Believe It or Not: Discovering the Role of Marketplace Ministry in Reconciling Race and Religion in the African American Church
This Doctor of Ministry Project explores the experiences of African Americans as faith holders in the crux of race, religion, and marketplace and how the interconnectedness of these facets can lend to reconciliation. The purpose of exploring how African American believers experience race and religious reconciliation is a noble goal that seeks to address the challenges faced by many African American believers in navigating their faith and cultural engagement. By examining their experiences, insights, and perspectives, we can learn more about the unique challenges they face and the strategies they employ to overcome them. This information can help us develop ideas and actions that promote better cultural engagement and help African American believers connect more experientially with God.
Ripley's Believe It or Not is a popular franchise that features a collection of unusual, strange, and incredible stories from around the world. These stories can range from oddities of nature, to extraordinary human feats, to bizarre cultural practices, to historical curiosities. What makes these stories "unbelievable" is that they often defy our expectations of what is normal or possible. For example, a story might feature a person with extraordinary talent or skill, such as the ability to hold their breath underwater for an unusually long time. Another story might describe an unusual animal or plant with a unique adaptation or behavior. However, another story might recount a historical event or cultural practice that seems strange or shocking by contemporary standards.
While some of the stories presented in Ripley's Believe It or Not may be true, others may be based on legend, folklore, or exaggeration. Nevertheless, the appeal of the franchise lies in its ability to capture the imagination and inspire a sense of wonder and curiosity. By showcasing the unusual and unexpected, Ripley's Believe It or Not invites us to broaden our v perspectives and challenge our assumptions about what is possible or normal. The parallelism here is between the incredible, unusual stories Ripley is known for and the incredible stories that exist at the intersection of religion and race.
Within the pronunciation of this study, "Reconciling Race and Religion" is language that suggests a need to bring together or find common ground between two essential aspects of identity; race and religion. The word "reconciling" implies a process of resolving differences or conflicts, while the use of "race" and "religion" highlights the significance of these factors in shaping personal and collective identity. The subtitle "The Role of the Marketplace Ministry" narrows the focus to the intersectionality of race and religion in a specific context, namely the marketplace. This suggests that the study will explore how race and religion intersect and influence each other in economic or business settings, and how this may impact individual experiences and outcomes. This parallelism creates a sense of intrigue and curiosity, inviting readers to explore the complex and sometimes enigmatic connections between religion and race and marketplace. This project overviews the complex issues of race, religion, and cultural engagement within the African American believer, synthesizes the biblical foundations for reconciliation, and offers a framework for how marketplace ministry can bridge the gap between the church and marketplace.
Reconciling race and religion for African Americans is an opportunity to address the unique historical and systemic injustices that have impacted their experiences of race and religion in America. It creates space and opportunity to acknowledge and honor the complexity and diversity of African American religious traditions and to recognize the role that these traditions have played in promoting social justice and resistance to oppression while working towards building bridges and creating a more unified community. Through a series of vi interviews, this project investigates the inner and external turmoil African American believers experience in church and culture. It uncovers the internal struggles that believers frequently face and validates how their cultural experiences in the marketplace can shape their spiritual path. Most significantly, it offers particular ways in which the marketplace can participate in reconciling issues of race and religion within the African American church context.
Burgs, Shawn, "Believe It or Not: Discovering the Role of Marketplace Ministry in Reconciling Race and Religion in the African American Church" (2023). DMin Project Theses. 11.