Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Church's Role in Racial Reconciliation

From time to time, I wade into the deep end of topics I know very little about.  Usually, these topics just hurt my heart and I want to try to do my part to make them better.  The last time I did this it was also about racism.  But God has put this on my heart so here we go...

Last week at the Orange Conference, Dr. Bernice A. King spoke.  Dr. King is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter.  She was 5 when her father was killed.

The theme of #OC17 was For Our Neighbors.  One of the strands that came from that was the idea of being for our neighbors, even when our neighbors are different from us.  Valuing all voices.  At the beginning of Dr. King's conversation, I tweeted this:
Orange was founded by and is lead by Reggie Joyner.  Reggie is an older white gentleman.  I found it telling that he was leading this conversation. Orange has African American speakers and leaders.  Reggie could have chosen for one of them to lead the conversation with Dr. King. But he did not, he did it himself, sending a powerful message.  Reggie has a heart for the next generation and not just the ones who look like him!

I guess I should back up and explain "conversation".  Dr. King did not stand on the stage and talk to the audience.  She, Reggie, Cara Powell, and another leader (this was the first session after lunch and we were running late getting back, forgive me).  They all sat at a table to the left of the stage and talked.  It was clear that Dr. King and Reggie had a friendship.  This was not their first encounter.  This was a continuation of many other conversations.

What has haunted me since the session is something Dr. King said about her father's death.  She said it wasn't hatred that killed her father.  It was apathy and indifference of God's children that killed him.  Southern pastors had the opportunity to join with Dr. King and bring racial reconciliation to the South.  But they did not.  This spoke volumes.

In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus tells us to the love God most of all but then love your neighbor as yourself.  He did not say love the neighbors you like the best.  He did not say love the neighbors who look like you.  Love. Your. Neighbors.

Friends, let's not miss the opportunity again.  Let's work towards racial reconciliation by starting conversations with those who aren't like us.  Let's visit each other's churches and work together.  We are ALL God's children.  And he has commanded us to love one another.

It's not easy but it is important.  It may feel awkward.  But start the conversation.  Love someone different from you today.  Take the next step in love.