What I Have Learned from Dwight McKissic about Racial Reconciliation in the SBC

It can always be a little bit of a minefield for a lily-white Iowa guy like me (not enough sun to even maintain a decent tan!) to talk about racial issues.

Years ago, my church and my association in Cedar Rapids were making specific efforts to reach out and fellowship with a predominantly black church in town. We had a wonderful joint service. A representative of our state convention was there and stood to make remarks about the meeting. In the process, he made a statement that made me cringe and evidently gave great offense to the choir from the black church. He was simply trying to say how glad he was to have black churches and white churches fellowshiping and he stepped on a Claymore in the process.

(Note: even the terminology can be difficult here. Should I say “African American” or “black?”  I’m going to stick with the more common designation “black” in this blogpost, hoping to give offense to no one.)

I tell that story for a simple reason – it is uncomfortable to talk about race and so easy to inadvertently and unintentionally give offense when we do. I can tell you that I do not consider myself a racist. I can tell you that my children (my oldest just turned 30) have never heard me use the “n-word” except perhaps in explaining to them how offensive it is. I served a church that had entrenched racism and I stood against it (even got ambushed at a business meeting and lost some money in my financial package as a “message” from those racists that they did not appreciate my comments and actions about race). To my knowledge, I have never intentionally hurt, oppressed, discriminated against or denigrated someone because they were black.

But, it is possible that I have given offense without knowing it. And there are certainly times when I could have done more and did not. I have realized in recent years that I still have a lot to learn about the process of racial reconciliation.

I met Dwight McKissic at the Convention in Orlando. He was talking to Tim Guthrie and I walked up to say hi to Tim. Dwight and I introduced ourselves. I knew Dwight by name and had heard him preach at a North Central States rally in Indy years before (dude can preach!). He knew of my writings at sbcIMPACT where I blogged at the time. Later that day, Dwight offered a motion (resolution?) on racial reconciliation, which was referred. Dwight’s attempt to bring it for a vote failed before the convention. I went down and found him on the convention floor and told him that the fight was not over and that I would use whatever influence I have as a blogger to help him keep his cause alive.

Since that day in Orlando, I have come to consider Dwight McKissic a good friend and my respect for him has grown. He is a man of passion and integrity. I have also learned from him. I’ve read his posts (which he often shares with us here, then vigorously defends in debate). He has an amazing capacity to deal graciously with those who disagree. He will also call people on the carpet when he thinks they are wrong. He does not get offended by people who disagree with him.

What I would like to do today is reflect a little on what I have learned from him about racial issues.

1) As a white man in a white world, I really don’t see the world like a black man does.

The day I met Dwight in Orlando, he pointed something out to me, something that had been right in front of me but I had never noticed. He told me that during the Convention, there had not been a single black man on the podium. It was a lily-white convention. I never noticed that. I know that none of the leaders of that convention said, or even intended to say, “Let’s keep the stage white!”  These were honorable men who would never do such a thing. But the stage was still white and I never noticed. Dwight did.

We who are white like to talk about being color-blind and want racial issues to simply go away. We have repented of the sins of the past and have expressed our intent to include black Baptists in our convention life. We have no intent to be discriminatory or oppressive. We want the issue to be over. That is a luxury we have as white people – to declare ourselves color-blind.

But Dwight has helped me see that I do not see the world like a black man would. He has told me stories about being a black pastor in a white convention. He has shared stories that make my hair curl about offenses that still go on. As I have talked to him and listened to him, I just came to realize that I see the world differently.

I have never in my life been pulled over for DWB.  Recently, a godly and gracious black man in our church passed away. I sat and talked with him a few weeks before his death about life in Sioux City as a black man, and what he said shocked me. This was about as gentle a man as you could ever meet, but he was pulled over often for no other reason than being a black man in the wrong neighborhood. There were restaurants he did not go to because he would be seated and then ignored. They simply wouldn’t wait on him, because he was black.

Dwight lives in a different world than I do. White people can advocate a color-blind world, but to those who are not white, that is simply not a reality.

2) Racial Reconciliation is more than just the cessation of discrimination.

Of course, there are still people under the SBC umbrella who are racist idiots. They pop up from time to time. The vast majority of us now reject them and their ways. The general reaction to the recent brouhaha over the church that refused to do the wedding for the black couple is evidence that most of us want nothing to do with discrimination anymore.

But, simply ending active discrimination is not the end of the process. It is the start of the process.

We need to make sure that black Baptists feel like equal partners in the work. Electing Fred Luter as our president was an important step in the process, but not a final step.

Do you know of a black man who is pastor of a predominantly white church? I don’t. We will have reached a place of reconciliation when white churches consider candidates for their pulpit who are not white.

When will there be a head of one of our entities who is not white? We can probably never know this, since the inner workings of search committees is confidential, but has there even been a black man given serious consideration as a seminary president or the head of an SBC entity?  Are there any entity VPs who are black? (I’m asking – I don’t know of any).

Listening to Dwight has helped me to understand that there is more to this process than just simply the cessation of racism and discrimination. We must do more than just open the doors of fellowship, but must seek to make blacks, Asians, Hispanics and others know that they are full partners in our denominational endeavor!

3) My convictions and priorities on social and political issues are affected by my race.

Anyone who is a reader of SBC Voices knows that Dwight has had a unique perspective on this political contest. He refused to vote for Barack Obama (whom he respects) because of his views on homosexual marriage. He refused to endorse Mitt Romney because he would not clearly denounce the racist past of the Mormon church.

I like to think that my political conviction are biblically-based. But for me, abortion is the watershed of politics. If someone believes that it is okay to kill a baby in its mother’s womb, he or she does not get my vote. I learned from Dwight (assuming that his thinking represents others) that blacks often do not see politics as we do.

A lot of our commenters here expressed surprise that Dwight would hold Mitt Romney responsible for the racist past of the Mormon church. Dwight never claimed that Romney himself supported the racism of the Mormon church. He only held him accountable for refusing to take a stand against it.

