by Erin Hicks
I want to share two things that led to me write this article:
The truth of the matter is that race is a current issue in our country and in our churches. To say otherwise is foolish and turning a blind eye to an issue that should deeply matter to us Christians.
What our country did by oppressing people of color is an atrocity that cannot be forgotten. And the thing is, racism is still very much an issue. I firmly believe that we in the church must have this conversation with our youth if we are to more fully live into God’s present kingdom here on Earth.
Following the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, there was—and still is—great racial tension. While many in the black community have cried out that justice failed, there are some in the white community who are saying that not enough attention has been given to victims like Christopher Lane (the Australian baseball player killed by three black youth).
In 2008, American elected Barack Obama president, and there was a notion that this showed how America had progressed past racism. Instead, it showed me how racist our country still is. He was forced to show his birth certificate, an indignity that some still haven’t found to be enough.
Some things to consider:
In a recent interview with Parade Magazine leading up to the release of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Oprah Winfrey says that she believes that a problem in our culture is that young people today don’t know enough about the Civil Rights Movement. Condemning the use of the n-word, Winfrey states, “You cannot be my friend and use that word around me . . . I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree.” 
Do our kids know the truth about what happened during the Civil Rights Movement and before? Do they know about the issues that are present still today? Or have we been silent, letting the schools teach them about Black History during February?
It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr’s, iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, and yet his dream has not been achieved.
Sunday mornings are known as the most divided time in America. 
Think about the various youth events to which you take your youth, and think about how much racial diversity there is at those events.
The church is not the building; the church is a people who have been set apart (Hebrews 10:10) by the Almighty God to live differently than the world.
2 Corinthians 4:5 tells us that “we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” So what are we preaching? What are we—with our words and our actions—telling the world about the Prince of Peace, and Lord of love?
Are we being silent? Or are we actively showing people how to love and how to share our great God’s love better with the world?
Here are some ideas to consider implementing with your group:
What ideas do you have on having a faithful conversation about race with youth?
“The Top 10 Most Startling Faces About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States: A Look at the Racial Disparities Inherent in Our Nation’s Criminal-Justice System,” by the Center for American Progress: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2012/03/13/11351/the-top-10-most-startling-facts-about-people-of-color-and-criminal-justice-in-the-united-states/
“Missing Children in National News Coverage: Racial and Gender Representations of Missing Children Cases” by Seong-Jae Min and John C. Feaster: http://www.academia.edu/857391/Missing_Children_in_National_News_Coverage_Racial_and_Gender_Representations_of_Missing_Children_Cases
“From Where They Sit: Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker Discuss Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Race in America” by Katherine Heintzelman: http://www.parade.com/59897/katherineheintzelman/from-where-they-sit-oprah-winfrey-forest-whitaker-discuss-lee-daniels-the-butler-and-race-in-america/
“Color-Blinded: Why 11 o’clock Sunday morning is still a mostly segregated hour.” An excerpt from Divided by Faith by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith: http://www.gordon.edu/download/galleries/ColorBlinded.pdf
CYMT is excited about its newest endeavor, Theology Together. Theology Together educates both teenagers and youth workers as they engage in theological reflection, spiritual practice, vital service, and vocational discernment. The Theology Together process produces reflective action that is embedded in the fabric of youth ministry in all of its contexts. We believe strongly that youth are theologians and belong at the center of tough, life-changing dialogue around faith, relationships, and life. We place teenagers in the driver seat alongside their youth pastors and leaders, equipping each individual to think differently about youth ministry, to provoke a sense of awe and wonder: a WOW moment.
Youth theology is theology built upon the simple doctrinal principle of the priesthood of all believers, and takes that principle right down to its natural conclusion: that all believers, including youth, teens, adolescents, etc. are theologians. It is theology that values all youth as theologians. Here we will share with you how to engage with youth theology in your own ministry.
A few weeks ago, we shared the launch of Theology Together 2.0. Today, Dwight (the director of Theology Together) will be sharing with us one experience […]