Recently, I was invited to write an Op-Ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer exploring issues of race and the church here in the Philadelphia community. More specifically, there was an interest in following up to explore the significance of the Under My Skin: Courageous Conversations About Race and the Church event that American Bible Society hosted back on Feb. 8th, 2016. While there are many great events and gatherings popping up across the country that are actively exploring the rising racial tensions within our communities, this event sought to separate itself by empowering attendees to find a greater personal agency and become the solutions to the problems that they're seeing.
The reality is that while race is an increasingly hot topic within our society, churches across America remain just as fractured and struggle just as much with figuring out how to reconcile the racial disparities in their communities. However, when we stop listening to be understood and start listening to understand, we will find ourselves better equipped to not only connect with our brothers and sisters of other ethnicities, but we'll also find more opportunities to spread seeds of hope and love, and speak biblical truth to racial injustice.
"Unfortunately, because of the lack of racial diversity within most churches, American Christians have been reluctant to ask these questions. Perhaps we are afraid to appear hypocritical. But the result is that Christians of different races rarely come together to discuss the topic... As tensions over race and ethnicity heat up across the United States, it's easy to complain about (or ignore) the state of our fractured communities. But if Philadelphia is to heal its own race-relations issues, churches must be willing to play a leading role."