Many thought that was unfair and extreme. But I realized as I observed the discussion that our political priorities are often shaped by our background and experiences. Dwight is an opponent of abortion, but that is not the only issue that matters to him. As I see the world through the lens of my own experience, he sees it through his own lens.

We (whites) tend to view immigration as a law and order issue. Those who break our laws to come to America should be treated as law-breakers (because they are). But many see the issue differently – as an issue of justice and how we treat other human beings. Those who have suffered exclusion and discrimination tend to view the world differently.

How important is social justice in the work of the church? Blacks and whites from the same theological perspective often view these issues very differently.

I believe abortion is a great evil and I do not intend to change my views. I think that our borders should be secure and I am not likely to change on that issue. But I realize that how I view those issues is affected by more than just my biblical convictions. It is also affected by my experiences, and people with different experiences (and an equal love for Christ and the Word) can give different priorities to different issues.

4) We don’t have to agree, but we do need to converse.

There is nothing distinctively more righteous about being black or white or Asian or Hispanic. And, of course, our primary identity is our relationship with God through our Savior Jesus Christ. But on this earth, racial issues will always be an obstacle to overcome. The Body of Christ includes people of different races and different backgrounds and coming together as one is always going to be a challenge.

We tend to live in isolation, attracted to others who are like us. It is an impulse we must fight. We need to be intentional about conversing and interacting with people who are different – racially, socio-economically, and experientially.

We do not have to agree with one another to benefit from our interactions. I am better off for having met Dwight in Orlando and hearing his perspective on things. I have learned a lot about racial issues that I would not have learned in isolation with my white brothers and sisters.

It is worth it to converse, to discuss, and to interact – even if the process gets difficult along the way.



  1. Dave Miller says

    Somehow, this post makes me much more nervous than most I put up here!

    Dwight, if I misrepresented your views in any way, please feel free to make corrections and clarifications.

  2. volfan007 says

    Sports break(CB, you’ll love this, and Dave will hate it): Loved this stat: The SEC has six, 10 win teams, with a combined record of 63-9. Those 9 losses? Against each other. Any.Given.Saturday!


  3. says

    Having worked with people in poverty from many different racial backgrounds, I can tell you that the white, middle class perspective shapes our world view, including our interpretation of scripture, very differently from those who are not white or middle class. As Dave noted, we tend to be uncompromising when it comes to abortion and rightfully so. However, when something strikes you at a personal level, you tend to be more passionate about it. Those who have experienced or have had loved ones experience some sort of racial oppression, intentional or otherwise, tend to be just as passionate about social justice issues as whites are about abortion.

    I never knew the plight of the illegal immigrant until I got to know one personally and grew to care about her like one of my own daughters. I saw firsthand the injustice of holding someone accountable for their parents decisions, the hypocrisy of our immigration system, and the heartache many who were brought here illegally face. This has changed my perspective and helps me see scripture regarding helping the helpless from a far different perspective.

    In my opinion, therein lies the answer. We’re too segregated. If we actually had friendships and not acquaintances with people of color and different socioeconomic backgrounds, our perspectives will change and our appreciation for the absolute depth and beauty of scripture will grow enormously. Of course, being Southern Baptists, we will continue to have our disagreements, but I believe our understanding of one another could help create a unity our Lord commands us to have.

  4. says

    Dwight McKissic is on the shortest list I could make, that would still be called a list, of finest people I know. I, too, have learned much from him, and from some of his friends with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, at Dwight’s home.

    On a different tack, but the same subject, I’ve spent perhaps over a dozen visits in Jamaica. Many of those times, I’ve been out & about in the community myself, buying supplies for our work teams. Or, with Peg and 1 or 2 other couples, eating out. Never, ever, have I encountered the slightest hint of any reference to, or differential in service or attitude as respects, race.

    Us white folks have more to learn than we even know there IS to learn. And we need to learn it from guys like Dwight.

    • Bennett Willis says

      I recall my first wife talking about a discussion she had, in a group of women, about discrimination. One woman was very determined that our community was color blind and said that she had never seen anyone being active along this line. Ann’s comment (when she got home) was that Margaret was the “highest status” woman in town and a very nice person. Who was going to discriminate against her?

      When you are at the top of the heap, you don’t notice a lot of things.

      We tutored a black girl from the 6th grade through the 10th grade. We found out a lot about the school system that we had never noticed before–even though my wife had both taught and volunteered in various schools. One thing that we noticed was that it took about 4 hours of work, four days/week, for several months to get her “back to even.” I was always amazed that she was willing to cooperate with us in this.

  5. Bennett Willis says

    I recently read an article about discussion between groups. I think that the story was particularly about the middle-east, but I do think something that was said has relevance here. Only when the “person of less power” did most of the talking and the “person with greater power” did most of the listening did feelings about things change. As I recall, it seemed that both groups became more understanding when this happened.

  6. says

    David: Thank you for your comments re: the African American Experience in our supposedly wonderful nation. I had the privilege of being present at the meeting of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, when the debate bean over changing the name from Negro, avoiding the term Black, and adopting the term African American. I merely observed, while I was in attendance, because I figured that African Americans should make the decision for themselves as to what they wanted to be called. Today, I still identify myself as a Black Historian, because that was the nature of my training in Undergraduate, M.A., and work toward the Ph.D., along with the project that I did for the Doctor of Ministry without the support of my seminary, when it was supposed to be the most liberal in the Southern Baptist Convention. The Director of my Project said to me, “You ought to know better than to select a controversial topic like this. If that church fires you, I will be right there behind them, supporting them.” The controversial topic? “Christian Love and Race Relations.”

