Conversations on Race and Racial Reconciliation

As my last post indicated I’ve been struggling a bit with my other workload and writer’s block on this blog. But in the wake of the grand jury’s verdict in Ferguson last night I feel like something positive and constructive needs to be said.

A friend pointed me to this video and so I’m sharing it with you.

It’s not a perfect video. It wasn’t filmed yesterday. Thirty minutes is hardly enough time to solve all the challenges confronting Ferguson and other communities around the United States that live under the shadow of racism. Some of the statements in the discussion made me really wish the pause button would let me jump in and seek clarification.

I share the video because in it I see hope. I see hope because church leaders are discussing serious issues around racism. I see hope because they’re willing to talk about difficult subjects. I see hope because I know the passion these guys display for racial harmony is not an act for the camera. I see hope because this video models the conversations that need to take place in churches around the country. It’s conversations like these that can open eyes and hearts leading to transformation and reconciliation. And I see hope because you’re taking time to watch it.

Recommendations

Although I’m passionate about the important role that multi-ethnic churches need to play in the kingdom of God, my own well is pretty dry on this topic at times. This is a primary reason I launched this blog last year. Sure, I have thoughts, ideas, experiences and reflections of my own, but I need conversations with others to be the leader my church requires.

Along the way, I’ve often been reminded that LISTENING is one of the most important skills for ministering, or participating, in a multi-ethnic church. I can’t speak into the lives and stories of my congregation if I don’t know their stories. If I’ve never heard their pain, I can’t be part of their salve.

So this week’s blog is simple. I want to point you to two excellent resources.

The first is an interview with Don McLaughlin. You will find it HERE on the Newsworthy with Norsworthy Podcast. Or you can find the podcast on itunes. Luke Norsworthy has some very interesting guests and I recommend you subscribe to his podcast.

The interview with McLaughlin was posted on 20 August, less than 2 weeks after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. McLaughlin is the pulpit minister at the North Atlanta Church of Christ. This is perhaps the largest multiracial Church of Christ in the United States.

In the interview McLaughlin briefly discusses racial attitudes in the US. He provides a great perspective on the humanity of all parties involved in the Ferguson tragedy. In a series of narratives he describes how racism has touched his family, and how his church has taken steps to welcome all people, regardless of “what color they’re wrapped in”.

The second resource is a blog post published by a friend of mine: Sean Palmer. You can read it HERE. One point that struck me from Sean’s post was the observation that,

“The strongest indicator of race relations in America is the church. Well, it’s the church, plus backyard barbeques or girlfriends’ weekends and guys’ poker nights – the strongest indicator of racial relations is who we are with when we get to choose who to be with.”

God’s call to unity and oneness doesn’t apply merely to what takes place within the walls of the church building. For those of us in churches with racially diverse memberships, our task is not complete. We can only truly consider ourselves a reconciled church when the church gatherings outside the building reflects the diversity found inside the building. A multiracial church filled with mono-racial friendships and social events is not reconciled.

Sean also does a great job of highlighting the fact that God is greater than culture. I really hope that if you’ve taken the time to read this far, you’ll take the time to read his post too. You’ll be blessed.