It’s Bias That Hobbles People of Color, Not Lack of a Leadership Pipeline

It’s Bias That Hobbles People of Color, Not Lack of a Leadership Pipeline

August 11, 2020 By dwayman

In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, researchers Frances Kunreuther and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, discovered that it is not the lack of training that is limiting people of color from top positions in the non-profit world, but rather racial bias.  This challenges the thinking and action of many organizations working to bring people of color into top positions.  They write in part:

“Why are there so few leaders of color in nonprofit organizations?

It’s because of a persistent bias in the nonprofit world that systematically weeds out qualified candidates of color, we found in a study of more than 4,000 people — not a lack of aspiring leaders ready for the job, as is commonly assumed.

Despite years of deliberating the question of diversity, little has changed. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and other racial and ethnic minorities still fill fewer than 20 percent of nonprofit executive-director positions, a figure that hasn’t budged for more than a decade.

Whether you look at the 2006 CompassPoint/Meyer Foundation study “Daring to Lead,”which showed 17 percent of the top leaders are people of color, or BoardSource’s 2015 “Leading With Intent” report, which put the figure at only 11 percent, it is clear that nonprofit leaders too seldom reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

To better understand this racial leadership gap, we not only surveyed people from across the nonprofit landscape but also conducted focus groups and more than three dozen interviews with nonprofit and foundation leaders as well as management experts to hear their views of the barriers people of color face.

Charles Wesley’s Hymns Refute the Calvinist Doctrine of Limited Atonement

Charles Wesley’s Hymns Refute the Calvinist Doctrine of Limited Atonement

August 9, 2020 By dwayman

 

 

“Ye Need Not One Be Left Behind/For God Hath Bidden All Mankind”:

Charles Wesley’s Response to the Doctrine of Limited Atonement

Charles Edward White

Spring Arbor University

 

When John Wesley collected his brother’s hymns for the use of the people called Methodists, he opened the book with his brother’s birthday anthem, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.  This song serves as an overture for the hymnal, introducing many of the characteristic themes of Methodist belief.  Beginning with overwhelming gratitude and praise for Father and Son, it quickly moves to the proper human response of spreading God’s honor throughout the world.  The intense personal experience of forgiveness, liberty, and cleansing comes next and then the declaration that all is of grace by faith fills out the first six verses.  With verse six, however, Charles subtly moves from proclamation to argumentation.  It is not by accident that against his Roman Catholic opponents he sings, “Look and be saved by grace alone/Be justified by faith.”[1]  Nor is the message of verse seven any less controversial:

See all your sins on Jesus laid:

The Lamb of God was slain,

His soul was once an offering made

For every soul of man.[2]

With the introduction of the word “every” Charles arguably fires the first shot in a battle against Calvinism that will rage for the rest of his life.

Our Bodies are Evil: The Heresy of Gnosticism and Purity Culture Today

Our Bodies are Evil: The Heresy of Gnosticism and Purity Culture Today

July 20, 2020 By dwayman

In a desire to provide guidance to our children, Christian parents and churches can create an unhealthy, unbiblical and even heretical culture.  In this study by recent Greenville University graduate and St. Paul’s Free Methodist Church assistant pastor Kait Mathews, we are invited to give a thoughtful consideration of the theological heresy and psychological trauma.  Presented on July the 19th, 2020 here is Pastor Mathews’ work:

“As the Gospel began to circulate through the Roman world in the first century, the ancient heresy of Gnosticism was one of the earliest to infiltrate the Church. The word Gnosticism originates from the Greek word gnosis which means knowledge. The Gnostics believed that there was a secret knowledge that was exclusive to those with a true understanding, which then would lead to the salvation of the soul. This spiritual salvation was superior to the Gnostics, because they saw the human spirit as naturally good, but imprisoned in the body which was naturally evil. Thus, the goal of the Gnostics was to free the spirit from the person embodying it and that was only possible with the mysterious knowledge of the “true understanding” that they possessed. The split between spirit and body led the Gnostics to distort the early church’s cognizance of who Jesus was. Gnostics envisioned Jesus as the messenger of the “true understanding” and they didn’t think that Jesus was fully man. Rather, His body just seemed to be human. This is also known as the heresy of Docetism. This seemingly human Jesus is a denial of the Christian doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus as fully man and fully God.1  I think a danger in reading our passage from Romans today is that we might get the impression that Paul is trying to teach Gnosticism.

