Normally each summer, I’m leading a stateside mission with 35 college students and 15 Cru staff in Ocean City, Maryland. This year, COVID-19 changed all that, and one of the many reasons I’m grieved not to be in OCMD is missing out on our weekly “working dinner.”
A working dinner is a time each week to enjoy a meal together as an entire mission while discussing a specific topic related to Christianity, life, missions, etc. And my favorite subject matter each year has to be the conversation about racial unity.
There are a series of questions we give to each discussion group, and last year I had the honor to work on those questions with a fellow staff member and ethnic minority working in Brooklyn, NY, Chris Pun. Chris was extremely helpful and gracious with me as we crafted our group discussion questions for the students to work through over dinner, and the resulting large group dialogue last year was as exciting as it was heartbreaking. I’m so thankful for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ of color who are gracious enough to put up with my ignorance and bumbling questions in pursuit of racial unity. You rule, Chris.
In light of the fact that these questions aren’t going to be discussed at the working dinner on summer mission this year, I thought they might be a good resource to post publicly because of our current cultural moment in the United States. Feel free to share these in any small or large group discussion you might be having digitally right now, and please lean into the conversation with a humble and listening heart, knowing full-well that this is an incredibly complex topic. Here are the questions:
What Scriptures talk about God’s heart for diversity? Give some examples.
How well are people of color represented on your campus? In your Christian movement? What are the demographics, roughly?
How do you think you can practically stretch yourself in the area of cultural awareness and sensitivity? Why is this important?
Share some obstacles that prevent or make it difficult for someone to engage with a different culture. Discuss stereotypes, ideologies, biases, barriers, systems, etc.
Read Genesis 1:26-28, 31. If this passage is true, given racial tensions and inequality, how should this passage effect our thinking and actions? Give an example in American history when oppressors have not applied this passage.
If all people are created in the image of God, how can we as Christians address systemic racism, racial reconciliation, ethnic diversity, and justice for people of other ethnic groups?
If God’s heart is for all people and nations to know him, how often do you intentionally make yourself aware of the cultural differences on your campus? Why should you?
For further biblical study, see: Genesis 1, Exodus (birth of Moses), Matthew 28, John 4, Galatians 2, Ephesians 2 (Jesus as peace and dividing wall of hostility), John 1:46, Isaiah 53, Acts 8, 10, Jonah.