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Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, there was a national response to racial injustices simmering at our culture’s surface. In response, Bethany hosted a community Prayer Vigil on June 6, 2020 as an act of public lament.

Stories of racial injustice still fill our news feeds. Today, we must still ask, What is God calling us to do? We are moved to action…but the shape of that action is not always self-evident or simple.

In order to move forward in understanding racial justice and God’s vision of reconciliation, we are, ironically, called to look back: to listen, learn, and reflect on the history of the American church (a past of which we may not have participated in but, nonetheless, are inheritors of) in order to allow God to transform our future.

To this end, we invite the entire Bethany community to participate in this virtual No-Reading Book Club on The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby and published by Zondervan. A narrative historical survey, The Color of Compromise Video Study reveals connections between the church and racism throughout American history. It also outlines the kind of biblical courage needed to forge a future of equality and justice fully embodied in Christ.

The video study will take us on a journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights era, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement, to reveal the ways in which the American church has actively and passively perpetuated racism. Written not just about the church but for the church, The Color of Compromise is not aimed at condemning the church but about helping us to understand our own history and complicity so that we can be open to the places God desires to bring healing, justice, and reconciliation.[1]

 To facilitate the development of our hearts and minds as followers of Jesus, we invite you to wade further through this collective discussion. Our united prayer is that we will discuss the book as people of Christian faith—in the context of trusted relationships with Christ and the Bible as our foundation. In so doing, we surrender ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit for individual reflection, insight, and transformation that will contribute to Bethany’s collective prayers, insight, and transformation.

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What You Need to Know

What’s a No-Reading Book Club?
In this No-Reading Book Club we will explore the content of a book that has been made into Video Sessions. Instead of reading the book, we will watch an 18-25 minute video during our session each week, and then prayerfully discuss the content—all within an hour. If you’re interested in what this no-reading book club video study will review, watch this extended trailer:

Must I Register to Participate?
Yes. You will receive the Zoom link for the room after you Register.

What’s the Format for Each Session?
1. Introductory Comments
2. Questions
3. Opening Prayer
4. View Video – 18 to 25 minutes
5. Group Breakout & Discussion
6. Closing Comments
7. Closing Prayer taken from a Lament Psalm

How to Participate?
This session will last for 10 weeks. Beginning on Thursday, February 18. Ending on Thursday, April 22. (The group will not meet during the week of Easter, April 8). As with any opportunity for growth, one of the primary elements we are asking participants to bring is commitment. We are asking that participants commit to the whole duration of 10 weeks. This enables us to further build connection with one another, and cultivate transformation as we seek to encounter Christ each week through questions, discussions, and prayer.

Zoom is required to participate. It is preferable that you use Zoom on a computer, laptop, or iPad to help make the video session most convenient for viewing. Need to download Zoom? Here’s how you get a free Zoom license.

Values for the Session
We will begin this group experience with a posture of engaged learners and intentional and incarnational listeners. As we grow in our awareness and understanding of our shared history of racism in our country and in the church, we open our hearts and our minds to God, one another, and our neighbor and to the transforming work of the Spirit.

We hold the following values as essential to our life together in this session:

Curiosity · Try It On
We agree to be open to engaging others’ perspectives. We will practice considering ideas from a posture of curiosity before critiquing, defending, etc. As we watch the video, we will seek to understand the narrative and definitions the author offers on their own terms before moving to dismissal, skepticism, etc., asking “what might this mean for me/us if this were true?” We commit to staying curious about our own ideas, perceptions and emotions. Our goal is not to walk away with one “right” answer but to learn with and from each other.

Participation · Step Up, Step Back
We will be aware of group participation dynamics. If I am someone who tends to be a listener in group settings, I will consider stepping up to share my perspectives or questions. If I am someone who tends to talk a lot, I will consider stepping back to create space for others. (Think “three, then me”.)

Respect · Hold Good Boundaries
We agree to practice respectful listening by not interrupting or talking over others. We agree to practice respectful sharing by speaking from our own experience (“I” statements) and refrain from giving advice, unless it is requested.

Care · “Oops” and “Ouch”
We agree to assume positive intent in others while also acknowledging potentially negative impact. Anyone can say “ouch” if hurt or offended to stop the process from continuing and explore what’s happening and why. Anyone can say “oops” to acknowledge their assumptions and/or to respond to another’s “ouch”.

Prayer · Seek Understanding
We agree to commit to pray for our conversations before beginning and as needed throughout our time together. We affirm we can seek the Spirit’s guidance through prayer if conversations trigger pushback, heightened emotions, or unearth sensitive areas in need of healing.

Confidentiality · Share About Ideas, Not People
We want to process and discuss our learnings with others. However, we agree all sharing should be about concepts and experiences in the group, not specifics about what others have shared.

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Have Questions?
Our team is happy to answer questions?
Questions for Organizer: brandon@bethanyonline.net  
Church Office: 626-962-8501
General Church Questions: info@bethanyonline.net