Thursday, February 4, 2021

 This post for February 5, 2021 is the third and final individual response to the Position Paper written by the Parish Council of Holy Family Lutheran Church, Chicago, IL.  It is also the first general publication not written for a class or a grade.

LUTHERAN QUARTERLY Nov. 25, 1967 -3rd Response

                                                                                    Richard Stewart, First Publication

B LACK Power is the organization of the American Negro as a bloc to gain economic status, to exert political power, and to become the "new immigrant" force in America. It must also be understood that this is not the only definition for these two words.

Black Power can easily be misinterpreted by defining it in terms of violence. With this as a definition both Negro and white find themselves worried about the possible consequences of open conflict. There is a tendency to feel threatened by change. One know what effect there will be on his position, his life, or family and friends. People are forced to face challenges, but they do not think about the presence of God in today's historical events. Black Power has been and still is challenging to Negro and white.

The social and political issues, brought forth by Black Power advocates, are the same issues that the Negro has asked before to be solved (education, employment, housing, and economic independence). The powers, which could have brought about a change, are the same ones which are now making slow progress. The church has been a definite part of that power wielding group, then and now. The people, who are the body of the church, have set standards by which other members are looked upon, and the church then takes on the characteristics of its members in thought, word, and deed. The church gathers its identity from the peer group, rather than from God, the eternal Father.

Our church must break out and look at all people as part of the community 'Of God. Those events which surround all people, like Black Power does today, must be analyzed and concrete actions taken to respond out of love to all people and their situations. Right now we must, interpret Black Power and speak out about its challenges, and if possible, we must give resolutions for the settlement of problems. We must become twentieth century prophets.

Being a Christian in the Lutheran church, a theological student, and a Negro forces me to view Black Power from different colored glasses than those of my contemporaries. To put my views on a practical plane, I refer to three points used in an address delivered by Cameron Wells Byrd, pastor of Christ United Church of Christ, Detroit, and Executive Director elect of the Ecumenical Center in Roxbury, Inc., Roxbury, Mass., to the Youth Division of the National Council of Churches in the United States, meeting in Detroit, Michigan, October 27-28, 1967.

1. The Strategy of Impoliteness-through the word. It is assumed that the institution of the church has been polite in its ministry. The church has forgotten its role as a misfit. The church's marching orders come from God, not the society in which it finds itself. The church must give all the cold hard dirty facts just as they are; tell it like it is. Camps, conferences, youth meetings, conventions, and retreats should be included with the Sunday worship experience as a place of being impolite.

2. The Strategy of Imposition-on present standards of today's Christian society. The church must use its corporate strength to challenge the institutions of society that smother the humanity and creativity of all human beings. The church may not be loved for its impositions into everyday life, and there may be some Christians persecuted. Yet, that is nothing new.

3.The Strategy of Christian Conspiracy--- to live an example of

 Christ's commandments to the church in a natural way. The church must aid people

in realizing that this is a multiracial world, that dialogue can be achieved in an unstructured wayand that all are children of God and members of the community on earth.

Black Power can be a method of giving a larger stock to the cause of human engineering.

                                                                                                  RICHARD N. STEWART

                                                                                                               Hamma School of Theology
                                                                                                               Springfield, Ohio


[MDiv 1971]

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