Earlier this spring I invited a number of African American UBA pastors to meet with me for a candid conversation on black-white relationships. This was long before the events of recent days. Our conversation was honest, candid and forthright. I will be forever grateful to each of these men for the time we spent together.
As they shared their stories there were times when I was heartbroken. I heard what it was like to grow up in a sharecropper's home. I heard stories of bias, discrimination and violence perpetrated on these men and/or their families just because of their race. No one should live through the things they lived through.
We talked about white privilege, systemic racism, implicit racial bias, profiling, prejudice, discrimination and a host of other issues. We touched on some larger issues--black on black violence, the imbalance in incarceration, the breakdown of the family.
I'll be candid. There were also times when I felt defensive, like I was doing something wrong just being white just as I'm sure they must feel for being black.
Through it all, though, I believe we all felt safe. We trusted one another enough to have a very difficult conversation.
If you're wondering, we didn't solve anything. But I believe we started something important. It was a good first step. Now I think it's time to take another.
I believe the only hope for resolving the racial tension we see in America today is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But where do we begin?
I am convinced the first step is to broaden the scope of understanding and empathy. For that reason I've asked three of the men who met with me this spring—pastors John Ogletree, Bryant Lee and Parris Patrick--to share their stories in our next Quarterly Associational meeting.
I hope you will join us Thursday, August 25, at 10 a.m. at White Oak Baptist Church, 3615 Mangum Road, Houston, 77092 for what I believe will be an important step toward building the kinds of relationships that honor Christ and extend his kingdom in our city.
For more information or to register for the meeting, click here: Church in Black and White.