Organize the Church! is a blog designed for pastors and lay leaders committed to the church being a progressive agent of social change within their communities. Historically, the Black Church has been at the forefront of social movements that have worked to make the United States a more just nation. This blog seeks to strengthen the legacy of Black Christian activism so clearly evident in the civil rights movement of Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The victories of social justice campaigns are often short-term. Social progress is fragile; it must regularly be re-enforced to be sustained; otherwise, social gains will begin to be lost. Gains in social justice require constant attention. For the United States to be an even more just nation, much work needs to be done to maintain all our social gains and, then, expand them exponentially.
As an initiative of the Black Church Action Fund (BCAF), the blog will introduce our readers to critical frameworks and concepts needed to analyze situations and power dynamics and mobilize people in order to sustain and advance social justice in our communities, as well as, fight injustice. Without clear analyses, efforts to confront injustice are blunted and, sometimes, even misdirected. The founders of BCAF are influential African American clergy leaders with a proven record of progressive Christian activism: Pastor Michael McBride, Bishop Leah Daughtry, Rev. Jamal Bryant, Erica Campbell, Rev. Tracie Blackmon, and Rev. Tony Lee. Each of them has demonstrated how a progressive ministry can be prophetic, effective, and transformative within communities. Since its launch in 2017, the BCAF has partnered with congregations and leaders in social justice campaigns involved in changing the nation.
Organize the Church! is committed to the BCAF vision as well as its mission of enhancing black independent political power by leveraging the existing infrastructure and relational networks of the Black Church. The BCAF identifies racial injustice, the death penalty, criminal injustice, voter suppression, mass incarceration and urban gun violence as its key issue. These issues impact black lives and communities in adverse ways. They are among the topics that this blog will tackle.
During 2022, special attention will be given to the critical issues faced by black communities during this election cycle. What are the top 12 issues that should be listed on a voter’s candidate guide, for instance? BCAF has identified at least six of them as mentioned above. So, what are an additional six? The Organize the Church! blog will invite writers to propose their slate. Then, how might we assess and rank the issues presented to readers of this blog? Occasionally, we might canvas our readers for their ranking of key issues. Learning is a communal activity.
While there are national issues that impact every community, the blog will sometimes engage local issues as case studies to think through issues on the grassroots level. Our readers might gain better insight into their communities by reading about black communities that are different than their own. The blog can be a place to have this exchange.
What are some innovative ways to preach, teach, and talk about the issues facing the black community and ways to advance justice in our communities? This blog will introduce relevant interpretations of Biblical texts, for instance, on topics like justice, reconciliation, and restitution in order to assist the reader in framing key issues. Insights from theologies that make important distinctions crucial to advancing justice will be presented. Our readers will be introduced to insightful publications on these topics so that they may explore a topic in more depth if they desire. From these publications, the blog writer will introduce best practices related to topics such as gun reform, police reform, and challenging voter suppression. Practical strategies that might be implemented by clergy and lay leaders in their communities will be shared.
The Organize the Church! blog aims to post or repost new entries monthly. Share this new initiative with your friends and colleagues.
Always remember to be vigilant in sustaining and multiplying social justice victories!