The Sparks Fly Upward – Part 2

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 Two: The Segregated Church

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.

  • If you attend a predominately Black church, has your congregation ever held any activities with a predominately White church? And if you attend a predominately White church, has your congregation ever held any activities with a predominately Black church? If so, do you still maintain a relationship with that church? If not, do you think it would be worthwhile to begin such a relationship? Will it do any good?
  • React to this statement: “If Blacks prefer to worship among themselves and Whites prefer to worship among themselves, that is perfectly fine. Integration is unnecessary.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” What does it mean to be “perfectly united in mind and thought?” What would it take for Black and White Christians to reach this goal?
  • How has the Church supported racist views? How has it successfully combated racist views? What can we learn from its mistakes and its accomplishments?
  • Would it work to merge two already established churches–one predominately White and the other predominately Black? What would be the major obstacles?
  • Besides merging two established churches, what other ways could integration take place? For example, would it work to send a small core of people from one church to integrate another church?
  • One system of church growth says that churches grow faster when they are made up of like-mined people. How do you think God views this attitude toward church growth?
  • React to this statement: “The primary reason that churches do not integrate is the fear of interracial marriage.”
  • What else about integration do we fear?
  • Do you think integration of churches would harm Black culture? If so, how? How do you think integration could take place without damaging the crucial role played by the Black church?
  • If you are White, have you ever considered regularly attending a predominately Black church? Why or why not? If you are Black, have you ever considered regularly attending a predominately White church? Why or why not?
  • Whether you are White or Black, could you feel comfortable attending a church in which you were a minority?

“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