    I want to say here that in voting for Romney, I found the whole process as bitter as gall. It also made me angry at the Republicans for putting me in such a situation. I can appreciate Dr. McKissic holding Romney responsible for the racist stuff of the Mormon Writings. The whole set up of that religion is a ready made opportunity for all would-be manipulators. It reminds me of the class structure of the old South…which I grew up under back in the forties until the mid-fifties, the superior/inferior overlords, the landowners. The South reproduced a great deal of Old England’s class structure mentality, the Lords and Nobles and the Commoners. What really forced me to face the issue and to come to deal with the problem in the Complementarianism of today’s Reformed movement is what happened to my Grandmother who raised me. I can remember her telling about her grandfather whose first wife and child died in child birth. He drink and gambled away his share of the wealth, and then married a woman from a lower class and moved away from the family in central Tennessee to the Dyersburg area. My Grandmother said that he would bow to the rich lady down the lane, and he would bow to his sisters and open the door for them, when they came to visit. but he would never bow to his wife or open the door for her. He would simply walk in the door before her, and Grandma would express her anger at such demeaning treatment of her grandmother.

    Interestingly enough, the person who got me started to doing research was the Black Historian at Lincoln University, Dr. Lorenzo J. Greene, who had been Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Associate Editor for the Journal of Negro Life and History. I began my research into Baptist History due to his encouragement and would do it for 6 years intensively. At Columbia Univ. in the Summer of ’71 I would write a paper on “Intellectuals of The Western Sudan,” establishing that Dr. Greene was one of the most reliable, factual, evidenced-based historians that it was my privilege to have for a Professor of History. He imparted to me a love for facts, one that I transported into my theological studies. I had the privilege of really giving Dr. Greene a surprise, and, I trust, it was a happy one. I attended the meeting of the Association for The Study of Negro Life and History in Philadelphia in the Fall of ‘1970. Being totally new to the whole process, I stumbled into a Dinner meeting of the Executive Board of the Association,. When a member told me what was happening, I started to leave. He, however, said, “Don’t go. Stay. Not everyone will show up. and we have all this food to eat” So I stayed, eating a meal meant for a Black brother and enjoying the whole affair. While I was sitting at one of the tables, I faced the doors. Suddenly, in came Dr. Greene, a small, very dignified and scholarly gentlemen, if ever there was one. His eyes almost bulged, when he saw me and recognized who I was. He said, “Mr. Willingham, what in the world are you doing here?” We both had to laugh. That was the last time I saw Dr. Greene. He died in 1988, at the age of 88. He had received his Ph.D. from Columbia Univ. in 1942, according to the New York Times Obituary.

    Dr. McKissic and Dr. Luter give me hope that we are finally beginning to round the bend on stupid prejudice. I certainly pray that it is so. David, we all offend, as Paul said. I wonder about the term, Black, but as it was used by Blacks in the days of my studies, “Black is beautiful,” from the Song of Solomon, “I am Black but comely,” I have retained it. Besides, I have come to a whole new realization and appreciation for what my Grandma use to say about beauty, “Beauty is as beauty does.” Also from my studies, I think few people realize how much African Americans imbibed the biblical teachings and made them a part of their lifestyles.

    • Bennett Willis says

      I grew up about 25 miles east of Dyersberg, TN. Volfan007 is from just a little further to the east.

      • says

        I grew up around Nimmons in Clay County Arkansas, about an hour’s drive across the bootheel of Missouri from Dyersbrg (sorry I but the internet list it as dyersburg)). My Grandma was born outside of Dyersburg in 1892 (to the Southeast of the town) and moved Missouri in 1900. 72 years later I drove from Orangeburg, SC to Arkansas to preach her funeral and I reached the Mississippi about 3:30 A.M. and had to wait about two hours on the Ferry (Cottonwood Point Ferry), the same Ferry point (though I not the same boat as hers was steam whereas the one I crossed on was driven by a motor, deisel or gas). She could not look down the 72 years that lay ahead of her and see that her grandson that she had raised would cross at that same ferry point, going to preach her funeral. I had a lot to think about that day in May of 1972.

          • says

            Bennett: Imagine my solemn reflections as I sat on the landing awaiting the ferry boat that early morning, thinking about my Grandmother as a child of eight. I could remember her telling me that a colt they had jumped off the ferry and swam back to the Tennessee side. They never went back to get that colt. They were traveling in a covered wagon, camping out at night. she said she hear Wolves howl, panthers scream, and other assorted animal noises. That was in 1900. In 1972 (may), I recapped her trip across the bootheel. At her funeral I would see the other members of my family from the two homes I had lived in. My mother, two half-sisters, and my step-father, and I had been with them Christmas of ’71 in St. Louis and with my grandmother and uncle in their home in Nimmons a few days before during that Christmas week of 71. That I would be the last time I saw any of them alive…and that at Grandma’s funeral. Grandpa’s funeral had been four years before in May of ’68, and I had recapped his moving as a boy of 18 years of age in 1904 from Illinois after a man beat him with a barbed wire whip . He went to a brother in Southeastern Missouri. There he would meet Grandma and they would marry in 1909. Providence is a strange thing, wonderful, painful, exhilarating, excruciating, and yet the one who realizes that God’s hand is working in such a way would not give it up for anything. Grandpa, who had been knocked unconscious for 3 months, the result of a man hitting him in the head with a hamper, grandpa, who was an orphan, would die a happy, relaxed death. He once told me how a Black man helped him get out of a Black neighborhood in Detroit where they were rioting and in a mood for violence out of the frustration and degradation of prejudice. My Dad told me that neither he nor his sisters would be alive had it not been for a Big Black man who came into their home and prepared their meals, while their mother and step-father were in the hospital near death from the Spanish flu in 1918. God grant that such examples of greatness on the part of African Americans might seize upon the selfish and greedy hearts of White Americans as proof positive of God’s redeeming grace.

  7. John K says

    “Do you know of a black man who is pastor of a predominantly white church? I don’t. ”

    Yes, Voddie Baucham and an excellent pastor.

    • says

      Absolutely LOVE Dr. Baucham. I try to visit his church in Spring every summer when on vacation. Genuine, humble, and bold. Our Convention would do well to listen to men like him… we would do even better to place them in leadership. (not implying that we don’t have good men in leadership, but we could always have more, right?)

