Dianne Glave: Ministry & Church

Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

You’re Fired?! Wendy Bell From Theological Perspectives

Over the last week or so, social media has been ablaze over Wendy Bell’s comments on Facebook. WTAE-TV fired Ms. Bell because the television station concluded she described African Americans in stereotypical ways on Facebook. Some deemed those comments racist. Others agreed with her description of African Americans.

Should WTAE have fired Wendy Bell? The answer is no and yes.

As the conversation continues to rage, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with a blog entitled “Firing Someone Doesn’t Change Much” by Rev. Erik Hoeke’s, pastor of Avery United Methodist Church in Washington, PA. He concluded that Ms. Bell should not have been fired because WTAE-TV’s actions eliminated an opportunity to educate Ms. Bell and others about racism. Again, I agree.

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I also believe in grace, a doctrine of the United Methodist Church. Grace is love and forgiveness. Christ forgives us of our sins and in turn we are called to love and forgive those around us. Didn’t Ms. Bell deserve grace, an opportunity to learn from her mistake, having made racist comments some of which stereotyped African Americans as promiscuous?

Conversely, there may have been grounds for Wendy Bell to be fired. Matthew 18:15-19 tells us to confront a church member who has done wrong. When confronted many times and unwilling to change, scripture tells us that a person must leave for the greater good.

Let’s creatively and loosely apply the scripture, a biblical template, to Wendy Bell and WTAE-TV. I’m guessing the television station applied some fundamental human resources protocol in firing Ms. Bell. They may have asked: Was Ms. Bell in a sustained pattern of bias while employed by WTAE-TV? Did she refuse to change her behavior and words when confronted? Was Ms. Bell offered diversity training, which she rejected? We may never know the answers to these questions. Yet if she was fired based on due process typical of human resources protocol, and did not change then she deserved to be let go.

Rev. Hoeke tells us we must continue conversations through anti-racism, inclusion, and implicit bias education:

Wendy Bell, like me, benefits from white privilege. Wendy Bell, like me, isn’t always conscious of the implicit biases and racist attitudes she has. Wendy Bell, like me, continually needs anti-racism or sensitivity training. My hope is that Bell takes advantage of this situation to grow and mature as an individual. (http://erikhoeke.blogspot.com/2016/03/firing-someone-doesnt-change-much.html)

If there is a willingness to be transformed, there is hope. As part of our own transformation, consider attending meetings or workshops in your area focusing on anti-racism, implicit bias, and inclusion. Here in Western Pennsylvania the Anti-Racism Team of the United Methodist Church is offering an Implicit Bias Workshop on May, 11, 2016. Join us.

 

 

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Black Clergy Seek to Bridge “Green” Gap

Black Clergy Seek to Bridge “Green” Gap

“At Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, members and neighbors buy fruits and vegetables from a black farmers market and work in an organic garden named after botanist George Washington Carver . . .

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Black Churches and a New Generation of Protest: New York Times Opinion Page

Black Churches and a New Generation of Protest: New York Times Opinion Page

Saving People and the Environment

Dianne D. Glave

Dianne D. Glave, the pastor of Crafton United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the author of “Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage” and a co-editor, with Mark Stoll, of “To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History.”

It’s Ok to Go Back to 911

I sat inside my car outside of Kmart. I had much to do–so much of it mundane–but was listening to NPR on the radio. I heard the voices, the accents of my “kinsfolk” from New York sharing about 911. Listen to the words a few brave firefighters. Back on September 11. 2001, 911 leaned into me, really fell on me like the north and south towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). I grieved out of shock for my home, New York in those first few months. Ultimately, I had to turn away because it was too much for me.

With One of My Muslim Sisters in NYC

This week, the second week of September 2011, I am leaning into 911, feeling my grief, experiencing my grief, looking back, and remembering. It has been more than nine years since I’ve looked at the footage of the two planes hitting the World Trade Center. God continues to heal me as I am now able to directly face the terrible events of 911.

I was living in Los Angeles, so far away from New York, my place of birth, when the city and its people were attacked. I was busy getting ready for work. My mother called me and told me to turn on the TV. Every channel was showing the WTC footage of two planes crashing into the buildings. I dropped down to the floor, my legs crossed watching the explosions over and over again.I tried calling relatives, one in particular who worked a few blocks from the WTC. All lines were busy. Was it possible to be both numb and frantic?

Stunned I moved into auto-pilot going over to Loyola Marymount University to teach a class. LAX, Los Angeles’ International Airport, stood between me and the university. The airport was ringed off, and it was impossible to get there from the highway. Somehow through side streets, I drove under the net. Some of my students actually showed up. We scrapped talking about American Cultures and we mourned together around our conversation. We hugged and departed going to our homes, knowing that tomorrow would be a new different America.

Faithful Central Bible Church, my church at the time, quickly organized an evening service in response to the tragic events. At the service, a few words came from the pulpit and we moved into prayer. A rush of voices went up; the Holy Spirit filled the sanctuary. As I stood still, a sob came from my throat. Three or four women, strangers in a mega-church, surrounded and held onto me. We swayed as one.

Less than a week passed and I had to get on a plane. I was afraid but pushed through. LAX was close to empty. Military held semi-automatic weapon. YES, I was afraid. but I pushed through.

I learned that everyone in my family was safe and a few months later went to New York City for Thanksgiving. I met one of my cousins a few blocks from Ground Zero. My parents arrived a few hours later. My father worked at a bank much of his adult life directly across the street from the south tower. I worked there too remembering running from the subway, my feet hitting the cream tiles, up the stairs, into the sunlight. In sum, I spent ten years working at various companies in midtown and downtown so standing next to the wooden fence with photos and notes at Ground Zero with my parents tore me up. My father and I looked south at the shattered damaged bank draped so familiar to both of us. In that desolate spot, a vast footprint, the spot of the once most recognizable buildings on earth, was God. We stood on holy ground.

Ten years later. 2011. It took me ten years to fully share my first experiences out of 911. And today, I thank God for it. I am in the midst of rememory, a term coined by Toni Morrison in Beloved, to describe reliving a collection of painful repressed memories towards healing.

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