Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker

S3 E19 | Loving Our Enemies in a Nation Divided with David Bailey

November 10, 2020 David Bailey Season 3 Episode 19
Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker
S3 E19 | Loving Our Enemies in a Nation Divided with David Bailey
Chapters
Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker
S3 E19 | Loving Our Enemies in a Nation Divided with David Bailey
Nov 10, 2020 Season 3 Episode 19
David Bailey

The presidential election does not change the church’s assignment. David Bailey, the executive director of Arrabon, talks with Amy Julia about the practices of reconciling communities, the divisions that result from misplaced hope in political power, and the foretaste of God’s kingdom that comes through loving our enemies.

SHOW NOTES:
David Bailey is the executive director of Arrabon, a ministry that helps churches become reconciling communities. Arrabon also includes Urban Doxology,  ministry that writes the soundtrack of reconciliation in a racially diverse and gentrifying neighborhood. Connect online:

On the Podcast:

“[In Acts] the church was birthed within a multiethnic, socioeconomically diverse space. The miracle of that day and time was the fact that they were experiencing unity and diversity instead of unity through assimilation.”

“We live in a day and time where we treat one another as enemies...We talk to each other violently. We listen to each other in ways to pounce on one another. And as Christians, we’re called to love God. We’re called to love our neighbor. We’re called to love our enemy. Not in a theoretical sense. Our invitation is to engage in sacrificial love for our enemy.

“A reconciling community is a group of people linked by a common purpose and a rhythm of life together that acknowledges the depths of brokenness in the world in our world and actively receives the invitation from God to heal the brokenness of our world holistically from the inside out."

“The world gets the church, and we are to be a foretaste of the kingdom that is to come.”

Thank you to Breaking Ground, the co-host for this podcast.

White Picket Fences, Season 3 of Love is Stronger Than Fear, is based on my book White Picket Fences, and today we are talking about chapter 13. Check out free RESOURCESaction guide, discussion guides—that are designed to help you respond. Learn more about my writing and speaking at amyjuliabecker.com.

Show Notes Transcript

The presidential election does not change the church’s assignment. David Bailey, the executive director of Arrabon, talks with Amy Julia about the practices of reconciling communities, the divisions that result from misplaced hope in political power, and the foretaste of God’s kingdom that comes through loving our enemies.

SHOW NOTES:
David Bailey is the executive director of Arrabon, a ministry that helps churches become reconciling communities. Arrabon also includes Urban Doxology,  ministry that writes the soundtrack of reconciliation in a racially diverse and gentrifying neighborhood. Connect online:

On the Podcast:

“[In Acts] the church was birthed within a multiethnic, socioeconomically diverse space. The miracle of that day and time was the fact that they were experiencing unity and diversity instead of unity through assimilation.”

“We live in a day and time where we treat one another as enemies...We talk to each other violently. We listen to each other in ways to pounce on one another. And as Christians, we’re called to love God. We’re called to love our neighbor. We’re called to love our enemy. Not in a theoretical sense. Our invitation is to engage in sacrificial love for our enemy.

“A reconciling community is a group of people linked by a common purpose and a rhythm of life together that acknowledges the depths of brokenness in the world in our world and actively receives the invitation from God to heal the brokenness of our world holistically from the inside out."

“The world gets the church, and we are to be a foretaste of the kingdom that is to come.”

Thank you to Breaking Ground, the co-host for this podcast.

White Picket Fences, Season 3 of Love is Stronger Than Fear, is based on my book White Picket Fences, and today we are talking about chapter 13. Check out free RESOURCESaction guide, discussion guides—that are designed to help you respond. Learn more about my writing and speaking at amyjuliabecker.com.