    • says

      Dr. Jeffrey Haggray of FBC Washington D.C.

      Haggray came to FBC DC a few years ago from his position as Exec Director of DC Baptist Convention (which is affiliated with ABC-USA, SBC, PNBC).

      The most famous instance of a black pastor serving a predominantly white Baptist congregation is likely James Forbes/Riverside Church (ABC-USA).

      Forbes, who was not Baptist and of a Pentecostal background, was hired by the liberal ecumenical Riverside in 1989. But the church changed quite a bit in those early years, becoming less white and very multi-cultural.

      • says

        I should mention that a White church in Virginia, circa 1790, purchased a Black man’s freedom and called him as pastor of the church. He served, if memory is correct, about 10 years. I think it was the Petersburg Baptist Church, but that is from a memory of research some 40-43 years ago.

  8. Dwight McKissic says

    1. This post came as a total shocker to me.
    2. We need to dialogue across racial lines for the Kingdom sake and to be able to advance causes of mutual interest. You are right, though; the dialogue can be risky.
    3. “White people can advocate a color-blind world, but to those who are not white, that is simply not a reality.” Money Quote.
    4. We will have also reached a place of reconciliation when Black churches consider candidates for their pulpit who are not Black. If we want our churches to integrate overnight, put a White man in my place; and it will begin to happen. Allow me to pastor at Dave’s church, and it will begin to happen.
    5. The mere fact this post was penned suggests to me serious progress in race relations. One of the untold stories of the civil rights movement is the story of the Whites and Jews, who spoke, wrote, prayed, gave and served those who were Black on the front lines of the movement.
    6. Blacks functionally and practically have a strong pro-life position and vote pro-life; their life. They vote by and large Democrat because they vote for the party and people that they believe actually care the most about their lives. And at this point, it’s the Democrats. Winthrop Rockefeller and Mike Huckabee—former governors of Arkansas, both Republicans—received 50% of the Black vote. Why? Black people were convinced that they cared about them. Dwight David Eisenhower received a large percentage of the Black vote for the same reason. My mother named me after him. My point is, Blacks will vote for Republicans when they are convinced that they care about them. Bill Clinton frequently visited Black churches in Arkansas, would show up at funerals of leading Black citizens and even shed tears at the funeral. Rarely, would Republicans do that, and they certainly would not cry at the funeral. Therefore, Blacks rarely voted for the Republicans. Blacks tend to trust Whites who will come to their turf and share their lives. Democrats do a far better job at this.
    7. The more we dialogue, the more we will realize that our differences are not as far apart as we might think. We simply need to dialogue. Thanks, Dave, for at least being willing to dialogue with an open heart and mind and with mutual respect.

    Dialogue is important, because a house divided against itself cannot stand.

    Say what you will or may about President Obama; No presidential candidate in history has been able to put together an inter-racial coalition on the order that he has. Why can’t the body of Christ do this?

    As my wife and I were leaving our hotel in DC after attending the Obama ’08 Inauguration, I stopped to notice the total inter-racial makeup of the crowd in the lobby. And I then asked myself, why can’t the SBC hotel lobbies look like this?

    While in Lebowa, South Africa, in the early nineties while apartheid was still the law of the land, a native White South African Missions leader knocked on my hotel door to share some information with me. I invited him in while he was standing at the door. He said, no thanks and proceeded sharing information with me. After a few more minutes, I invited him in again. Again, he said, no thank you, while continuing the conversation. I finally asked him why wouldn’t he come in, sit down and talk. He said because it was the custom in South Africa for a White Man never to enter into the home of a Black man. I was dumbfounded. I could never vote for that Anglo Africana (White) Missionary to be President of anywhere, even if his views were pro-life and anti-gay marriage. Many Blacks—rightly or wrongly—feel the same way about Republican presidential candidates. They feel as if they would not come into your house, sit down and drink a cup of coffee; but the Democratic presidential candidate not only will do it, but also ask you if they can come in and visit with you. This makes all the difference in the world. Dave, I feel as if you have come to my house, asked me if you could come in, and we are sitting and drinking coffee. Does that make you a Democrat – :)?

    • Dave Miller says

      I think my people might be more enthusiastic about us switching pulpits than your church would be!

    • Dave Miller says

      Dwight asked,

      “Say what you will or may about President Obama; No presidential candidate in history has been able to put together an inter-racial coalition on the order that he has. Why can’t the body of Christ do this?”

      I say that is a very good question.

      • Frank L. says


        I’m not sure if that is a rhetorical question, but I think it can be answered. I’m not sure if by asking the question you are assuming that it has “not” been done.

        I would say that of all the movements in the history of the world, no movement has been as “inter-racial” as Christianity. I do not think Obama has accomplished some great feat that Christ has not.

        It is that kind of rhetoric that tends to divide the Church on this issue, in my humble opinion.

        I’m not even sure how one determines that “Obama has put together an inter-racial coalition” on the order that no other president in history has done. Perhaps that is true, but I don’t think it is true simply because he won an election by a very slim margin.

        One can also say just as confidently that no other president in the history of America has been as anti-Christian and pro-gay. So, I’m not really sure I’m ready to praise Obama as a model for “social equality.”

        Perhaps others will attempt to answer the question.

        I do think that there are churches–many of them–that are doing a great job of reflecting a real sense of racial justice. Could we do better? Well, I think that goes without saying.

        I just don’t think I’m going to use Obama as my model for doing it.

    • Christiane says

      “One of the untold stories of the civil rights movement is the story of the Whites and Jews, who spoke, wrote, prayed, gave and served those who were Black on the front lines of the movement.”

      they worked together, and sometimes, they died together, but they are not forgotten among people of faith:
      The Year 1964 . . .
      ‘Franciscan Father Groeschel and a rabbi in Croton-on-Hudson had raised the money to buy the blue station wagon that Michael Schwerner was driving when he, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were kidnapped and later killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964.
      Father Groeschel remembers going to a civil rights march with his friend Nate Schwerner, Michael’s father, before the young men were found and Mr. Schwerner’s saying to him, “I think they are dead.” ‘

      They were dead but they are still remembered and honored as civil rights martyrs. Their story is told in the film ‘Mississippi Burning’.

