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Racial Reconciliation Requires a Painful Level of Self-Awareness

To participate in the work of justice, we pastors need to grow and change.
Racial Reconciliation Requires a Painful Level of Self-Awareness
Image: Julio Reynaldo / Amir Babaei / Steward Masweneng / Unsplash

One month after our church’s annual Gospel and Race conference two years ago, a small group of black congregants asked for a private meeting with me. I thought the conference was a success, so I wondered what the meeting could be about. For the conference, we brought in top-notch thinkers and leaders from the outside, but it was evident to some in our church that we still had lots of work to do on the inside.

For three decades, our multiethnic congregation has worked extremely hard to bridge racial barriers. We address racial injustice, encourage relationships across ethnic differences, and seek to model something of the kingdom of God. But even with this history, there remain blind spots.

In the days preceding the meeting, I heard words of frustration from some of the people who were planning on attending, so I was already on guard. When the time came, I walked in and greeted the ten congregants who were patiently waiting for our meeting to begin. I did my pastoral thing, greeting ...

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