Dr. Meghan McMahonJohnson rejoins Mark and Rex to further discuss issues of race and equality. The three look to identify ways forward to speak out against racism and inequality.
Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host Mark Moore. On today’s episode, we are rejoined by Dr. Megan McMahon Johnson to further our conversation on race, the church and equality, we have so much to learn, and so far to go. But it’s a journey we must take. Hope you enjoy the show. Hope it causes you to think more deeply about these issues.
All right, Megan, and Rex who want to continue our conversation and kind of continue this look at race in America injustice, inequality, and specifically in the church? And that Jessup you know, and I think framing today’s conversation through the lens of what are ways that we can move forward in this conversation? You know, we’ve, we’ve kind of talked a lot about some different areas, we’ve we’ve looked back at Dr. King and his letter from Birmingham Jail, and which I think, for me is just again, been so helpful in framing how we can view it now particularly in the church. And I’ve just been doing a you know, kind of a deep dive into the 1960s, particularly kind of that 63 to 68. So, Rex, oh, you know, bring some history lessons, and then you can correct me today.
Since I’m by far the oldest person I think. Actually, I actually remember some of that. Yeah, you have first hand knowledge. I remember being in elementary school and having to close the windows on our bus, because of the tear gas in the streets because of slam stations and stuff. Oh, wow. Yeah. Where were you at? And so I was in New Mexico. Yes. New Mexico. Yeah. And in Albuquerque, and yeah. I mean, we had our own, you know, race riots there. I mean, honestly, we did. And I remember going downtown after one of them, because everybody did just to see the damage. And honestly, it’s, you know, sort of voyeurism, I guess, right? Yeah. But I remember going down Central Avenue in Albuquerque. This is when I’m in elementary school, actually. And seeing every window smashed out and having the National Guard on the street, you know, and as a kid, you know, seeing soldiers in their jeeps this would be for Humvees, this jeeps? I mean, we’re surprising. They’re not like riding donkeys are curious. Anyway, long ago. But I do remember just being, you know, with their 50 caliber machine, I don’t know if they were loaded or not, but they were riding around, it was just, gosh, oh my god. Wow. And so, yeah, the 60s were something they really were,
as a truth. And, and I think we can, for me why I’ve been kind of diving into that, because it’s like, Man, what are the lessons we didn’t learn at that time, that we can hopefully 60 years later, Start to begin to learn, you know, and, and, and that way, you have the luxury of looking back and be like, wow, this is these are key areas where we missed the conversation? Because it seems to be I mean, there’s been kind of these obviously, pivotal moments, right? I mean, you have emancipation in the late 60s of the 1800s. Right? And we know that that didn’t solve the problem. Right? It’s it solved one of the problems. But it didn’t solve and that’s, that’s one of the things that’s been interesting to me. I’ve been reading a book by Mark Noll. That is God and race in American politics. I actually have that book in my actually have an amazing shelf. There we go. And it’s it has been very fascinating. He kind of goes all the way back to kind of the Civil War era and the Reconstruction Era and moving forward. And he made a connection for me and a distinction that I think were extremely helpful. There we go. If you were if you podcast listeners could see us right now. Hold up that but but he made, he made the connection, and a distinction that I think was pretty helpful. This. For one, it was a distinction between the slavery in the New Testament and the the transatlantic slave trade. And actually, the slavery in the New Testament was not a race based slavery. It was a conquest based slavery and economic based slavery. And actually, in in a majority of maybe parts of the Roman Empire, the the slavery would have been slavery of Caucasian people was right,
right, I think. Yeah, I mean, I think historically, though, there was an ethnic component of that with the Romans, you know, it was always Greeks or de right. Or golf?
Yeah, it was it was an ethnic, it was definitely ethnic. But he made the distinction between race which I thought that was interesting because he brought it up because there were actually people in the US before the Civil War, who were pro slavery, and they were pro slavery for any individual, they thought you should be allowed to enslave anyone. And then people even on the labor side, were like, hey, that’s too far. And so they kept it. And so he made this. So that was an interesting distinction, though. I agree with you, Rex. I mean, there are definitely there were definitely ethnic and, and it was mainly Yeah, Greeks and goals.
