Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Carole Spencer, PhD
Ekaterina Lomperis, PhD
MaryKate Morse, PhD
The increase of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States is on a trajectory to shift the demographic of the Church over time to majority non-white. Because of the abolitionist spirit of its genesis, Free Methodist church contexts have the historical and theological foundations to become hosts for multicultural communities and culturally engaging conversations leading to racial justice. The homogeneous demographic of many Free Methodist churches today, however, results in blindness toward privilege and resistance toward social engagement, reinforcing an insulated identity narrative.
Particularly in rural and suburban areas where the surrounding demographic is shifting at a slower rate, majority-culture Free Methodist churches do not understand their role in racial justice. Therefore, this dissertation seeks to answer this question: What could it look like for white people to do their own internal work to take responsibility for their part in racial justice, particularly in majority-culture churches where the surrounding community is also majority white? First, this research recovers and analyzes the inception of the Free Methodist movement in order to understand the gap between its abolitionist beginnings and its present reality. Second, this work identifies the need for a theology of liberation in Free Methodist churches by reviewing the strengths and challenges of Liberation Theology. Third, this research engages the imprecatory psalms and what their presence in Scripture means for our engagement with our own emotion. Finally, this research analyzes Carl Jung’s understanding of the human shadow in order to consider the implications of shadow-work on race relations in the Church. Ultimately, this author intends to develop a strategy for church leadership in majority-culture Free Methodist contexts to give vision for a way forward in the efforts of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Church
Simmons, Liz, "A Neo-Free Methodism: Shadow-Work as a Model for Racial Justice" (2020). Doctor of Ministry. 388.