The Sparks Fly Upward – Part 1

Discussion Questions

“For affliction does not come from the dust,
neither does trouble sprout from the ground,
for man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.”
Job 5:6,7

Part One: The Segregated Community

Note: The Sparks Fly Upward video was shown by empty tomb volunteers in various churches in the Champaign-Urbana area when it was first produced in 1986 and 1987. These questions provided a basis of discussion after the viewing.

  • Do you have any memories of segregation in Champaign-Urbana or in your home community? If so, would you be willing to share them? What effect have these memories had on you?
  • How are racial relations in Champaign-Urbana today? Are they getting better or worse? Explain.
  • The statement has been made that if you grow up in the United States, you inevitable have some racist views. In what ways do you find yourself thinking in racist ways?
  • How would you evaluate race relations in local schools today?
  • Is busing a legitimate solution to segregation in schools? Why or why not? If you don’t think it is, what are alternative solutions?
  • If you are White, react to this statement: “I never owned slaves. That’s in the past. Why should I feel a sense of guilt?” If you are Black, how would you respond to a White person who makes this statement?
  • Let’s say you are with a group of friends and someone makes a racial joke. How would you respond? How do you think Jesus would respond to a racial joke?
  • Have you encountered racism in real estate in Champaign-Urbana? Explain.
  • Have you encountered racism in local hiring practices for jobs?
  • One big problem has been the tendency of Whites to leave a neighborhood when Blacks move into the area. Is this a problem any longer in Champaign-Urbana? Explain.
  • In talking about racism, Richard Wright once wrote, “We all, deep in our hearts, know exactly what to do, though most of us would rather die than do it.” Is this true? Do we know exactly what to do about racism? Explain.

“My prayer for all of them is they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father–that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:21