St. Mark Extra!
May 17, 2019
A word from our pastor, Mark Davis
Worship
Saturday
May 18, 2019
5:00 p.m.


Sunday
May 19, 2019
9:30 a.m.
What’s NEXT? Part VIII

Two Quick Notes: 
1. This Saturday and Sunday, SueJeanne Koh-Parsons and I will be offering a dialogue sermon on “Crossing Boundaries” based on Acts 11:1-18. I think you’ll find it to be interesting, since the style of presentation and the story that we’re presenting will correspond with each other quite a bit. 

2. Next Saturday, May 25, Chris and I are hosting a reception in the Fellowship Hall after worship to celebrate Nic’s graduation from University of California Irvine with a degree in Criminology. It will be a floating reception, so feel free to come and go between 6:00 and 8:00pm. Nic was in the middle of his senior year of High School when we moved here and gave up a lot of the usual High School graduation fanfare as a result. He went to Orange Coast College, then to UCI. We’re proud and you’re invited. 

Now, back to the topic of What’s NEXT. Since I’ve been off that topic for a couple of week, I feel the need to recap the exploration. You may remember that I was challenged at the NEXT Church National Gathering to become more sensitive to the difference between Christianity itself and what we might call “White Christianity.” The phrase “White Christianity” does not refer to a branch of Christianity or a particular church where every single person in it is manifestly light-skinned and has European origins. And so, whenever I am writing about “White Christianity,” please don’t hear me assuming that it looks like this photo. 
This church is indeed a “White Church” and their brand of Christianity – if one is willing to call it Christianity at all! – needs to be identified as a particular, peculiar, and baleful form of “White Christianity.” But this is not what I am talking about when I speak of “White Church” or “White Christianity.” Please know that.
When I use the term “White Christianity” I am not speaking of active racist attitudes, active exclusive practices, or 100% European stock membership. I am using the term to become more aware of historical-cultural characteristics that often go unnamed and unnoticed. For example, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has a designation for some of its churches as “Racial Ethnic Congregations.” In the Presbytery of Los Ranchos there are 46 congregations, 19 of which are designated as “Racial Ethnic Congregations.” Among them is New Hope in Orange, which was an intentional startup church for the purpose of reaching out to African Americans. There is the Vietnamese Presbyterian Church in Garden Grove, which has one service in Vietnamese and a simultaneous service for young, second-generation members in English. There are nine Korean congregations, three Taiwanese congregations, two Hispanic congregations, an Arabic, Indonesian, and an African congregation. Each of them has deliberate practices for the sake of reaching out to persons who share a common story. 

But, if those churches are the “Racial Ethnic” churches, what are the rest of us? What are we at St. Mark? Do we lack race? Are we without ethnicity? Of course not. We have – on one hand – a significant variety of racial and ethnic roots among us. And we have – on the other hand – a common set of practices and assumptions that enable us to be “one.” Those commons practices and assumptions (whether good nor bad) are what I am trying to discern in these posts, because some of them are wonderful and need to become even more pronounced among us, and some of them are subtle and make us more biased and exclusive than we might imagine. 

Until next time, 
Mark of St. Mark


(You can also read the Friday Blast reflections at  markofstmark.blogspot.com