Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community,
equips pastors to respond with confidence when crises occur, lower
their own inhibitions about addressing this topic, and reclaim
their authority as prophetic witnesses and leaders in order to
transform their communities
Pastors and other church leaders see, to varying degrees, racially rooted injustice in their communities. Most of them understand an imperative, as part of their calling from God, to lead their congregations to address and reverse this injustice. For instance, preachers want to be preaching prophetically on this topic. But the problems seem irreversible, intractable, overwhelming, and pastors often feel their individual efforts will be futile. Additionally, they realize that there is a lot of risk involved, including the possibility that their actions may offend and even push some members away from the church. They do not know what to do or how to begin. And so, even during times of crisis, pastors and other church leaders typically do less than they know they could and should.
This book provides practical, foundational guidance, showing pastors how to live into their calling to address injustice, and how to lead others to do the same. Holding Up Your Corner prompts readers to observe, identify and name the complex causes of violence and hatred in the reader’s particular community, including racial prejudice, entrenched poverty and exploitation, segregation, the loss of local education and employment, the ravages of addiction, and so on.
The book walks the church leader through a self-directed process of determining what role to play in the leader’s particular location. Readers will learn to use testimony and other narrative devices, proclamation, guided group conversations, and other tactics in order to achieve the following:
What Does ‘Holding Up Your Corner’ Mean?
The phrase ‘holding up your corner’ is derived from a biblical story (Mark 2: 1 – 5) about four people who take action in order to help another person—literally delivering that person to Christ. For us, ‘holding up your corner’ has meaning in two aspects of our lives today:
First, it refers to our physical and social locations, the places where we live and work, and the communities of which we’re a part. These are the places where our assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs have influence on the people around us. When we feel empowered to speak out about the injustice or inequity in our community, we are holding up our corner.
Second, the phrase refers to our actions, the ways we step up to meet a particular problem of injustice or inequity, and proactively do something about it. When we put ourselves—literally—next to persons who are suffering, and enter into their situation in order to bring hope and healing to the person and the situation, we are holding up our corner, just like the four people who held up the corner of the hurting man’s mat.