There are so many things we have done during the past year and a half that I don’t think I would have ever believed we would or could do them as a church before the pandemic _ and all the other social shifts we have experienced since March 2020.
One of them has been our summer podcast. I could have imagined us hosting our own podcast, but I never thought we would have been able to share and reflect on the kinds of conversations that have taken place on our podcasts during the past two summers – conversations with mission partners, members and pastors sharing their struggles and hopes when it comes to a life of faith, and open dialogue around issues of race.
That is especially true when it comes to last week’s episode.
On that podcast, I shared a conversation with three active members of our church – Joan LaLeike, David Jones and Chuck Speed. All three are members of our Anti-Racism Taskforce, and more importantly, they identify as people of color.
We have had hundreds of conversations over the past years about systemic racism and white privilege – around dinner tables, in classes, book groups, small groups, and simply one on one, at public vigils and in private moments with friends. But I would guess that the vast majority of our church members have never heard anything like the conversation that Joan, David and Chuck had together.
They talk openly about why they chose to join BMPC, and also what it is like to be a person of color in a majority white congregation.
What I really love about their conversation is their hopefulness and their acknowledgement that our work to be more anti-racist as an institution and individuals is not something that will be finished even in our lifetime. I believe so many of us bring an urgency to this work and a desire to “fix” the problem, because we have not even begun to understand the depth and breadth of the issue. They do. But rather than being discouraged, they have all committed to being thoughtfully and gracefully engaged in leading us through this kind of generational work.
If you have never listened to a BMPC podcast, or if you don’t usually listen to podcasts, I would ask you to listen to this episode. When I was walking home after we recorded this podcast, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for their willingness to lead on this issue as well as a gratitude for work that is so important. Click here to listen to their episode.
I especially hope that when you listen to their conversation that it encourages you to be a part of this work we are doing as a church – to reinvest in work that you have already done, or maybe to take a first step towards being a part of future conversations like this as well.