Some people would even say, and honestly, I’m not an expert on this, like at all. And so I could just say the statement, and I can’t actually elaborate on it. Okay. Yeah. But but some people say that the whole concept of race, like we think of race didn’t really exist, then, I mean, it doesn’t mean that, you know, there weren’t differences in prejudice, right. All sorts of stuff. But But races, we look at it right now just was kind of a foreign concept. Yeah. Yeah. Interesting.
Yeah. And kind of maybe the stereotypes and the things that are associated with race. And the way then, race was used, especially in the transatlantic slave trade race was used to then keep people down, regardless of anything else. Right. It was, it was almost solely based on race. And so he made that distinction. But then he made this connection. And then that was the connection that the slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. And the North American slave trade was race based. So therefore, during the emancipation and reconstruction, you can outlaw slavery, but you can’t outlaw racism. You can’t You can’t pass a law. And then you just see, I mean, literally, for that next 100 years. And beyond. Exactly.
Try, if you try you try to enforce it, it just didn’t right. Work in the south. Right.
Yeah. And, and it was just, I think, a really good for me a good distinction or connection that was made. That, that it wasn’t just because I think some people can look now and 2020. And think, hey, the black community was freed from slavery 140 years ago. And then even in the 1960s, the civil rights movement moving they kind of think, oh, hey, that is no longer a problem. Like, I think I’ve been hearing that comment more and more like, they have every right that white people have they have. And it’s like, man, when you really look at the history, you can’t, there are certain things you can’t legislate, right, that you can’t make him policy. And it’s that I mean, deep seated racism, and And that, I think, is what continues to come up in the conversation. And so for me, that was kind of a frame of looking forward of like, you can’t just make this claim that everyone is free. And equal in that sense, because of the injustice of racism, and the existence of racism inside and outside the church. And so it seems like that target needs to be focused in more and more on that on racism. So
if Let me try to actually kind of focus our conversation a little bit into, yeah, you know, the current time, for example, because of the Black Lives Matter as a phenomenon, right? I know, many, many people and many of many Christians, and and good people, well, meaning people, people that actually feel that they don’t have a racist bone in their body. But when someone mentions the words, black life matters, often they’ll respond with something that sounds very, very, you know, very, I guess, deeply true. From a theological, you know, standpoint. And that’s like saying, No, all lives matter. But I just know that for many African Americans, when the rejoinder to Black Lives Matter is all lives matter. It seems to mean something else when somebody says that, and so I’m just wondering, you know, what do you think, you know, African Americans, particularly in our society, here, when someone like me, says, All lives matter.
You know, for me, and of course, I can only speak for me but I think the system it would, would, would really apply to anybody. It’s just like somebody’s telling you that you know, in in any sort of, you know, they’re a victim of something You then go and say, Oh, no, that couldn’t have possibly happened. Oh, no, not here. Oh, that, you know, those kinds of things don’t happen anymore. You begin to invalidate people’s experiences. And I think that that is one of the one of the things that I hear if I say Black Lives Matter, and somebody says, All lives matter, well, you’re negating what it is that I’m what I’m saying. You’re negating what’s behind black lives matter? You’re invalidating my experience. And, of course, all lives matter. I don’t think that anybody can argue with that statement. Right? Right. It’s very interesting, though, that when you say Black Lives Matter, there’s always a but there. Oh, but what, uh, oh, but but this Oh, but that and it’s like, well, how come? We can’t just say black lives matter? Right, right. What What is the problem with just being able to say, yes, Black Lives Matter, without having to invalidate a person’s experience or just their standpoint or where they’re coming from? There’s always a butt with it. And I think that that happens a lot. When we talk about the issues that the African American community faces. There’s always the I shouldn’t say always, but there tends to be a an effort to minimize the experience, as opposed to just kind of fully leaning in to the information, even though it may be foreign to a lot of people because they don’t live. They don’t have that same experience. They don’t walk in those shoes. They’re they’re tense there, there is this tendency of minimizing what’s happening to the point where, you know, we don’t really need to focus on that right now. There’s bigger issues at hand, we’ll get to that later, we’ll, or that’s a product, you know, and then you you have the other side of that when people say, well, that’s your own fault. You put yourself in that position. You You did that to yourself, you get you get that people say what about black on black crime, it’s like that is a completely made up construct to deflect what the real issue is. So you you run into those different lanes. I think when you get the all lives matter, response to black lives matter
if you’re changing the subject it right. It’s totally I don’t have to talk about what we were talking about. Because I’m young, it’s a conversation.