    • says

      Use to be int he South that Black folks were not permitted to enter White homes by the front door nor to set at the table and eat with the White folks. When I was teaching at S.C. State, I had the Chairman of the Dept., Dr. Myland Brown, over for Dinner one day. I made it a point to have him and his wife come in by the front door, a daring act even in the Fall of 70 or the Spring of 71 (I can’t remember which season it was). And then we had the whole Dept over for a party, when we moved into a house that we had purchased. Never had any problems, but in the neighborhood where I lived first one fellow got word to me that he sure didn’t approve of what I was doing and did not want to socialize with me. I have asked a friend, a retired chaplain to tell about his experience in Mississippi in the 60s.

  9. Frank L. says

    “” I was dumbfounded. I could never vote for that Anglo Africana (White) Missionary to be President of anywhere, even if his views were pro-life and anti-gay marriage.””

    This is why we must find a political option that is as fervent about social justice (in all its forms) as it is “pro-life.”

    If this election proved anything it proves this.

    Being “pro-justice” and being “pro-life” cannot be forced into competition as the story above proves so brilliantly.

    The question that it raises in my mind — and one I am not completely comfortable with — would I vote for that man if I felt it would save even one aborted baby?

    My answer is: I prefer a better option. I prefer a coalition where such a question never arises. That is not likely to be found in any future Republican candidate, or Democratic Candidate.

    This issue presents a real dilemma. The only way I see out of the moral morass we are in is a “Third Party.”

    I do not see — and I’m no expert on politics — how the Democratic Party could possibly soften its view on “choice” and I don’t see how the Republican party can possibly broaden its views on social issues and still be a viable party.

    I don’t know the answer, but this recent election has at least opened my mind to what the question is.

    • Dave Miller says

      “Being “pro-justice” and being “pro-life” cannot be forced into competition as the story above proves so brilliantly.”


      • Frank L. says

        Though Dwight probably does not believe it, his ministry has had a profound influence on how I view racial matters — or moreso, perhaps, how I choose the words to discuss the matter.

        Though I’ve fought hard to resist the idea that Black’s can be very conservative and still vote Democrat, I think it is an issue that I simply must acknowledge.

        That does not mean I have to “agree” this is a good approach to the big issues of social justice and sanctity of life. I can accept how this seeming irony has come about — and it certainly has come about.

        For most of my life I was a “socially conscious Republican.” I am no longer comfortable in that camp. I’m a “Man Without a Party” to borrow from a famous novel.

        One thing I am absolutely convinced of is this: we must find a coalition that incorporates the best of what Democrats and Republicans have to offer.

        I’d love to vote “Republicrat” in the 2016 election.

    • says

      Frank L.: I think, though I cannot say with absolute assurance, that the answer is in the U.S. Constitutional Party, one that adheres to the instruments that speak of the God-given rights.

      • Frank L. says

        Dr. J,

        I’ve heard that mentioned before but I have not really researched it myself. I’ll have to read their platform.

  10. neil says

    We serve an eternal God, and we must look at this problem through His perspective. This is one aspect of eternal, universal truths to the fallen human condition. And any attempt to view things from our own perspective (regardless of race); or to limit “the past” to the framework of 200 years of american history, would be wrong.

    “White man in a white world”?? Statistically, worldwide, whites are not the majority. To demonize the success of any race is rascism.

    Church discipline has gone by the wayside. Any rascist in the church needs to be kicked out. Many evils have been committed under the banner of Christ. If you say you love God but hate your brother, you are a lier. The last will be first and the first last. Esteem others higher than yourself. The gospel is common sense to the common man. Too many politicians, business man and smarty pants intellectuals are jockying for power in Christs church. Love eachother thats how the world will know we are His.

    “We whites” claim to be color blind?? Define “we”. Who are these people?

  11. says

    Question: What do you (Dwight and Dave) mean when you talk about color-blindness? What does that mean for you?

    Comment: I think we need to remember that this isn’t just a white/black issue. Hispanics now outnumber African Americans in the U.S. There are also a whole host of other minorities who, though they don’t have a deep, dark history of slavery, have still experienced injustice and discrimination here in the U.S. and abroad. It seems that color-blindness, if it is defined as a lack of awareness of the shared perspectives and experiences of people of a particular race and culture, is not limited to whites or black/white race relations.

    • Dave Miller says

      For me, color-blinded is the idea that we make decisions and choices totally without regard to race – the ideal of Dr. King when he talked about people being judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. It is a noble goal, but not a reality today, since there are still so many barriers faced by minorities in our culture.

      Example: was Fred Luter qualified to be SBC President? Absolutely. He is doing a great job as far as I am concerned. I would not have voted for him if I did not believe that he was a qualified candidate. But can we argue that race played no part in the vote? There was a sense that it was time to elect an African-American as our president.

      In heaven we will be color-blind. Until then, we have to fight against our racial tendencies, which will always be a part of our makeup.

      • says

        Then I’m confused if being color-blind is an ideal to which we must strive to attain or naïveté which we must avoid. We can’t say we want to be color-blind, making decisions and choices totally without regard to race, and then say “It was time to elect an African-American as our president,” in the same breath. The first may be ideal, but the second just comes across to me as patronizing.

        • Dave Miller says

          Read Dwight’s comments below. I think they are another example about how people of color see the world differently than we do.

          We are not “color-blind” as long as we are almost exclusively white.

      • says

        Good point. Let me restate:

        When you wrote about not noticing that all of the speakers at the convention were white, that to me was “color blind”. There are things we shouldn’t be oblivious to and the way that we fail to love people should be one of them. Interestingly, that principle goes both ways. There are ways in which white Christian males, stay-at-home moms, and others are hated by elements of today’s society.

