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Eric Mason: The Obstacles to Apologetics in Black, Urban Communities

Eric Mason
Photo courtesy of Dr. Eric Mason

Dr. Eric Mason is the founder and pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the founder and president of Thriving, an urban resource organization committed to developing leaders for ministry in the urban context. Eric is also the author of several books, including “Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injusticeand “Urban Apologetics: Restoring Black Dignity with the Gospel.”

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Key Questions for Eric Mason

-How is urban ministry different from doing ministry in other contexts?

-What are the cultural arguments against Christianity in the Black community?

-How can pastors of predominantly white communities be more effective in building and helping you build bridges in your community?

-Do you think the word “woke” is still useful?

Key Quotes From Eric Mason 

“My context is a complex urban context in that it’s superlatively transient.”

“Because our church is transient, our neighborhood is transient, our church is more regional now than a community church, even though we do community things for people in the community, which is an adjustment you have to make.”

“‘Urban’ is no longer a geographical term, though, because of the internet. The internet has transported, in my estimation, urban culture globally. And so I believe the internet is urban.”

“Because culture is so transportable now, everybody is dealing with urban issues.”

“There has been a strong job done on the Black community to say that Christianity is the white man’s religion.”

“In the Black community, we’re not talking about the gap theory and arguing about the gap theory. And, you know, the Jesus Seminar…back when they had the Emergent Church and all of that, like those were never issues in the Black community. Fundamentally, in the Black community, one of the main issues is the issue of dignity restoration.”

“Evangelicalism in the West doesn’t understand that when it denies systemic racism, it literally makes it difficult for Black Christians to evangelize…why would you be a part of a religion where people will be racist towards you in this country, but then deny it’s happening?”