Yeah. Well, Pastor Carlin’s, he’s pastor Hill song, East Coast now, I think they’re calling used to be just New York. And then when it was COVID, everything now they’re online, or they were already online, but now they’re now they’re the whole East Coast, church of the whole East Coast, but the Holy Ghost
he made a grant, he actually made this point in a sermon back in 2016. But he made the point, because he was talking about Black Lives Matter. And Megan, he said the exact same thing he said, there is no but after that sentence, right? Black Lives Matter period. There’s no qualification. You don’t have to change the and and he’s he made the comparison. That when Jesus said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, it would be like being like, No, no, Jesus, oh, bless it are all people. That’s not my point. Right? People are blessed. But the point right now, right now I’m speaking specifically to a community that does not feel blessed.
And I think part of it that I’ve been, and this is, well, I want to say something I struggle with all the time. But that’s probably not true, because I am very capable, as a sinful human being of changing the subject, when I myself experienced some cognitive dissonance because cognitive dissonance or, you know, disequilibrium is you know, it’s it’s hard to face sometimes. So it’s easy for me just to kind of go on to the next thing, but yeah, I have been thinking about this when when I forced myself to or circumstances force forced me to think about this. So, you know, I mean, I consider myself a fairly progressive person, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But I am you know, a upper middle class over educated, you know, white male I am I see that every, every day when I look in the mirror, and sometimes I wonder that changing the subject also means that I avoid any of the consequences of actually taking for Example The statement Black Lives Matters and everything behind that seriously. Like, like, you know, is it going to take more than just righteous thoughts and good vibes for this thing to change? You know, what if I have benefitted from white privilege? If now that’s true, and we’ll just make this hypothetical. I personally think it is true, but we’ll just make it a hypothetical right now. Then, you know, what, what is really interesting, we get, we get, you know, this sort of bottom line kind of thing in our society. And I think America’s like that, too, you know, what’s what’s, you know, what’s the cash value of this? And so what’s it gonna cost me? You know, what’s it gonna cost me if this does change? Because I’ve benefited from it being like, it is, you know, not because I’m a horrible person. Okay, maybe, but, but, and I, I, that that’s a, that’s a difficult thing to think of, you know, kind of a scary thing, you know, what’s gonna have to change about my life? Right, the way I walk through life, you know, the things I expect to happen? Well, I
think that’s a good point to bring up. Because when, when we talk about these systemic changes that that have to happen, in order for there to be this kind of true sense of our feeling of change. I don’t, I don’t believe that it means one person has to lose something in order for the other to gain. And that is a, I think, a common misconception when we’ve, again, when we talk about Black Lives Matter, let’s address these systemic issues with our criminal justice system with our education system, within the the board rooms of of these companies, if thing people don’t have to lose in order for others to gain. This is just leveling the playing field, right? We talk so much about equality, and things being equal, but we can’t have it equal until it’s equitable, until people are at the same. They’re on the same playing field with the same advantages. Same disadvantages, right? It’s all at the same level. And I think, if you look at it from that perspective, then it to me when it would seem as if it’s easier to digest what it is, you know, we were talking about the systemic changes that you don’t have to lose anything in order to do this. It’s it’s not about taking away, it’s really about giving to because if we, if we uplift the black community, how much better is society going to be as a whole, because now you’ve got this diverse, incredibly diverse population that is just adding to what we already have. So there’s, there’s no loss in that.