        But there’s a principle I’ve come to consider fairly important. It’s biblical if you think about it. Regarding the “meat offered to idols” admonition that Paul made, there’s a sense in which is incumbent on whoever is in a position of strength to condescend to those who are in a position of weakness for their benefit. Many people see their own power as the right to put others down. But the biblical principle is for any who have power to see it as an obligation to lift others up. We can’t be color blind if it means failing to work from a position of power to lift up those who, by virtue of their ethnic background, are struggling.

      • says

        It’s probably worth pointing out that the colorblind thesis is a misinterpretation of Dr. King. He didn’t advocate colorblindness in the way that many conservatives suggest.

        King’s speeches reveal that he was very color-aware or race-conscious and supported color-aware or race-conscious public policies (i.e. affirmative action) out of his commitment to equality and fairness.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      I’m assuming when you refer to “Dwight and Dave” discussing “color-blindness, you are referencing what I referred to in Dave’s post as “The Money Quote”: “White people can advocate a color blind world, but to those who are not white, that is simply not a reality”? If this is what you are referring to, I was simply appreciating the fact that Dave recognized that, generally speaking, from my observation, people of color don’t trumpet or advocate a color blind society in the same way Whites trumpet or advocate a color blind society.

      People of color ironically get left out or neglected when those who are in the majority and in power advocate “color-blindness.” When Bill Clinton ran for President, I distinctly remember him saying that his cabinet would look like America. That type of language resonates with people of color, because we know that that means that we will be included. “Color-blind” sometimes means that we are blind to every color but ours. I believe that we must be intentional about color and gender inclusion.

      Those of us over 40-45 years old, born in the South, we were born into a world where color determined major decisions about our lives; and many of them were negative. Therefore, we don’t want “color-blindness” to become a politically correct alibi to exclude us. Just as were once intentionally excluded based on color, we now want to be intentionally included based on color, without compromising qualifications.

      Finally, God Himself is not color blind. He made birds, flowers, people, and even fish different colors. God likes variety. Therefore, we must be intentionally color inclusive, just as God was/is. When he poured out His Spirit at Pentecost all colors were present(Acts 2: 5). Seldom do all colors assemble together today(except at a Obama Rally), therefore even God would find it difficult to pour out His Spirit on today’s church at one time, because we are so divided by color, we seldom, if ever get together. If I didn’t address your question, let me know and I’ll try again.

      • Frank L. says

        “”” Seldom do all colors assemble together today(except at a Obama Rally),”””

        I don’t want nor expect to engage anyone in regard to this quote, but to simply say, I think it paints with far too wide a brush and sounds like nothing more than a gratuitous assertion.

        I can easily see how this could be offensive.

          • Frank L. says

            Joe, were you aware of the picture showing Mitt Romney’s father, a Republican marching for civil rights between two Black men?

            Is it not interesting that a Romney actually worked for and marched for civil rights, but Obama has not?

            It simply is not true to suggest there has never been a racially mixed rally until Obama.

            I thought I remembered that so I googled: Romney’s Father Marches for Civil Rights. I was kind of stunned when the picture came up.

      • Dave Miller says

        I’m not a researcher (perhaps I’m just too lazy, I don’t know), but I’d love to talk to pastors of churches that are racially mixed – black and white – and find out how they are doing it.

        • Frank L. says

          “”that are racially mixed – black and white””


          I’m not sure why the “race” issue only plays in “black and white.” I live in a town that the predominate minority is “brown” not “black.” In fact, the Black population of my town is rather insignificant statistically (if I can remember the last time I looked).

          However, we do have many Asian families, as well as a rather large (for our size town) Middle Eastern population.

          Of the last four adults who have been saved this month in our church: two were black, one was white, and one was Hispanic.

          I would consider our church to be “racially mixed” as much as our community is racially mixed.

          The cross-cultural issues I deal with are more along the lines of immigration issues, and Middle Eastern asylum issues, not to mention I live only 45 minutes from Hollywood, so there is also more than enough opportunities to deal with gay-issues.

          If I were about an hour and a half south, then I’d be right in the heart of L.A. and I’m sure the issues and colors would change.

          I do not think the only “racial” issues we have in America can be reduced to “Black and White.” In fact, the discussion of the “immigration foibles” of the Republican Party in this thread seem to bear this out.

          • Frank L. says

            I just did some research on my area. The Black population in our area is less than 1.4%.

            My church is already way above that percentage.

            Now, I’m thinking, how does this conversation about race apply to me? It cannot mean that I have a significant number of Blacks in my congregation.

            I can only be a “partner” in the broader human community of promoting a multi-ethnic understanding. In other words, what that looks like in my town may not “look” the same way as your town.

            But, our hearts can still beat together.

        • Dave Miller says

          I specifically referenced black and white because that is where I see the culture affecting the church’s makeup the most.

          • Frank L. says


            I was speaking more to the reference of how “racial issues” played out in this past election.

            Based upon past experience the economy should have washed Romney into the White House by a significant margin–but clearly it did not.

            The race issue impacted this past election results — but not the color Black, but Brown. The Black vote has traditionally been given to the Democratic Party so that was not a “swing factor.”

            It was the Brown vote that made the difference in regard to race being an issue.

            I do not think we can adequately address the “race” issue unless we understand it in a broader context than “Black and White.”

            I do see where you are coming from when we talk about “the race issue” in general.

            However, in regard to the Black and White issue, “affecting the church’s makeup the most,” I do not think that is going to cover the issue adequately.

            This is where I struggle with the discussion because, as I pointed out, there is no “Black/White” issue in my town, but I’m willing to bet there is a “racism issue” that needs to be addressed.

