As a way to continue the conversations in The Biola Hour, we've invited Becky Mitchell to blog her thoughts after each episode. This is a response to Episode 45 on MLK and making his dream a reality. Feel free to interact with Becky's thoughts in the comments below.
As he grew up, Pastor Albert Tate learned of God working in a generation and through black people. He saw Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a communicator who inspired many people. He was shaped by Dr. King.
The aspects and ways of life that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked to overcome, though maybe not exactly the same as today, include too much of the same societal power structures given to white people. Yes, he was one of those ancestors who fought for people of color past and present to be allowed in certain spaces, as Pastor Tate talked about. He resisted a system that treated people in harmful ways—to say the least. And as Pastor Tate shared, the reality is many of the mindsets that lead to actions continue to exist today.
He commented on a church not being multi-ethnic simply because there is one song lyric in Spanish or Arabic. That Sunday church services are the most segregated hour but what does your Saturday evening look like? Do you have friends of different ethnicities than you? We need to remember friends are who we bring to church, as Pastor Tate stated.
Our places of comfortability are not ones God meant when He asked us to go and teach others about Him. He asked each of us with our unique ethnicities to go to all nations, to all ethne. God’s Word is clear: follow Him. And here is where I must also tell you the truth: I have avoided the hard work it takes to justly care for all people, to follow God’s kingdom values.
I would like to tell you a few other honest parts of what engaging on the topic of race can look like for me in hopes that you too might think about how you interact in these spaces. In chapel, my heart grieved and I could not smile because people have actually experienced these things. Other jokes I could laugh. I clapped and beamed as Pastor Tate shared what Biola needed to hear. In all truth, I do not always know how to respond to comments on race. But I will keep coming, listening and learning how to engage.
Fellow people, let’s keep learning how to wake up, include and care for others as we wait for the kingdom to come fully.