A few months ago I watched CNN’s documentary series “The Sixties.” During that time in the United States of America the atmosphere was thick with conversations, thoughts, and feelings on race. That decade is marred with the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., as all three were deeply woven in the fabric of that time. All three are historically relevant in the context of the United States of America and the problem of race.
Soon after watching these documentaries, during the first week of July, I woke up three straight mornings, deeply saddened with news of death. I remember having this eerie feeling that I was back in the sixties. How could this be? Haven’t we come so far?
Though each incident occurred in three different states, the topic of race swirled around each tragedy with the ferocity of a tornado. Whether constructive or destructive, conversations were happening at an enormous pace.
Even the church, regardless of the motivation, were having this conversation. A few weeks prior to the events of the first week of July 2016, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) voted to “repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial sins.” Christian institutions and organizations are finding it harder and harder to deny or turn a blind eye to the need for these conversations to take place.
As predominately white institutions seek to have these conversations, they must seek to include minorities in the discussion. A race conversation being had amongst one race will be limited in its effectiveness, and may actually prove to be counterproductive. All races must partake in this conversation together for ultimate effectiveness.
Having been involved in some capacity with a few predominately white institutions that fly the Christian banner, I have been asked, on multiple occasions, for suggestions to improve race relations within their organization—specifically between white and black people. In the next few weeks I will discuss a few things that I have shared with them from my own personal experiences. I will not claim to be an academic expert, but I can expertly speak on my own experiences and how they have affected me (and so can you!).
Let us not run from these conversations, but rather run to these conversations.
Let’s talk. It’s time. We cannot allow this opportunity to pass us by. And as the people of CHRIST, let the scriptures guide our conversations:
James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Grace and Peace.