Repudiating Any and All Forms of White-Supremacy

Repudiating Any and All Forms of White-Supremacy

June 17, 2020 By dwayman

Bishop Emeritus David Kendall

Making clear and informed statements about racism is a necessary part of leadership.  This is true not only of those who are now leading churches, businesses and organizations, but those who influence the leaders of our world.  Free Methodist Bishop Emeritus David Kendall is one of those influencers.  Having served faithfully for many years as pastor, superintendent and Bishop, Dr. Kendall also has an earned doctorate in Biblical studies.  Writing from this wealth of experience and training, Kendall recently wrote a blog on Racism.

He says in part:

“As a follower of Jesus, I repudiate racism.  This is a matter of commitment to Jesus as Lord.  It strikes me as unthinkable that any trace of racism should lodge in my heart, mind, spirit, sentiments, tendencies, actions or reactions.  Truly.  As soon as I say/write this, though, I recall other attitudes, feelings, tendencies, responses that once lingered within me for some time before I even knew it and then remained for some additional time as I dealt with them and put them aside.  I’m talking about things that are unworthy and contrary to the way of Jesus, such as anger, envy, bitterness and unforgiveness. Likewise, there are things I once put off by the grace of God only later to resurface, sometimes worse than before.  So, I do repudiate racism, and yet I am asking what lingers in my heart that I never knew was there? 

A Neo-Free Methodism: Shadow-Work as a Model for Racial Justice

A Neo-Free Methodism: Shadow-Work as a Model for Racial Justice

May 29, 2020 By dwayman

Having the tools to heal pervasive and spiritually damaging racism requires our best thinking and practice.  In this work by Free Methodist scholar Rev. Dr. Liz Simmons, as a specialist in spiritual formation, we find a persuasive adaptation of Jungian “shadow work” to assist us in identifying and repenting from these suppressed and repressed projections.

Simmons work is stated clearly in her abstract:

“The increase of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States is on a trajectory to shift the demographic of the Church over time to majority non-white. Because of the abolitionist spirit of its genesis, Free Methodist church contexts have the historical and theological foundations to become hosts for multicultural communities and culturally engaging conversations leading to racial justice. The homogeneous demographic of many Free Methodist churches today, however, results in blindness toward privilege and resistance toward social engagement, reinforcing an insulated identity narrative.”(x)

“…this dissertation seeks to answer this question: What could it look like for white people to do their own internal work to take responsibility for their part in racial justice, particularly in majority-culture churches where the surrounding community is also majority white? First, this research recovers and analyzes the inception of the Free Methodist movement in order to understand the gap between its abolitionist beginnings and its present reality. Second, this work identifies the need for a theology of liberation in Free Methodist churches by reviewing the strengths and challenges of Liberation Theology.

Microaggresion as Chronic Abuse

Microaggresion as Chronic Abuse

May 24, 2020 By dwayman

Rev. Dr. Denny Wayman

As a pastoral counselor one of the most frustrating moments is when a person of color is being treated unjustly but the incident is either denied or claimed to be an over reaction by the person of color. These incidents are a form of abuse that have a deep and devastating effect on our brothers and sisters. It is difficult as a counselor to bring God’s healing to this pervasive disease that is pandemic in our broken world.

In this article my experience as a pastor, superintendent and counselor inform the church and Christian schools, as well as the larger culture, that these Microaggressions are actually Chronic Abuse.  I explain, in part:

“When I teach the basics of counseling to pastors, I note that there are two general types of abuse: Acute and Chronic.

To explain the difference, I will have a person place their hand on the table and I will make a knuckle of one finger and tap their hand lightly. As I continue to do so I will say, “that doesn’t hurt, does it?” Nodding in agreement, they acknowledge that each of my taps are not individually painful.

But then I ask, “What if I tapped you for the entire day we’re here in the class?” They will then have a rather anxious look to which I will say, “And what if someone did so for 15 years of your childhood?”

When the awareness sinks in that some traumas cause damage not because of any single incident but rather due to their repetition,

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Women and People of Color in Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Women and People of Color in Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition

May 22, 2020 By dwayman

As a Free Methodist Elder, the Rev. Dr. Trisha Welstad is on the Portland Seminary leadership development team at George Fox University.  In her February, 2020 dissertation Welstad provides an excellent study not only of our own Free Methodist denomination, but of our sister denominations within the Wesleyan Tradition, including the Salvation Army, Church of God Anderson, Church of the Nazarene, and the Wesleyan Church among others.

Titling her work Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Women and People of Color in Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition, Welstad explores the truth that our present churches are struggling to live out the true values of John Wesley and of B.T. Roberts.  Noting that our Five Freedoms are a “…modern representation that encompasses much of the belief of the founder, B.T. Roberts…”, Welstad explores both the current situation and recommended actions.

