A Week in the Word: Words about Charlottesville

In “A Week in the Word”, I try to highlight a progressive voice of faith connected with the South.  Today, it is with sadness I witness the events in Charlottesville.   I am thankful for the pastoral reflection of the Alliance of Baptists, a denomination that grew out of the work of southern progressives who identify with the historic Baptist traditions of soul freedom, Bible freedom, and religious freedom and so could not continue moving in step with the movement toward fundamentalism in some Baptist movements in the south-land.

I think these words are a call to hope, repentance, and resiliency toward us all


your progressive redneck preacher,


spiritual practice prayer

Statement from the Alliance of Baptists:

As congregations gather to worship the Sunday following the hate crimes and terror fueled by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., we, followers of Jesus, stand with the people and clergy of Congregate Charlottesville/Charlottesville Clergy Collective seeking justice for all, rejecting white supremacy and all forms of violence. We acknowledge the wounds of racism caused by our nation’s history and the necessity of significant systemic repentance.

In response to the white supremacist chant of “you won’t replace us,” that echoed throughout the University of Virginia campus, our prayer in response to the hate-filled chant is a prayer for the justice-love of God to fill us. We, as children of God, will not rest until we have replaced:

Old patterns of injustice with justice marked by significant systemic repentance.

Prideful self-righteousness with humility and confession of sin.

Abysmal hate with prophetic hope.

White supremacy with embodied racial equality.

Indifference with attentive work toward racial justice.

Unbridled violence with the waging of peace.

Dehumanizing language with affirmations of belovedness.

The fostering of division with the building of common-unity.

Brokenness with restitution for America’s original sin.

Moral bankruptcy with compassionate courage.

Fear of difference with a radical welcome.

A closed mind with an open heart.

As people of faith we believe in a liberating vision of hope inspired by the radical, unconditional love of God, taught and modeled by Jesus for all people. Our sacred scriptures call us to love our neighbors as ourselves—no exceptions. Let us not rest until fear and hate is replaced by love.

-Mike Castle, Alliance president & Paula Dempsey, director of partnership relations


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