Friday, October 2, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Introducing Stephanie Bankhead, one of the backup writers!

Introducing Stephanie Bankhead, in her words:

“Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” 
–Genesis 1:26–27 (NRSV)

We (humankind) are created in the image of God. 

What does that mean in our everyday lives and do we all consider this truthful? How do we walk this out? The Word of God has proven over the years to be absolute truth to me. It is my firm belief that every person walking on this planet God shaped in His own image. Because of that, there is a dignity endowed every person.

It is not enough to know about the oppression and atrocities waged against Black people. We all need to jump into the journey with them. We need to repent of the sins of our ancestors, the white Europeans. Let's come beside them and lament on their behalf.

A few years ago I would have told you that my ancestors were from Italy. We had nothing to do with the slave trade or mistreatment of Black people. The funny thing is, every time I read the Bible, it ends up "reading me." At the end of Deuteronomy, before Moses died, he admonishes the people for the sin they committed against God upon leaving Egypt. The specific sins he refers to are actually sins their parents committed. He was holding them accountable for the sins of their ancestors. This is not an isolated incident in Scripture. Both in Ezra and Daniel, the prophets offer a prayer of repentance for the sins of the people. Sins that they did not commit.

I'm taking their lead. While meeting weekly with my friend, Andrea, I am repenting of the sins of my European fathers. We are having the hard conversations. She is sharing from her experience as a Black woman in America. And I am sharing from mine as a White European woman. We are dreaming for a better, more fair future for her children and grandchildren.

My hope is that through my experience and recent revelation other White sisters wake up to the injustice that is going on under our noses. Relationships are key to healing. When you know a person’s story, empathy can happen. Our plan is to invite others into our small group to continue the hard conversations. Our goal is to forge relationships that bring about the love of God into this world in a bigger way.

Wouldn't it be amazing for our story to inspire others to begin small group relationships with a diverse group of people and for this Christ-like love to spread like wildfire? We have adopted the motto, "Who is your one today?" The plan is to influence and love one person each day. And to invite them into this journey of change. 

So, who is YOUR one today? It all starts with only one.

Author Bio:
Stephanie Bankhead is a Bible teacher, mentor and author of several Bible studies. 

Stephanie has worked at a local church as the Women’s Ministry Leader since 2013. In 2018 she became an ordained teaching Pastor. Before that, she worked as the director of a very successful youth volleyball club. What both of these experiences taught her is that women are still little girls inside. Deep down we are all still asking the same questions, “Am I capable? Am I attractive? Am I enough?”

Stephanie delivers sermons and speaks at women’s events on a multitude of topics. Her favorite topic is teaching people what the Bible says about their own identity in God. 

Stephanie lives in Amarillo, Texas with her husband of 32 years. They have a rescue pup who barks too much, and a bird abandoned when her two grown children flew the nest. Her four grandchildren are the apples of her eye.

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