Wanted to check in with you about our 21 Day Racial Challenge where participants commit to watching or reading or reflecting on racial issues using the resources on our website. So far we have had 133 people sign up for the challenge. Thank you!
I have watched the movies “Mercy” and “13.” I have read the book, No Ashes in the Fire and participated in two different small groups talking about these issues. I have preached on it, prayed about it, reflected on it. The purpose is not so much to solve the problem, but to understand the problem.
I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to my June 7th sermon, “I Can’t Breathe.” In my 35 years of preaching, this one sermon has received by far the most comments. While most of them were positive, I have had three negative ones (far less than I expected).
One was an anonymous, unsigned, no return address letter in the mail. I scanned it briefly, taking in a couple of the angry words but then quickly threw it away. If you can’t sign it. I can’t read it.
One was an email from a kinder, gentler member, written in a way that expressed their discomfort and disagreement. They offered some other readings to balance the ones on the resource page. They wrote it in a way that I could hear and receive it. Well done.
One was much more direct, stating all of the “yeah, but” arguments I used in the sermon. My response was an encouragement to go through the 21 Day Challenge and join the conversation on August 2 when Willie Pinson and I talk through some of these difficult and uncomfortable issues. My only caveat was this—ask those tough questions (What about black on black murders? Why are 70% of black children born out of wedlock? Where are the father figures today in the black households?), but ask them in a way to gain understanding. Don’t ask them in a way to put down or accuse or silence or to play “gotcha!” There is a difference in how the question is asked and how it can be received.
One woman shared with me this 9-minute video aptly entitled, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.” In this series of videos, the man navigates through those difficult questions and gives his perspective on how they might be addressed.
This is a highly charged issue. We can quickly get sidetracked by strong emotions that shut down the conversation and draw lines in the sand. We must walk this path carefully, thoughtfully, and gracefully in such a way to understand it before “fixing” it.
Stay with it! And join Willie Pinson with me on ZOOM on August 2nd and/or 9th at 6:30 pm.