            I will put my neck on the line and make a comment that can easily be misunderstood, but I’ve already given the warning. I view the Black/White issue as it is and has been expressed in the South as a “more or less” settled issue . . . but, and this is a big but, the underlying sentiments that contribute and continue to contribute to “race” issues across the board are still an issue that needs to be dealt with.

            But, I don’t think we can get to the heart of the matter nationally by addressing it provincially — as in, “I grew up in the South . . . ”

            So, the reason I am sensitive to couching the conversation in “Black v. White” is because I don’t have a “context” to understand it in those terms.

            I grew up in the North in West Virginia. Now, to some, that will sound strange because most everybody I have met around the world consider me a “southerner.” That demonstrates just how “provincially narrow” our perspective can be when discussing matters of race and culture.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            What I don’t get is why anyone would argue with Dwight on this issue? I have always read or heard from Dwight himself , the problems with race issues and accept they were true. I have no reason to doubt Dwight at all.

            Yet, so many always want to challenge Dwight, and you usually are white male or female who really don’t have a clue why Dwight is so concerned and rightfully so. Most of you are too young to have known the Civil Rights movement or the horrors of the KKK. So why challenge? Why not just do your part to make it better and accept what Dwight is saying? I don’t get it.

          • Dave Miller says

            Debbie, it is kind of in the nature of blogs that no one gets the final and climactic word on anything. We disagree on so many things. I have a deep respect for Dwight McKissic, but I do not think we can elevate him to infallibility – at least not yet.

            I have often wondered, though, if it might not be a better world if everyone agreed with me.

          • says

            David: That will never happen, “everyone in the world agreeing” with thee, as long as I am alive. But take heart. I will be 72 on Dec. 30 and only 55 on Dec. 7, so one way or the other it does not seem likely that I have long to go…unless I do like my Dad who lived to be almost 91.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Sorry Dave, but on this particular subject your reply to my comment makes no sense. I don’t think I’m advocating Dwight’s infallibility, but for crying out loud, I think on the subject of race relations there is no reason to question or challenge Dwight on the subject. It’s a form of denial that Southern Baptists are so famous for. This is not a matter of just agree with me, it’s a matter of open your eyes and see what is actually going on around you. What is really going on, not the sanitized version.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Sorry Dave, but on this particular subject your reply to my comment makes no sense. I don’t think I’m advocating Dwight’s infallibility, but for crying out loud, I think on the subject of race relations there is no reason to question or challenge Dwight on the subject. It’s a form of denial that Southern Baptists are so famous for. This is not a matter of just agree with me, it’s a matter of open your eyes and see what is actually going on around you. What is really going on, not the sanitized version.

          • Dave Miller says

            Debbie, to put anyone’s views beyond question or contestation is unwise, unhealthy and certainly un-Baptist.

          • cb scott says

            There is empirical evidence that Dr. Dwight Mckissic is not infallible.

            He is a friend to cb scott.

            BTW, there is a negative factor to being color blind. No branch of the United States Armed Forces will allow you to fly their planes.

          • says

            CB: What a blot on Dr. Dwight’s standard of infalliblity you are. Now Dr., you will have to give up all claims to such a high performance. Trust Cb to ruin every thing, especially if football is involved…until Texas shows up.

            BTW: Don’t worry about the color blind issue, if you go into the air force. We will get Dr. McK to loan you his.

          • Joe Blackmon says

            I don’t think I’m advocating Dwight’s infallibility, but for crying out loud, I think on the subject of race relations there is no reason to question or challenge Dwight on the subject.

            If you’re saying there is no reason to challege him (which there are plenty of reasons to challenge him) the by definition you are advocating his opinion as infallible.

        • says


          Mark Deymaz is the pastor of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, in Little Rock. His church started with the goal of being multi-ethnic. Before he began, he sat down with one of the black leaders in the community and received outstanding advice. The leader told him, “If you only hire us to be the janitor, you’re telling us we’re qualified to clean up after you. If you hire us to be the worship leader, it may seem like you think we’re only qualified to entertain you. If you share your pulpit with us, you are saying we’re qualified to lead you.” It’s been awhile since I read his book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church, but that’s the quote as closely as I can recall. From what I understand, he began to share his pulpit Christ-like men that looked like the community and God has blessed his efforts. The book is definitely worth a read. There’s a lot more that has gone into the growth of his church, but this was the starting point.

          • says

            I once had the opportunity to be considered by a Pulpit Committee from a Black Church…and this was by phone from another state. They were astute, engaged, conscientious, and magnified the Lord Jesus Christ in their actions. They were also intensely biblical, and I failed simply on the issue of women in ministry which I mentioned as a possibility – not something I would start a fuss about. But that was enough for them. My problem was my problem – not theirs. If I had known then of the proper answers, biblically, I think I could have handled it better.

      • says

        @Dwight | That does clear it up some. In one sense, I want to be color blind. If someone had run against Luter for president, and I felt they were both more or less equally qualified, I would want to have a better tie-breaker than “it’s time we have an African-American president.” On the other hand, I don’t want to be ignorant or incognizant of the race issues that are very much a present reality.

          • says

            @BDW | Because race isn’t a qualification. It isn’t a character trait. If another African-American had run against Luter, should I vote for the one with the darkest skin? What if a Hispanic man had run against Luter? Or Korean? Or someone in a wheelchair? Which race, color, or disability is the best? Ultimately, at least as a member of the majority, I find that voting for someone because of his minority status is patronizing and paternalistic.

            (FWIW, I wasn’t at the annual meeting, so I couldn’t vote, but I do believe Luter is a great president and would have voted for him.)

  12. says


    One of the other things that got me thinking was your example of the South African missionary. As much as we stress the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity, sometimes the naïveté and inexperience of foreign missionaries can be a good thing. A missionary from the U.S. or Europe might have commited the “faux pas” of crossing the threshhold where the national missionary did not.

  13. John Wallace says

    If we want a Rebublicrat (someone like Huckabee) to be a viable candidate for 2016, we’ll have to convince the Republican party (and Rupert Murdoch) that serious Christians will not support a candidate who doesn’t care about the poor.

