worship together (Story: https://oaklandnorth.net/2012/02/15/sunday-morning-our-countrys-most-segregated-hour-unites-people-in-oakland/).

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant Christian group in the U.S. (15.7 million), was created due to its pro-slavery stance. Specifically, northern Baptists did not want to appoint slave-holding southern believers as missionaries.

It wasn’t until 1995, 150 years after its founding, that the SBC decided to officially “denounce racism, in all its forms” and “lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery.” It also acknowledged how Southern Baptists rejected “legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans” during the 1960s. However, the Southern Baptist Convention, which elected its first black president four years ago, remains one of the least diverse Christian groups in the U.S. (not counting historically black church movements initially barred from white congregations).

Now we have the Black Lives Matter movement, which some believe has ushered in a new civil rights era.

In addition to revealing just how intensely at odds Americans remain on matters of race/racism/racial justice, the Black Lives Matter movement has stirred some to acknowledge, perhaps in ways they have not before, how the nation’s ugly past continues to adversely affect our churches, schools, newsrooms, political parties, justice system, police departments, etc.

As with slavery and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, this new movement has Christians grappling once more about the roles they should play and whether they should stand either on this or that side of history.

As a journalist, as a black woman, as an American, and as a Christian, I ask myself the same questions. I want to capture, facilitate and contribute to the conversations about race and faith that will empower Christians to move toward greater unity.

The previous tagline for FaithfullyMagazine.com was “news, culture & Christianity.”

I’ve scratched out “news” and am working on making Faithfully Magazine the digital hub for conversations about the intersection of race, culture & Christianity.

There is also a podcast in the works, that will feature myself and two other co-hosts in conversation with theologians, activists, students, thinkers, authors, pastors, entertainers, and many others about race, culture and faith.

Hopefully, it does not take another 50 years for Martin Luther King, Jr’s oft-referenced quote about 11 o’clock on Sunday mornings to finally become irrelevant.

UPDATE (04/01/2016): Faithfully Podcast has launched: https://soundcloud.com/faithfullymagazine

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