“I am so tired of talking about race,” said Pastor Jason Perry to the other 40 people gathered at Living Springs last Saturday morning, “but I am committed to keep talking—that’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make—because it is, essentially, the message of the Gospel. We have been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17–19), and if we as a church cannot demonstrate that reconciliation, how will the world ever know?”
Those comments from Pastor Jason came toward the end of an hour of discussion about a 45-minute video we had just watched together, Episode 2 of Race: The Power of an Illusion. (See last week’s blog for more details.) And, actually, Pastor Jason had spent eight hours the previous day at a denominational meeting about diversity in the church. As a black pastor in a predominantly white denomination, he has every reason to feel tired.
But I’ve heard the same sentiment from white people at Living Springs, though for different reasons. “Why do we have to keep on talking about this?,” they wonder. “We’re already diverse. We already get it.”
So I appreciated Pastor Jason’s reminder that diversity is not just a social justice issue or a political issue. It’s a Kingdom issue. We are never finished with it. The people who “get it” need to keep sharing with the people who don’t, because there are always people who don’t, and even the ones who think they do, often don’t.
Sure it’s a sacrifice. Sometimes the conversation is tiresome, and sometimes hope is thin, but that only underscores the importance of being in community with each other—for we all get tired at different points along the way. When one is discouraged, another may be getting a second wind! (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
In case you weren’t at the event, the video below shows a few glimpses of the fellowship we shared:
What about you? Are you tired of talking about racism? Or would you be willing to engage in conversation like this?