How has the church dealt with racism? What can it do to follow the path of Jesus and become the church it is supposed to be?
On Thursday, Drew Hart, assistant professor of theology at Messiah College and the author of the acclaimed book “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism,” will offer his views at 7 p.m. Thursday on the fourth floor of Teague Learning Commons at Lancaster Bible College. The event is free but attendees are asked to register at lbc.edu/events. The talk is sponsored by Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness, Mennonite Central Committee and Lancaster Bible College.
Hart, 35, is a Philadelphia area native. He attended Messiah College as an undergraduate and Biblical Theological Seminary for his master’s degree, and received his doctorate from what is now United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia.
He spoke to LNP earlier this week. The interview has been edited for length.
What will be the focus of your talk?
It will focus on how we think about race and racism particularly within the church — about how Christians think about race and racism. I’m going to expand their definition of racism from a very thin way of looking at it to a much thicker and more expansive way that helps to explain the social patterns and problems that exist in our society.
Some of that is talking about racial hierarchy, what that means, white supremacy, anti-blackness — those kinds of critical race-theory terms. Then the systemic patterns and power dynamics that are at play that sometimes get ignored.
I will use a lot of personal stories. I think those personal stories help make plain the things we are talking about that sometimes can feel too abstract.