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I Shall Not Be Moved: Racial Separation in Christian Worship
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He compellingly lays out the origins and history of racial separation in the American Church starting from colonial times. I was surprised to learn that early on in the colonies it was common for blacks and whites to worship together. It was only as slavery became entrenched that a distinct "white church" and "black church" arose. Byrd writes:
"Slavery, it's shameful facts, its historical, social and economic inequalities, its damaging impact on the souls and on the psyches of black people, gave birth to the independent black church. Each of these influences was a dominant factor in the rise of sustained institutionalized separate worship communities."
It's a shameful fact that many of our denominational histories can be traced back to the evil of slavery. Just in recent years we've seen denominational leaders struggling to come to terms with this legacy. Yet the separation by and large continues, and as Byrd points out, most Christians have come to accept it as the norm. In the chapter Sacred, Secular or Merely Sinful, he makes the argument that it's not normal and in fact is a scandal on the church's witness to the world.Read more ›