So So do you think that and this is just, you know, kind of the historian in me, right, and the sort of observer of demographics and stuff? You know, we live in California, and California, has already become I guess, the first maybe it’s not the first but you know, I mean, I’ve heard it’s the first sort of, I don’t know, majority minority state, like, like, no single ethnic group has over 50% of the population in California. Right. And, and our country’s getting closer and closer and closer and closer to that. Yeah. And it’s kind of interesting to me, when when the closer we creep to that the more dissonance there seems to be with people, you know, it’s sort of a demographic kind of thing. You know, and and in some ways, I think the demographics might be inevitable. Yeah. And so how are we going to deal with that? How are we going to, and, you know, I grew up in New Mexico, and so we were always super proud of the fact that, you know, we’re very multi I think, so for African American. I mean, honestly, that, that that’s been the this smallest percentage of the population historically in New Mexico. But, you know, we were, you know, we have the highest percentage of Native Americans in the state. As far as percentage of the population, right? We’re about 40% Latino or Hispanic, 40% Anglo. So it’s this multicultural thing, right. And so, that always was on the travel brochures, you know, New Mexico’s this shining beacon, everybody was trying to get people to go to New Mexico, but of course, all of us, all of us that live there knew that actually, that’s not true. You know, it’s I mean, I grew up in Albuquerque, and literally I grew up on on what was the Mexican side of town is just sort of true in the south Valley. It’s like 80% Latino, and it’s a different thing that the high school the local high school, that I would have gone if I hadn’t gone to a private school to Talking about privilege here. Yeah. was probably 80 85% Latino, because that was our side of our side of town. Right. Yeah. And, and so the the sort of, you know, multi ethnic utopia that we like to think we lived in. We really didn’t. Yeah, right. And and, and it’s interesting, though, it’s like, if my father hadn’t had education he had and the job he had, and I guess, the expectations he had and the ethnicity we have living on that side of town, I would have had to have gone to that high school. But because we had resources, I was able to go to a private school, literally on the other side of town. Yeah, and you know, and honestly, because my education was so much better going to that school than the local high school because of resources and all sorts of stuff, then that set me up. That kind of set me up for where I am today. And so that’s a that’s a benefit and a privilege I had. Yeah. You know, didn’t, yeah,
it’s, it’s interesting. On the flip side of that, I was I grew up in the Bay Area. So I grew up in Oakland, urban East Oakland, and for five years were born in Oakland. That’s where I grew up in in Oakland, and the high schools that were by me, my mother refused to send me to, she’s like, absolutely not. Like, we’re just we’re not going to do that. And so I had the opportunity to go to private school. But me going to private school meant that I was maybe one of two to three black kids in the entire school. Right. So we even then we, you know, you mentioned privilege, and this, you know, multicultural, multi ethnic, you know, utopia, like, that didn’t exist for me. I went to school and was taught by people who didn’t understand my experiences, didn’t look like me, didn’t sound like me. You know, it was very foreign, you know, for me, but the alternative was the Oakland public school system, which then was, you know, it just wasn’t, it just wasn’t where you wanted to be. Nobody wanted to be,
we have we left when our kids were still little, but we were thinking around another few years, then we would have had to make that decision. It’s like, one of my kids go into a coma school. And you know, and I just, yeah,
and then, you know, I lose I lost out on it wasn’t until much older college and even now that I’ve really been able to dive into my own history, because when you if you’re you’re at and I mind you I went I also went to religious based schools, my high school was a Catholic school. So it we weren’t the history we were learning was very Eurocentric history. So they’re not even teaching me about me, about my history about my culture, I’m learning a Eurocentric view of history and, and what culture you know, quote, unquote, looks like so even now just kind of bringing it to the, you know, where do we go next steps and things like that. It’s like, there’s a lot of relearning of stuff of everything’s, you know, that that has to happen for a lot of people. And I think that’s what keeps a lot of people stuck in a no, no, no, things can’t change, because you have to re learn everything that you were taught, you’ve got to have a completely different lens, to view this world through now, then what you’ve become so accustomed to believing as true.
That’s uncomfortable for a lot of people. Right, present company included.
