Fumbling With Love: The First Step Toward Cultivating A Beloved Community A Bible Study Addressing Four Psychological Barriers to Racial Reconciliation

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2022

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This thesis explores some key reasons why it is often very difficult for Christians to love “racially” different Christians. Examining over eighty years of neuroscience and psychological research reveals key understandings about how the brain works when experiencing people who are racially different. Four psychological processes are major contributors to implicit biases that form mental barriers, feed stereotypes, cause discrimination, and lead to individual and institutional racism. These implicit biases are key obstacles to our call to cultivate a beloved community. Research suggests that once biases are identified, actions that counter biases are effective when the stimulus is ongoing. Building off these findings, I design a Bible Study referencing group psychology and theological reflection to be used with an intentionally diverse group of church leaders. By focusing on brain processes that impede racial reconciliation in conversation with Scripture, I develop a tool that begins healing to some of the forces that undermine unity and violate the integrity of the body of Christ.

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Hodges, Janice Williams (2022). Fumbling With Love: The First Step Toward Cultivating A Beloved Community A Bible Study Addressing Four Psychological Barriers to Racial Reconciliation. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25016.

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