This documentary is about a pastor trying to make a change within the church towards other ethnicity groups mainly African Americans. The documentary was filmed in the late 1960s in Omaha, Nebraska. The churches that were involved in this documentary at this time were Augustana Lutheran Church and Calvin Presbyterian Church which is where African Americans went to church in North Omaha. The documentary was filmed during the time of Jim Crow laws and segregation laws.
The congregation in the church was furious with the pastor because of what he was trying to do. The council members of the church were afraid because they knew if they let African Americans come into the church, they would lose members. “A Time for Burning” really helped me see how the church was and probably still is, just not as noticeable. I am from Mississippi and I really did not know racism was expressed like this in the Midwest. In Mississippi, you still see people expressing racism towards others especially the Caucasian race towards other races.
You see it here in Omaha, too. Racism in Omaha is just more overt racism than it is down in Mississippi. There are some churches in Mississippi that often discriminate against other races, they will not say it to your face but they will put it in there sermons. The church is supposed to be a place where people of all different races can come together as a whole and worship God together. Ernie Chambers viewpoint on Christians is that people do not live the way God should and he was correct about that.
There are some Christians in this day that say they are Christians but treat people of other races different. For the church council members should have went into the homes of different races to show leadership and show they were there to back-up their pastor. Peer pressure is a powerful thing especially in the church. People look at the church more than they think because of their status in the community. The mayor expressed a great point in the meeting because he is showing leadership by not denying African Americans to come and live in Omaha.
When they made the comment about how they should try to work with the handicap before they worked with African Americans really irritated me. I wanted to walk out of the class because that was how irritated I was after that comment was made. The way the pastor just sat there and accepted the way Ernie Chambers was bashing him and the church, he gained a lot of respect from me. He gained respect because any other Caucasian male would have reacted in a negative way instead of just listening. Ernie Chambers would be an awesome Christian because of how unashamed and out spoken he is about the topic.
I feel Ernie Chambers was telling the truth because of the way he explains Christians should act, but Christians act totally different from how God wants to act towards each other. The documentary is still very accurate. I feel the church members of Augustana were being dishonest with themselves and the pastor. For the church to force the pastor out the church shows that they did not want to change and act as “Real Christians” should have. For the people that did not stand up for the pastor, I feel they should have stood up for him because he was doing it for a great cause.