Letter From The Editor: What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Whiteness’
This is the Letter From the Editor published in Faithfully Magazine No. 2, written by founder and editor Nicola A. Menzie. It also includes a short message from Katelyn Beatty, guest editor for the cover story “Whiteness Is Crippling the Evangelical Church.”
Nicola’s Notes: What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Whiteness’
It has only been a few months since we rolled out the first issue, but so many good things have happened since then. First, many of you shared your excitement for Faithfully Magazine, signed up for a subscription and recommended it to others. Thank you. Second, we added a few members to the Editorial team. Also, four outstanding individuals now serve as Advisors. Visit the website to learn more about our expanded team.
I asked in issue No. 1 if “white privilege had been nailed to the cross” in our faith contexts. After writing “Whiteness Is Crippling the Evangelical Church,” I realized that I had assumed many of us were on the same page when it comes to understanding things such as “white privilege.” That is partly why I chose such frank wording for the title of the story—we need to get a grasp on these realities that so deeply affect our everyday lives, consciously and subconsciously, if we are sincere about “racial reconciliation.” Part of that involves replacing ignorance with awareness and embracing vulnerability as a strength to empower our willingness to be really uncomfortable, hopefully in familiar environments and with people we trust.
I am convinced God desires His people to be in one accord on certain matters—maybe not on mode of baptism or frequency of Communion, but certainly on rejecting wholesale the destructive concept of “white supremacy” at the heart of our country’s character. If we start by confronting that, perhaps we will be able to wholly recognize and then commit to dismantling the inequitable systems present in some of our own contexts.
Instead of unity in the Body, a wedge remains, partly because many White Christians are tone deaf and skeptical of what their brothers and sisters of color have been saying since enslaved Blacks realized how deeply the lives of White masters contradicted the words of the Bible. As I remind myself after disappointments and mistakes: If we are still alive, there is still time to try and get it right.
Finally, I am grateful for Katelyn Beaty taking time to edit the cover story. Beaty is an editor at large with Christianity Today magazine and the author of A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World (out in August in paperback with a study guide).
Here is a word from Beaty on the cover story:
This June, alongside much of the Christian Twittersphere, I watched as the Southern Baptist Convention wrestled with and eventually passed a resolution condemning the alt-right movement. The resolution seemed to be a step forward for a denomination founded by pro-slavery Southerners in 1845. But the process of passing the resolution—explored in Nicola Menzie’s timely cover story—reveals that the work of advancing racial justice in majority-[W]hite Christian spaces is far from over. The SBC’s struggles are emblematic of struggles within [W]hite evangelical spaces to not simply address individuals’ racist attitudes but to disentangle evangelicalism itself from whiteness, defined as a systemic preference for white leaders and attitudes. I was grateful to serve as guest editor of Menzie’s story and hope that it leads to soul-searching far beyond the SBC.
NICOLA A. MENZIE
Founder & Editor-in-Chief