WTS is committed to engaging the work of racial reconciliation and justice in our institution, churches, and communities. With that goal in mind, the diversity committee led campus-wide reading and discussion groups for staff, faculty and students around three books:
- Esau McCaulley’s Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope,
- Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, and
- Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.
The Board of Trustees also read The Color of Compromise and discussed it during their February meeting.
“The way that the thoughtful people in our discussion group grappled with Reading While Black pointed me to aspects and implications of McCaulley’s work that I would not have come up with on my own.”
—Suzanne McDonald, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology
“Reading and discussing Caste was a reminder that the work of antiracism, justice, and conciliation is hard, and we have barely scratched the surface. Wilkerson, in naming the complexity of systemic injustice and the depth of our historical depravity, encouraged and challenged us to dismantle oppression wherever we encounter it—in ourselves and in the world around us.”
—Shari Oosting, Associate Director of Formation for Ministry
“I really like that the author offers hope. He talks about how we should have acted at different times, but he says ‘we can still act.’ We can still be a part of change, the way God might want us to be.”
—Gail Ebersole, Board of Trustees Chair
“Engaging this book within a community of fellow believers was powerful. The history and stories presented were not easy to read or digest. That being said, I am thankful that Western provided the space to process, share, and lament together.”
—Anna Christians, M.Div. student
“I appreciated the opportunity to share about experiences with racism and dream about a better future with ministry leaders from different demographics and other parts of the country.”
—David Parrish, D.Min. student
“The Color of Compromise exposed critical gaps in my knowledge about the history of racism in our nation—especially around American Christianity’s role in protecting, nurturing, and quietly approving of white supremacy along the way. The hard conversations fostered honest repentance and creative thinking for ministry.”
—Jaimi Vander Berg, distance-learning student
In addition, WTS was grateful to have Jemar Tisby with us last month for the 10th Annual Stoutemire Lecture series in Multicultural Ministry. His lecture, titled “How to Fight Racism” focused on the danger of Christian Nationalism and encouraged practical steps towards racial justice. Over the course of the two days Jemar also had smaller group conversations with our Student Council, Faculty, the Diversity Committee and the WTS Board of Trustees.