But I think that is such a good point. Maybe I mean, I think that is, in many ways, one of the maybe one of the first steps that can happen towards that is just a re education of, and it’s not changing history. It’s really just learning what actually happened in history. So So recently, I mean, it’s not like yes, no one’s changing history. Oh, we didn’t hear the entire US.
You heard this in the national conversation and actually, on Facebook conversations that I have, I have seen actually, you know, lately trying to stay away from Facebook these days. That’s a good thing. I don’t add to these conversations, but sometimes I’ll get I’ll get hooked into looking at them. But, for example, nobody seemed to have ever heard of Juneteenth before and they were like, like, how come I never heard that? How come it was never mentioned ever? Like ever that that was even a thing. Oh, okay. I didn’t know about this. Well, you just were you know, not you were just learning a truncated history. Yeah. That’s why you didn’t know about this.
Yeah, I mean, when I looked around at my friend group and just kind of asked like, how many people in elementary, junior high high school ever were taught about Juneteenth. And it was like, nobody raised their hands like, wow, that I mean, even looking back, for me at the at the 60s, it has been kind of diving, diving into that decade, that when you look at the things King was rallying around, and marching for it was for voting rights, Equal Housing rights. And then when he was in Memphis, that was workers rights. Really, it was the sanitation workers. And it’s like, wow, all of those things are, they’re not astronomical asks of anyone. They’re like, Hey, we should we’re allowed. I mean, 1870, Reno 15th amendment allowed the black community to vote, but so I would, in certain areas, 0% were registered in the 1960s. I would share I was
shocked just the last last couple of weeks just learning about, you know, my own state of California here, at least adopted state spend most of my life out here. Right. Right, that, you know, speaking of non racial utopias that California actually was one of the last free states that were on the in the north, right, during during the civil war that actually ratified the 14th and 15th. amendment was until the 20th century, more here in California is oh my gosh, oh, my gosh.
And that’s kind of I think that’s the part of re education, Megan, that you’re talking about that is helpful, just realizing, because it, I think it helps us understand the systemic part of systemic racism, you know, because I know, people, you know, these days, I feel like people are getting really caught up on words and, and the meaning of words, or they’re using a word to change the conversation. Right? And but it’s, it’s really helpful to understand that idea of systemic racism, when you look back at history, and you see those things that it wasn’t just, it wasn’t just even people’s individual racism, but it was racism that was then in law. Yeah, was encoded, yeah, changed maybe a little bit differently. But even in, in, in California, in different my wife’s in real estate and the different kind of housing communities, they’re gonna see CNRS like the community covenant and requirements. They still on on ones you signed today still list how they used to look in the 50s 60s and 40s. And there are several communities in Sacramento where it was written into the CCR that no one of color could live there, could buy a house or even rent a house in that community.
So my students always just really surprised when I, we lived in Richmond, we moved from Oakland, to Richmond, Virginia for seven years. And before we move back out to California, and, you know, Richmond square, I mean, the monument Avenue right, the Robert E. Lee’s statue, the whole thing, right. And Richmond, as as this is not uncommon for cities back east. And I may have mentioned this before, Richmond is about 85% African American, but the counties around it are probably 70%. White, and yet you have all these Confederate statues that are running through, you know, one of the nicest avenues in a city that’s 85% African American. Yeah. And, and then people just wonder why people have issues with that, you know, right. And I was crazy while we were there. So, you monument Avenue. Of course, the statues are all you know, civil war heroes, right. And, you know, individually, probably decent folks, you know, I’m gonna Robert he probably, I mean, I know for a fact as a historian, it wasn’t a bad guy, but he was leading a cause that was a bad cause. And there you go. Right. And, and he’s on his horse there and, you know, but they decided they want to put a statue in Richmond of an African American on monument Avenue, because everybody there’s, you know, white basic, well, not just white, but like Civil War wide, right. And, and so, one of the most famous African Americans that came out of Richmond was Arthur Ashe, the tennis player, right? He’s born in Richmond, and