    Currently, I don’t see any consensus among white evangelicals. Too many of us live in predominantly white suburbs with virtually no contact with the urban poor. We conveniently stereotype anyone who receives government assistance as a lazy freeloader rather than as a possible victim of unjust wages.

    We have to start meeting each other in our churches. When we actually meet families who are working multiple jobs to make ends meet yet suffering eviction from their apartments because of gentrification, perhaps it will challenge our misconceptions.

    And we even have to go beyond pulpit swaps and carefully scripted inter-racial worship services. We have to create forums where we talk about the hard issues.

    I’m grieving over my lack of action. God grant me repentance. God, allow me to be a part of the healing.

    • Bill Mac says

      I think we have to know a lot more about a candidate to assume that any of them don’t care about the poor. All the studies I have seen show conservatives as miles and miles more generous than liberals. I agree that the Republican party could use a facelift, but I fear we are buying wholesale the idea that “care for the poor” simply means taking money from people who earn it and giving it to people who didn’t.

      This is going to sound harsh, but in America, right now, someone tell me what help the poor are not getting that they should be getting. Serious question.

      • says

        Bill Mac: They are not getting jobs, and they will not be getting them. Why? Because such workers are not longer needed due to three things: Computerization. Automation. Robotics. In the late 80s a Burger King, a 24-7 operation employing 400, was automated. The work force went to 20, with 18 of that 20 being clean-up crew. We need new jobs, the creation of jobs, the adjustment of the whole work force to self-employment, motivation, and job creation.

        • Frank L. says

          Dr j. Your analysis of why unemployment is through the roof is seriously flawed.

          Progress is not the culprit . . . Progressives are

          • says

            Dear Frank L>: I was only going by the materials supplied to me by the Vocational Director of the County School System in which I worked as a Counselor and Industry Education Coordinator, The statement was based on the evaluation I made of the materials she supplied to me from the conference she had attended on jobs in the future. You might be right for all I know, but it seems mostly based on a lot of knowledge about what is involved in the future, what is planned. For instance, there is also the removal of jobs to South of the Border, to China, India, the Far East (Malaysia (sp), Burma, Indonesia, etc. A Ph.D. in Pol. Sci. from UNC-Ch wrote a book pointing out that a play written by the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1906 discussed treaties in the 1990s designed to move jobs to other nations which apparently was a planned thing, since dramas like that do not happen accidentally. I should add the Ph.D. could not buy a job teaching either, like the Sutton fellow (Was it?) who wrote two volumes on Wall Street’s financing of the Russian Revolution. Also there is a motivation in the affair to bust unions. A fellow I was talking with a few months ago told me that he was told at a Supervisors’ meeting circa 1970 or 80, can’t remember which he said, that there would be no White men in the work force by 2020, He said the leader of the meeting so shocked him that he quizzed him rather closely and was told that the decision had been made at higher levels.

        • Bill Mac says

          Dr. J.: We can’t unprogress and technology won’t be uninvented.

          I’m asking about the so called social safety net. Where are the holes in that net? If republicans don’t care about the poor, let’s hear some specifics. The poor, as far as I know, get food, shelter, clothing, medicine, and transportation. What else do we need to give them? What else will it take to convince people that we “care about the poor”?

        • Joe Blackmon says

          Dr. J

          As a former pimply faced teenager during the late 80’s who worked at a burger king, I highly doubt that even the busiest restaurant locations employed half of what you talk about–400?? Not by a long shot.

          • says

            Joe: I am simply reporting on what the articles stated. Could be my memory is fallible, but it was a good sized and busy franchise, a 24/7 operation. I was simply evaluating the items (the businesses automating, etc., and the people unemployed). Since these were serious reports from a conference on jobs in the Future reported, I had not reason to take them as otherwise than genuine. Somewhere in my vast collection of materials (I have a library of about 12000+ volumes and reams of notebooks, files, notecards, etc.), I think I still have a copy of the reports I read and evaluated…and I read it several years ago.

        • Jess Alford says

          dr james willingham,

          Sir, you are correct, automation and computerization has put millions out of work. Back in the 70’s, I had an elderly deacon in my church, he said to me I want to tell you something, very important.
          He said there is a electric box that they have come up with that can think. They call them puters, I said I think I’ve heard of puters, he said them puters is going to take over the world.

          He just didn’t know how right he was.

          • says

            Dear Jess: I was reading about such computers back in the fifties in science fiction. Even then there were computers being used to do things no one every suspected. E.g., on the U.S.S. North Carolina one was used to sight the big 16 inch guns that fired on so many enemy held islands int eh forties. And then there were the computers with punch cards supplied to the Germans by IBM which the Nazis used to locate and round up the Jews in every country they conquered and deport them to the death camps. You can read about it in Edwin Black’s IBM and the Holocaust (Pshaw you can even google it and find out a goodly amount of info. that way). IBM got its machings back at the end of the war and collecting its leasing, rental or whatever fees that had been deposited in Swiss Accounts by the Germans. I read Black’s work back around 2001-2.

  14. Jess Alford says

    As long as time stands there will always be prejudice, in one form or
    another. I think through education, we can treat one another with respect.

    I grew up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. I didn’t even see a black person until I was 14 years old, and this was in high school. I think we had four Blacks in our entire high school.

    I suppose I see things a bit different than most blacks or whites. I judge a man by his character not the color of his skin.

    I didn’t know what prejudice was until I moved out of the mountains.
    I knew the definition, but didn’t know what it was. I moved to a town that was about 13% black. I was shocked, Whites hated blacks and blacks hated whites. I was wondering why some blacks was so rude to me, I knew I hadn’t done anything to a single black person. I also noticed some whites were rude to black people.

    All I’m saying is I will continue to judge a man by his character not the color of his skin. I do think we all have some prejudices, but we can treat one another as equals, and get along the best we can. We’re on a very small planet in a great big universe. The least we can do is love one another.