Hope is Alive (February 28, 2021)
A few days ago I had the privilege of participating in a panel on bringing ethnic reconciliation in the Church. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had, and it brought tears to the eyes of several who watched. After it was over, one person said, “I’ve been so tired that I’ve been ready to give up, but hearing you all talk, I have hope again. Hope is alive!” Please watch the entire webinar if you can (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u2dAh8fdgQ), but here is an excerpt moderated by Pastor Adrian Reeves of NAAMC, asking us how Pastor Rickie Bradshaw and I started Reconciliation Fellowship:
Pastor Rickie: Two older guys got together right after George Floyd's event and began to ask the question, "What do we need to do about that?" So the conversation began when my white brother gave me a call and said Rickie, “How are you doing?” And I couldn't help but kind of pause a little bit to say... this is interesting that he's calling me to find out how am I doing. And then I posed the question to him a little later on. “Now let me ask you how are you doing?” And that's when we discovered that we were experiencing something that others need to experience; the question, “how are you doing?” And then listening, being empathetic as well being concerned, having an open ear.
And our conversation got so good that we said others need to experience this conversation of “How are you doing?” I shared about being the first African-American in an all-white school and being beaten up twice. He was able to listen; to be able to sympathize, to be able to hear. And out of that Don and I came up with what we believe is a biblical response based on our cultural experiences and based upon our past relationship since we've known each other through church planting and working in prisons together.
I met Don who was this kind of guy that was not hiding from the race issue -- he was
trying to engage in it, becoming an advocate for those who could not speak for themselves, especially in criminal justice. So that's how we got together and it's been fun to ask the question every time we meet, “How's it going; how are you doing?”
Don: We were in a conversation and so much was happening in the culture and in the media, and we said, “We need to have a biblical, kingdom-minded, Jesus-centered approach to this that seems to be lacking in a lot of the things that we're hearing." So we said, “What if we started a quarterly zoom meeting that was a fellowship, not just an educational platform, but actually a time for believers to come together, look in the Word, seek Jesus and his Kingdom together in relationship and community. We're praying that the fruit of it comes outside in the meeting; that the meeting just introduces people to relationship with someone who's not like them themselves.
Adrian: Yes, that's what I found about your model that is really helpful it's deeply,