because when he was growing up there, he couldn’t play on white tennis courts. He literally had to kind of learn his tennis almost like street tennis because that was the only way that he could do it. Right, but he’s from Richmond. These other guys aren’t even from Richmond, right. And you You should have heard the screen it took about two years to get that statue up of folks is screaming about it. We can’t have you know, a statue of a person that’s actually from here and is famous, right? Yeah, on monument Avenue and sad thing about it. And I’ll just make an aesthetic judgment here. It was actually kind of a horrible statue they ended up with it’s like, they should have done a better job with the statue. But it was just the whole fight. It’s like this guy’s from here in the city. That’s 85% African American and you won’t put a statue there on monument Avenue, you will put that monument there. Right. It’s he’s there. Now, although I think last week somebody spray painted white Lives Matter all over his nation. So a man still stuff. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the truth. And, and so I think yeah, I think the re education is, is is a is a major step forward. I think that’s happening, starting to happen. I mean, to us hearing more and more people being like, kind of like we were saying, did you know? And it was funny as and then some of your friends were like, yeah, I didn’t know that. Because I’ve lived that, you know, or I experienced that. So I think we have to also be careful with our epiphanies. Maybe? Megan? Megan, we’re trying to be careful with our
you know, I bear was so random. The SBS just released this, like, random, like video that they’re going to do at the beginning of the show, or whatever. And what something that they said was, are we going to make mistakes in what we say along the way? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that the conversation stops. And I think that’s so important. In this as we learn more in and grow and dive deeper into this thing. Yeah. People are going to end up saying things and you’re like, What? Are you thought? Yeah, I know. But that’s okay, you know, having those honest and open conversations, because in those moments, I think that’s where people are sometimes most open and to hearing the other person’s experience, right? Because then you’re like, Oh, wait, you did? Oh, you live this? Okay, tell me more. Like, what what am I missing in this? What What am I not able to see because my lens is, is is such a different lens that I view this from, but yeah, we’re gonna, like, and I think on both sides, right, gonna say things that don’t always, you know, go over so smoothly, but it doesn’t mean that the conversation stops.
Right. And that’s helpful because I know some people are, yeah, are afraid to maybe say something or speak out because they don’t want to say something wrong on the other side in it. And I like that, that doesn’t have to stop the conversation. And and in fact, maybe it can lead to further further conversation, and deeper conversation. And I think maybe along with, like, re education, even of history, and and this may be some of the Megane you were you were getting at is, is how we as we’re learning and maybe having these epiphanies and learning about experiences, looking at what we are maybe reading or watching and and making sure we’re reading and watching things from people who have had that experience from black authors and black historians, and black filmmakers, right there that be able to, and that’s something within education and at at Jessup I think that we always are having to relook at and a couple years ago, we had Dr. Reggie Williams on campus for our spring lecture. And he talked about bond hoppers experience in Harlem. And it was amazing lecture and we were having dinner with him actually, before the lecture. And we kind of asked him, What What is something we could do as a division to to help and be a part of the conversation of race on campus and things like that. And one of the things he brought up was to take a look at all of your syllabi, and your reading lists, and even how white are your reading lists? You know, and you look and I look back at my theology classes, and I’m like, oh, wow, they’re all pretty white. Right and and part of that is that’s where a lot of theology came from. We honestly we have James James Cohen is gonna just fry people’s should maybe it should, right right. But but it’s, it’s being able to just even look at that and say, Wow, how, what our voices that we’ve just been, maybe not even purposely excluding, but have just been looking over or looking past and And making sure we’re listening to I mean, I think that’s been one of the big themes that has been going around of listening. And men listening to voices from the black community talking about their experience, I think is so important as a part of as a part of that. So as we’re having epiphanies we can we can hear people who’ve lived that experience.
