These have been difficult days for the United States of America. On this website, I previously spoke out about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. Then I spoke out about the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesota as well as about the subsequent protests and rioting. Like all of us, my reactions have been shaped by my own relevant personal experiences. I cherish the international and ethnic diversity in my own extended family.
However, I do not personally know what it is like to live as a person of color in America. Yes, I am proudly part Hispanic, but that is not obvious from my physical appearance. At this particular moment, our society is reeling from several high-profile incidents that have resulted in the killings of African Americans. At this particular moment, my African American brothers and sisters in Christ are urgently asking to be heard about some hardships and negative experiences they have had.
1 Corinthians 12:26 is clear that when one part of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer together.
So in this “Conversations about Race” video series, I am seeking to do a bit less speaking out and eagerly making my own points, to instead step back and do more listening. I will be intentionally sharing the platform of our website and video channel with brothers and sisters in Christ who are also people of color, particularly African Americans. Of course, there are others with valuable things to say. But at this particular moment, those of us who are not African American especially owe it to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are to listen to their voices.
Obviously, no one featured in this series speaks for all African Americans or all of any other group. I certainly do not speak for all whites, all part-Puerto-Ricans, all Millennials, or all United Methodist laymen. Every individual featured speaks for himself or herself.
But we hope that these conversations will be edifying for you, and may also provide helpful models of active listening.
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For this opening conversation, I am joined by author, doctoral candidate, and incoming North Georgia United Methodist Men president Odell Horne, Jr.
We had a wide-ranging discussion on George Floyd, Confederate flags and monuments, biblical and theological foundations for how we should think about matters of racial injustice, Martin Luther King’s vision of the beloved community, the importance of reconciliation, and Christian alternatives to “cancel culture.”
At times, I invited Horne to directly respond to views which do not reflect my own mindset, but which are widespread enough to merit discussion.
The video is below:
If you prefer, you can download an audio-only version of this interview from Soundcloud here: