I am not excited about the VP’s visit tomorrow but it is for very different reasons than many of my friends and in the minority communities.
For me any desire to hear the VP speak (and I have little) is more than balanced by the anticipated logistical nightmare that awaits us tomorrow. Bill Townes broke my heart when he told us that I can’t bring glitter. No glitter!
But several Black Southern Baptists took this appearance very differently – as a betrayal and an insult. As I read their tweets I was shocked at how great an offense this was. If it had been Trump I could have understood it but the level of offense taken at Mike Pence’s appearance baffled me.
No, I get it – the general principle. We have been way too identified with my former party and that tie must be broken. If they asked my opinion, I’d say no. But the force of the reaction was far stronger than I had thought.
I am an old White preacher from Iowa doesn’t understand some of these Black responses to the SBC’s decision to accept the request if VP Pence to address us.
I don’t get it.
So, what should I do?
- Should I call their response wrong because I don’t get it?
- Should I assume that my understanding is more righteous than theirs?
- Should I rebuke them for acting by their consciences and not mine?
Maybe I should try something else.
- Maybe I could consider that my white cultural thinking may not fully represent the mind of Christ.
- Maybe I could engage with people who think differently and learn from them.
- Maybe I don’t have to be threatened by people who see the world differently.
I know some of you in minority communities are discouraged but things are beginning to change and we need you. I need you. I need to hear what you think and how you think even when it makes me uncomfortable or challenges my normal thinking.
We need you.
We need you engaging and challenging our thinking and making us uncomfortable. We need grace and forgiveness for our resistance and hardheadedness. I don’t know if we help you but you improve us. We need you.
We will often confuse one another but we are part of One Body and one eternal Kingdom. It is worth it to keep trying to understand.
The gospel of Jesus demands it and I am better for it.