I’m, I’m wondering if if if we need to move beyond that word conversation that although I believe that needs to start there, and that’s an important thing, but kind of maybe hook this back into sort of our tribe, right, conservative boy, pretty much evangelicalism, right, white evangelicalism pretty much is what is the dominant tribe that we sort of operate out of. And, you know, the gospel, we all know, the gospel has structural implications, but we sort of major on the personal implications of it, which it does have, which it totally does have, right, right. But if we can just, you know, talk and understand and then walk away, then a whole site, well, then nothing was changes. First of all, we’re gonna have to have these conversations again, when something else explodes. Right. Right. But we also, I think we need to be get more comfortable with seeing sin as structural, not just personal, even within our own theological tradition. Yeah. You know, and not everything can be resolved just by a nice conversation, although it’s got to start there. It’s got to start there. Right. Yeah. But we have to understand that some you know, that, that if structures are sinful, then they need to be addressed. Whether we benefit from them or not.
We’re at that is very much that systemic piece of it. But I think you’re right, like we can’t, it’s, and I think that will be the same for any issue that was at hand, right? You people, to some degree, have to understand what it is that they’re changing, right? Instead of just making these kind of blanket changes, we know if we, if you just make the blanket changes, but you don’t understand why you’re making the changes, or the I mean, you could just not agree with it, then you’re bound to kind of step into the same holes that you did previously. So the conversations are really important. And I think, at this point, I feel and why we see so much unrest is because people feel like they’ve been having these conversations for a very long time. And now, we’re, you’re it’s kind of like, you’re just now listening to what we’ve been saying, for how long? So, you know, are we still at the conversation stage right now? Or is it at the point where it’s just time to do something different, it’s time to actually make those changes? And I think that’s the you hear a lot of people now talking about being anti racist, as opposed to Well, I’m not a racist. I don’t believe those things. But being anti racist means you are, you’re actively doing something right. You are challenging the the systems you are challenging the the policies, and the beliefs, all of that, like there’s some action behind what you’re what you believe. And that I think, is where everybody has to be at this point is, especially for people who consider themselves allies, you know, it’s, we, I had the opportunity to go out and march with the Urban League, the Greater Sacramento Urban League. And one of the things you know, that they said was like, we can’t be silent anymore. You can’t just sit back and say, Oh, I’m not I’m not racist. I don’t believe those things. That’s not that’s not how I think that’s not how I feel. That’s not how I raised my children. Okay, but what are you doing? What are you doing with that? You know, it’s it’s one thing to say I’m not, but it’s another thing to actually move, move policy and move structures forward.
Yeah, it really does have to go from that conversation stage to action. And, and that action tackles starts to tackle those systemic things and those structural things. And what’s interesting, I think, within the evangelical community Rex is that we’ve we’ve done that on various issues we’ve moved on and non activists it’s just we’ve moved into the policy room on other issues we’ve moved into yeah activism,
but attention thing that a lot of our activism has still been. And I this is not an original observation with me, it’s been observed over and over and over again by buku. authors, right, that a lot of our activism tends to be directed still towards personal issues and not systemic issues. Like we’ll get politically involved as long as it’s against, you know, issue acts that that that we feel has a link into, you know, I guess personal sin. Yeah. And, and not so much on some other things. Yeah. That are equally gospel issues.
