Proclaiming God's Cry for Unity and Diversity for God's Kingdom on EarthGUADIA Bible Study
God’s Unity and Diversity in Action (GUADIA) Bible Study
Our Synod’s Multicultural Ministry leadership team, God’s Unity and Diversity in Action (GUADIA), has produced a three-part video resource, Proclaiming God’s Cry for Unity and Diversity for God’s Kingdom on Earth, which you find here. You can use this video for a Bible study, for council meetings, small group meetings, with community ministries, etc. Each of the three video segments are between 20-30 minutes.
You will also find here the Cover Letter with fuller explanation about the video, the Discussion Questions for the Video, and the Evaluation document.
This video was produced with the hope of helping our congregations to think, talk, and pray about GUADIA’s three priorities:
- Recognizing that God has made us one in creation, in a beautiful tapestry of diversity, sharing unity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- Seeking reconciliation through Jesus with God and with all people, encouraging the church to advocate for God’s justice, working with others of goodwill to dismantle racism in our church and in our country
- With the Holy Spirit’s leadership, inviting our congregations to mirror the ethnic makeup of their surrounding community, giving them resources to connect with people of color
May you and your congregation be blessed and grow in your love of God and your neighbor by watching and thoroughly discussing these videos!
And, if you’d like to go further, please contact one of the members of GUADIA to come and visit your congregation for a follow up conversation.
The GUADIA team is: Rosa Linda Brown, Rob Johnson, Marc Miller, Sam Payne, Brenda Peconge, Brenda Piper, Butch Piper, Rich Rentner, Cindy Ritter, Cheryl Wessel
All three videos are below with the questions from the handout. Please scroll down to continue.
Segment 1 Video
How can we as Christians proclaim the cry for Unity and Diversity for God’s Kingdom on earth? Do you feel that we as the church truly recognize that we are one in Christ in this beautiful tapestry of diversity? Why or why not?
- Share how your congregation has found ways to connect with and explore diversity with people of color?
- Has the community around your church changed? How has it changed regarding racial make-up?
- Is this change seen as something positive or something that would bring anxiety?
Segment 2 Video
For our churches to remain true to the openness of Christ’s teachings, we need to mirror our surrounding community. What opportunities do you feel are available to our church leaders and its members for reaching out and connecting to people of color?
Are there any resources that can be used to help with this connection?
- What opportunities are available for you to reach out to people of color? Are there opportunities to talk to people of color?
- Do you really see people of color around you?
- How would the members of your church respond to a person of color visiting your church? Would your church be open to receiving a pastor of color? If not what could be done to prepare a congregation for a pastor of color?
- How do you feel the Gospel speaks to how we should relate to those who are not like us?
Segment 3 Video
In the ELCA’s “Church in Society”,  p.6, it states “Advocacy doesn’t just happen in the halls of government. Anytime we bring our voices to bear on issues of justice, we are advocating in the spirit of the church’s calling to be advocates of justice and mercy.”
- How can we, the Church, be more visible as an advocate for God’s justice for all people in our nation?
- Do you feel racism still exists in America?
- Do you ever question your beliefs regarding race?
- Are you afraid of being offensive when it comes to asking someone of a different ethnicity questions regarding their race?
- Do you feel that “white privilege” exists in our society? If yes, can you think of any examples that could be identified as “white privilege”?
Below you will see “Some terms that are useful to help us talk about race and diversity.” Do these terms help you to think and talk about the relationship between people of different cultures? Why or why not?
Prejudice (or Bigotry). Everyone who sins—that is everyone!—is prejudiced against others. Prejudice (bigotry) is making assumptions about (and looking down upon) someone else’s beliefs, practices and culture based on their skin color, primary language, or ethnicity. We all sinfully make erroneous assumptions about people from other cultures, so all people are guilty of prejudice. As the word prejudice implies, we “pre-judge” others by our standards.
Racism. Whereas prejudice (bigotry) is sin between individuals, racism is sin on an institutional or national level. It is corporate sin. Racism is prejudice plus the institutional power to enforce that prejudice. Therefore, racism is not about the ill feelings we have towards people of another color or culture (that’s bigotry). Racism is the reality that in nations and institutions, people of a certain race or ethnicity make the rules, and people of that race or ethnicity generally benefit from those rules, whereas people of other (minority) races and ethnicities are at a disadvantage.
White Privilege. In the United States and other countries where White people (European-Americans) predominate, Whites often receive advantages that people of other races and ethnicities do not receive. This is White privilege. It doesn’t mean that White people always are favored, but it does mean that generally the rules and practices of the land benefit White people.
Internalized Oppression. People of minority cultures often deal with feelings of inferiority because they are made to feel that they are not as good as people from the majority culture. In fact, they will begin to believe they are in reality inferior, because they receive that message regularly from the majority culture. People with internalized oppression usually feel hopeless, powerless, and sometimes they feel angry because they have been treated unjustly.
God’s justice. Throughout the Bible, God makes it clear that all people are to be treated with dignity and respect. In fact, in many places, the Bible suggests that God works to make things “even” by advocating for those who are the victims of oppression (see Luke 1:46-55). The goal of God’s justice is not that everyone should have the same thing; the goal is that all would receive God’s provision justly (see Deuteronomy 10:12-22), and be free from oppression (see Exodus chapters 1-15).
God’s grace. In all of these conversations, as those who are redeemed through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is right for us to speak with each other with love and kindness. Even as we deal with the hardest truths—prejudice, racism, etc.—we remember that we are all one in Christ, created, saved and set free by the grace of Jesus (see Ephesians 4:25-32).