Woman to Woman Rwanda

Thursdays are our Coffee Talk days at “A Sista’s Journey.” I’m not a coffee drinker but on Thursdays I write about the things we would talk about if I were with you drinking coffee. I actually do quite a bit of talking with my friends, and don’t blog on Thursdays as frequently as I would like.

There are a lot of things I want to share with you but for today and right now, let me tell you more about my upcoming trip to Rwanda, and introduce the other women who will be joining me on the trip. I’m so excited!

Rwanda Photo_Africa New Life credit

Hope. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my upcoming trip to Rwanda, and my first trip to the continent of Africa. This summer, I have the opportunity to participate in a learning exchange and humanitarian effort called “Woman to Woman Rwanda” in partnership with Africa New Life. This is the first trip I know of its kind where an all African American team of women are going to partner with, listen and learn from Rwandan women.

About Rwanda

Like many of you, my first introduction to the daily life of Rwanda was from the atrocities of the 1994 genocide. I read Immaculée Ilibagiza’s story of redemption in her riveting memoir, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. As a part of the Tutsis tribe, she lost most of her family to the genocide where “more than one million people were murdered in roughly 100 days.” Most of this history was told with the 2004 movie release titled “Hotel Rwanda.” However, death and murder is not the entirety of Rwanda’s story. It is only a snapshot of the history of colonization and oppression that crippled the Rwandan people, and nearly destroyed the country.

In the later part of the nineteenth century, Rwanda was colonialized by Germany. During this period of approximately 15 years, Germans elevated the Tutsi tribe (as being more Caucasian) by giving them the best education and jobs, while causing a class-system and rift between the native Tutsi and Hutu people groups. At the end of World War II, the country was given to Belgium who continued to exploit this division and govern Rwanda for approximately 40 years before the Rwandans kicked them out.

Rwanda became an independent nation in 1962, but the relational damage had already been done among the nation’s first people groups, the uncertainty about the country’s future, and the struggle for power is what climaxed in the 1994 genocide. This genocide began with Rwandans, and because of the lack of international involvement, it ended with Rwandans.

Over the past 22 years, Rwandans have led their country, instituted a democracy, charted their path to economic freedom, and have pursued reconciliation and justice. Rwanda is now a country led by Rwandans, and Africa New Life is a ministry led by Rwandans.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

On Being Black, Woman, and Evangelical

On Being Black, Woman, and Evangelical

 

I’m thrilled that important conversations are taking place about the history and condition of the American evangelical church. I am humbled and honored to contribute to these conversations.

This week I’m sharing at Missio Alliance about the intersectionality of being black, a woman, and an evangelical.

Over the past few years, I have wrestled with identifying as an evangelical who is Black. The past couple years have made it all the more difficult because of the troubling marriage of evangelicalism (mostly reported by those in the majority people group) and American politics, that often does not reflect the priorities or interests of many black people that I know.

I just finished reading Dr. Douglas A. Sweeney’s book, The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement. While reading, I was encouraged to know that the debates for evangelicalism—what it means, who belongs in the group and who doesn’t, and how marginalized people are often left out of the conversation—are not new ones.

In fact, uncertainly about the definition of evangelicalism, its mark on the American and global church, and how that has impacted various people groups has been a reality since the beginning of the evangelical movement.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

 

My friend, Lisa Sharon Harper, also makes an important contribution here. Thank you, Lisa, for answering the question, “What does repentance look like for the white church?”

Leadership Issue: Hello! Millennials are Leaving the Church

Millennials

Millennials are leaving the Church. That’s the conclusion that is drawn from much of the recent readings. The statement is only partially true, however, and it presents a great opportunity for the evangelical church to reconsider how she approaches the millennial generation, makes disciples, and views diversity. Taking another look at this problem offers some promising solutions.

Millennials are Leaving the Church

In a recent article titled “59 Percent of Millennials Raised in the Church Have Dropped Out — And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why” on Faith It, writer Sam Eaton reported that “only 4 percent of the Millennial Generation are Bible-Based Believers. This means that 96 percent of Millennials likely don’t live out the teachings of the Bible, value the morals of Christianity and probably won’t be found in a church.”

Drawing on information from a 2014 Barna study concerning this group of 22-to-35 year olds, the findings are consistent with reporting from the past decade or more. A simple Google search of “why are millennials leaving the church” will only lead us to draw a dismal conclusion about the relationship between the church and her lost millennials. In research for my book, Mentor for Life, however, I made a note to highlight that the Black Church is not experiencing the same decline among this coveted group.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.