Exactly. And that’s a really good point. I think that’s been one of the one of the transitions that I’ve been hearing within the church that I think is helpful is, is starting to emphasize racism as a mortal sin. Yeah, like all of the other sins, right. Ba and a personal sin, right? It’s not this isn’t a political thing. Right. Right. Cuz that conversation about, you know, like, well, should the church really talk about this? That’s kind of what society’s talking about and is like, not if this is a sin issue, then that is the exact thing the church does talk about. And I think until we start really viewing it that way, I think you’re right, Rex, that the reason maybe we’re involved in those other policy reforms, and activism is because we view it as a sin issue or right, wrong. And somehow, yes, racism has escaped that, that it’s just it’s enough. Yeah, maybe I think people are like, Well, I’m not racist. And so they kind of stopped there. And it’s like, well, now how do we move? How do we move forward? And I think it can cut that one of the things that I’ve been kind of saying lately, the idea that, like you’re saying, This isn’t, like you’re saying, Megan, this isn’t a political issue in the sense of it’s not what political party you come from. Right. Right. Not a political issue. But, but it is kind of a policy issue. And, and, and a structure issue and a system issue, which means we have to kind of step into that realm. And it would be very nice to be able to step in that realm without having to have that battle between kind of the identity politics that happens in America. And because because it is like, moving in, when you look at the history of of civil rights, and we’ll say from reconstruction on there, there were clear times when policy had to be enforced to to enforce equality. I mean, they had, they had to have guards. And the US military escort people on to campus to desegregate schools in the south. I mean, they had to centralize local government had to step in. And so yeah, it just kind of brings up it brings up issues and topics that we’re, we’re used to talking about on one side, but I think we need to, we need to bring maybe the two together, in a sense, and part of that linking them is that you’re saying Rex is, is no longer having racism, just as, as, as something on the side, but rather as a great moral sin and a great moral sin of our country that we need to deal with. You know, I mean, growing up, it was Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, that was the three biggest things that we’re going to take you down. No one ever preached a sermon in youth group about racism I’ve ever heard growing up, and it’s man, how is that not? It not at least in the same conversation, as of all those other you know, you can bring in and, and I think that, I think, for me, that the change there could be really helpful in moving forward of understanding racism as a moral issue, therefore, a gospel issue, right. And, and a speaking freedom to the oppressed issue, which again, makes it a gospel issue. I mean, it all comes back to to racial equality as a gospel issue. And as I think as that, as that cry begins to be louder, I think that that people will, Megan people will actually start listening, even though the conversations have been had for let’s just say centuries now and people will listen. And, and, and, and begin to move forward. And I think another aspect and we kind of maybe can land the plane here, I know we could just keep you know, going I know our listeners want to go for like the three hour long haul podcast. But, but also just, I think as we move forward We’re just helping re educate ourselves on on what really happened in history. Like it’s not rewriting history. It’s not changing anything. It’s just there’s just getting the whole history and and, and diversifying the voices through which we hear that history and through through which we hear experience and starting to view racism as a moral issue. And I think as we move there, for me, maybe that next step
is, is building trust between the two communities as well, building trust between the white community in the black community, building trust with the black community and the white church. Right, because there’s been so much hurt and so much damage, that man that trust needs to be rebuilt there so that we can move from conversation to, to action, and I think trust can be built, when the black community sees us actually standing up with them, and for them. And, and making that transition and making that move.
Yeah, I think that last piece of what you said is so important, B, because I think a lot of times we’ve we talked about building trust and unity, but to some extent, we got to see you move First, we have to see where you are like what are you? What are you going to do? How are you really going to, to prove yourself in this right, that this isn’t just a series of words like we even see now we all these companies coming out with these anti, you know, oh, we black people make, we wouldn’t be without the black people. And we stand for this and we stand for that. Okay, that sounds really good. But what are you going to do to prove yourself in that and and I feel that with the the church with with the white church especially is that? Prove it? Prove it. And in that you build trust in that you you build a sense of progression and unity that is missing right now? Because there’s been so much talk, not enough listening, and then no movement and no, no action behind it. So that’s a really good point, Mark. Be proactive and not just reactive. Right.
And that’s something King said in the 60s, he was talking to the white church and white allies. And he said, he said, All I’m asking is for you to stand with us. Like move with us and even for you to say and you’re speaking kind of to the to the white church, just say I stand with you whether you want me to or not, I’m gonna stand with you. Anyway, King worded that, that, that he was just he was looking for that man. And I think as that can happen, I agree with you, Megan, like you show action. You’re gonna you’re gonna like trust isn’t earned just through words. It’s earned through action. And, and, and I’m glad that these conversations are having and I hope, I think are kind of moving towards action, I think. And I think, at least in our little little part of the world at Jessup we can we can move through action. And we can kind of be a part of our communities and moving and looking to action. So thanks again, so much manga for joining us. This was your second time on the show. So friend of the show, yes. All right. I still don’t have the T shirt. I still don’t have a T shirt or just a dream out where I’m gonna make them happen. I’ve heard that before. I can’t wait to eat this. My own money in this. But no, thank you so much. Yeah. And as a friend of the show, that means you’ll be back on the show. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know what before? I can’t wait, this has been great. Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes these reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, I’m Mark Moore and this is Jessup.
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