Though most of the American churches in the past failed to be a people that manifested the kingdom of God in society during racialized chattel slavery, as well as during Jim Crow white supremacy, we have the opportunity to repent and live into a new and more Jesus-shaped story, being a people that do what God requires; doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly before our God. (Micah 6:8)
American evangelicals and mainliners often seem worlds apart when it comes to engagement with social issues. Take prisons as a case in point. The rhetoric diverges along the lines that one might expect: mainliners rail against the American mass incarceration system, the new Jim Crow that locks away minorities and the poor and is sustained by in-prison private labor and for-profit facilities. They want to fight this sinful system through activism (protests and petitions), academia (lectures and scholarly books), and artistic endeavors (photo essays and poetry). Evangelicals seek inmate conversion.