Sacred Ground

One in the Spirit — our diocesan ministry committed to engagement across differences — is finishing up its inaugural 10 session series of “Sacred Ground” dialogue circles centered on conversations about race and racism.

One of the texts for the series is “Jesus and the Disinherited” — the 1949 book by African-American minister, theologian, and civil rights leader Howard Thurman. And this quote stood out to us this week as a core articulation of what it means to become Beloved Community.

“I do not ignore the theological and metaphysical interpretation of the Christian doctrine of salvation. But the underprivileged everywhere have long since abandoned any hope that this type of salvation deals with the crucial issues by which their days are turned into despair without consolation. The basic fact is that Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewish teacher and thinker appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed.

That it became, through the intervening years, a religion of the powerful and the dominant, used sometimes as an instrument of oppression, must not tempt us into believing that it was thus in the mind and life of Jesus. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Wherever his spirit appears, the oppressed gather fresh courage; for he announced the good news that fear, hypocrisy, and hatred, the three hounds of hell that track the trail of the disinherited, need have no dominion over them.”

Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited

The current offering of Sacred Ground is in progress and will conclude in mid-October. To register for the next offering of the Sacred Ground program, please register here. For more information contact Canon Susan Russell at

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