“Winning an award from a Christian organization for a book about fighting racism is ironic given that a certain Christian college reported that it was a ‘mistake’ to invite me to speak on the very same subject.”

Well, in a way, it was. The “mistake” was their thinking that we can just have some nice words & feel good emotions regarding difficult & controversial topics where we are discussing embedded systems of sin, especially when that sin empowers much of the culture that is embraced by the very people who invited you in.

I'm not sure what it is that we want in our preaching from our preachers. We want, we say, “truth.” And so we have lectures about the familiar sins of others—their faults, their habits, their choices—but thankfully we are not like them, so we are not such “sinners.”

Talking about what has been a foundational truth about our nation, one that we have been trained all our lives to not see, is going to be disconcerting and perhaps even divisive. A discussion about such a foundation is the “Bruno” of our times—the banana-pants topic that we all kinda throw a side-eye to now and then, but not something that we want to face head on because if we allow even the smallest bit of recognition to appear, then the entire edifice of trust & belief might fall apart, much like a house will fall apart if the foundation is built upon sand. (I remember a long-ago teacher in Roman Palestine who mentioned something about this...)

And tied to that political foundation of the nation is the church (in broad terms) of that nation that arose contemporaneously, developing side by side, largely in full agreement with, and even guiding, the purposes and policies of the nation, until we arrive at our present day where critiquing our nation's history and policies feels the same as attacking the people of God and God's kin-dom.

So when an institution that exists in agreement with the foundational principles of this nation invites someone in to talk about these principles in a way that exposes some of them as, frankly, unjust, especially when that discussion is in the context of an institution notionally committed to “truth,” then that discussion—and that person leading the discussion—is going to be seen as a problem, the decision a mistake, and the situation an issue to be handled by the PR team to explain away the contradictory messages from the institution as compared to the invited guest‘s work.

You don‘t really share a lot about the struggles that your pursuit of your calling and your commitment to speaking truth brings into your life, and I can understand that. It‘s beyond my understanding to feel what it might be like to be the focus of a public attack by an institution that was once a “friend.” So I‘m not going to just say “oh, speak the truth and let the chips fly where they may.” It‘s easy to advise other people to put themselves into such predicaments.

I‘m just going to say that I recognize the conflict, the pressure, the pushback, and the exhaustion that comes from having to explain yourself, again and again, and to continually need to start at square one with people who do not want to make the effort to understand you and what you are talking about. And that I‘m grateful for all that you do to help *us* all, we who want to follow Jesus into truth and into liberty.

As much as I know how to do, I‘m going to support you. God didn‘t call us to make people see. That‘s God‘s work. We‘re just called to do the ordinary work of speaking, teaching, correcting, and loving in partnership with God who promises to grow the harvest when the seed is planted in good soil.

So if I might dip my toe ever-so-delicately into a conversational style that is not where I usually find myself, I would simply say to you, brother Jemar, that you‘re doing the work that you‘re called and fitted to do. I pray that our Lord would be your defender and protector, guiding you and strengthening you, and giving you the wisdom to see your next steps and the grace to see that those who are in opposition are not strong enough to thwart the purposes of God.

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"How to Fight Racism" has been my guiding program with our Westwood Methodist, Cincinnati core group of anti-racists. I am routinely sending out information from you, Black Lives Matter, and anti-racist articles so Awareness is a constant. Thru our Mission many privileged whites in our church build Relationships with people of color so their understanding and a need to commit is fostered. I am a passionate ant-racist and some of them join me in direct Commitment. Thank you for "How to Fight Racism."

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