She says, in part:

“The majority of Wesleyan denominations began with theological belief rooted in social action, particularly as it pertained to abolition and women’s equality. Though their beginnings were radical, today the same groups are primarily homogeneous, representing a largely white congregational and leadership demographic, predominantly led by white males. With a historical theology of diversity and inclusion, this research seeks to understand why women and people of color are excluded from leadership roles in the Wesleyan Tradition and how it may affect the future of these denominations…(ix)”

Speaking of the 2019 General Conference of the FMCUSA,

EVALUATION OF NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION BIBLE ON GENDER

EVALUATION OF NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION BIBLE ON GENDER

May 15, 2020 By dwayman

In her ongoing study of the gender appropriate translations of the Bible, Dr. Laura Hunt provides this study of the New English Translation (NET) of the Bible.  Completed in 2019 the authors claim: “With the first edition completed in 2001, ongoing revisions based on scholarly and user feedback in 2003 and 2005, and a major update reaching its final stages in 2019, the NET’s unique translation process has yielded a beautiful, faithful English Bible for the worldwide church today.”

Specifically focusing on this version being a true translation without gender bias, Dr. Hunt gives this analysis.  She says, in part:

“The first thing to look at is the list of translators. I found it here, at the very end: https://bible.org/netbible/index.htm?pre.htm Note that these are exclusively men, and that Dallas Theological Seminary is heavily represented…

Next, I want to look at a series of verses that are helpful to get a sense of the translators’ gender biases. There are many options, but these are mine:

Gen 3:16: There are two issues here. The beginning of the verse says, in Hebrew, “I will greatly increase your pain and your conception/pregnancy.” Most translators combine this idea with the next line and assume that the pain referred to is specifically pain in childbirth. That is quite possible, and a hendiadys is something that Hebrew does do quite often. However, in the footnote, the translators justify their choice by saying “there is no pain in conception.” That comment could only come from an exclusively male perspective.

DOING JUSTICE IN AN UNJUST WORLD

DOING JUSTICE IN AN UNJUST WORLD

May 11, 2020 By dwayman

Superintendent Charles Latchison of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California (FMCSC) writes this as both a personal and pastoral response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery as he was jogging near his home.

Supt. Latchison writes:

“In the midst of this quarantine, with all of the new challenges and new realities around us, it almost seems unthinkable that the world ‘out there’ continues. In that world, we continue to see the reality that injustice continues not just afar but in our nation, states, counties, and cities.

On February 23, 2020, a young Black Man named Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by three men (Gregory and Travis McMichael, the men who shot him, and William Bryan who perversely filmed the incident) who believed they had the right to deprive him of his life and right to due process simply because they believed he was involved in robberies in their neighborhood. This is frustrating and heartbreaking.

We know during this pandemic that people have lost jobs, lost loved ones to this virus, and are afraid of our new realities. We also know that even during this time racism is not only alive but thriving. Ahmaud is not the only Black Man murdered in our country in the past couple of weeks and racist actions towards the Asian / Asian American communities have increased rapidly as well. Our personal worlds might feel like they have come to a halt during this shelter-in-place but fear and anger have continued to move forward.

CAPITALISM AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CAPITALISM AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

May 11, 2020 By dwayman

The people of God have long had a struggle with the acquisition of wealth.  From the statement of Jesus  that no one can serve two masters (Luke 6:13) to the concerns of BT Roberts when he said “Never was a saint a millionaire. Never was a millionaire a saint. Men who get rich aim at getting rich. They live for that. To this one purpose their thoughts and their energies are directed”(The Earnest Christian, Vol. XXVIII, Pgs. 37-38, August 1874), our biblical and Wesleyan tradition points us toward a wise path. To continue that journey, two Free Methodist scholars present their guidance in a recent article. asking the question “Should Christians endorse or reject capitalism.”

Drs. Kent Dunnington (Biola University) and Ben Wayman (Greenville University) give a thorough exploration of the question in their May 11, 2020 article in ABC Religion and Ethics.  Explaining that there are four definitions of Capitalism, with each having their specific Christian critique, they conclude their study by making four specific recommendations to us within our economic lives.

Witnessing (to) a different economy

“We propose the following four economic postures to mitigate against the sinister power of contemporary neoliberal capitalism, a capitalism whose animating features are captured in the descriptions of (C2), (C3) and (C4) above. Our idea is that these postures adhere to the teachings of Jesus, participate in God’s shalom,