Note: This transcript is generated using speech recognition software and does contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

0 (0s):
<inaudible>

1 (3s):
My friends. I'm Amy Julia Becker and this is love is stronger than Fear a podcast about pursuing hope and healing in the midst of social division in this season we're talking about my book White Picket Fences and today's episode. It takes a look at the themes of chapter 13 To Act Justly with my guest David Bailey. And many of you will remember that I talked with my friend David Bailey here on the podcast. Back in June, when we spoke, it was a few weeks after George Floyd's death and the whole country was paying attention to issues related to race and policing and justice and doing so on a different scale than ever before. David is the founder and executive director of a ministry called Arrabon a R R a B O N Arrabon.

1 (48s):
It's a Greek word. We'll talk about what it means in the SHOW and it's a ministry that helps churches become reconciling communities. So I wanted to explain why I've asked David to come back for this episode, and there really are three reasons for that one. We are coming to the end of this season of the podcast. And I liked the idea of just circling back to where we began to were talking about this chapter. And White Picket, Fences, that's called to act justly. And I really did think of David as a particularly great person to ask about the themes in that chapter. It's interesting in that chapter, because I wrote it about the days following the 2016 presidential election.

1 (1m 28s):
And here we are four years later, and many of the themes that we're on my heart and mind four years ago, are there again today. And so that's my third reason for asking David to be here because we did just vote for our next president. And even though as I speak, we don't know who that's going to be. A David has been a really helpful source of wisdom and truth for me in the past, when I felt anxious about our political situation. And so I call it on him because I wanted him to bring some of his perspective, honestly, to me, but also to the rest of you, to the rest of us, by the time this show airs, hopefully we'll know who are our president is going to be, but that won't mean that we've done the work of healing that our nation needs.

1 (2m 9s):
I want to be a part of that healing, no matter who our president is. I hope the same is true for you. And I am certain that David in his thoughtfulness and in the work that he's doing can help us to begin to understand what it might mean for us to participate in the healing work of God within our communities.

0 (2m 31s):
Wow.

1 (2m 32s):
I am back with my friend and guest David Bailey. David welcome. Thank you for being here.

2 (2m 38s):
Thanks so much for inviting me so glad to be back. So we

1 (2m 42s):
You're talking on November 4th, which is the day after, I don't know the beginning of our own

2 (2m 47s):
A presidential election, and we are going to talk about

1 (2m 50s):
In politics and the election today, even though at the moment, things are uncertain and maybe that's why we'll talk about it, but I want it to begin this conversation just by reminding listeners who you are. The first episode of this season of the podcast was a conversation we had, but I'm sure that not everyone has heard that. And even if they have, they might not remember what we talked about. And so I really liked to even frame this conversation in terms of the work you do through the ministry that you began called Aerobahn. So could you just explain what prompted you to found this ministry? Like what is the passion and the vision and the calling that you've got and what have you seen happen in the years since it started?

3 (3m 31s):
Yeah, well, I I'll kinda, I can't thanks for having me in a skirt to kind of be able to share a little more, more of a story. So I I'll, I'll kind of tell you about two important numbers that will help me understand how air bank has started. A one number is eight and the other, the number is 2008. And so what I was eight years old, I was very slow and learning how to read. And my dad kind of got the inclination set, like, Hey, maybe if I get my son a second grade, the grade level of reading Bible, having read to chaps to the old Testament, to a chapter in new Testament, Proverbs and the songs every day, then a, maybe the Lord will teach him how to read it.

3 (4m 14s):
So I grew up on one of those, the old school households, where you just do what your parents tell you to do. And, and so that, that was as a discipline, I got started in my life. And so I eventually did learn how to read and, and really had a love for the scripture and God, and he shared the good news with me, the gospel. I remember syncing a conviction in the Holy spirit about Sterne and, and, and so my journey with God to start at eight. Mm. Another thing that happened was I started to my parents. We lived in the suburbs where folks from the like, like when people leave, like I'm a black or, or an immigrant communities will lead the city and move on to the suburbs.

3 (4m 57s):
There's like a working class suburbs. So I always kind of an ethic about racial minority where the suburbs, but then we went to church, literally we moved from our storefront church to a commercial with another of the church that was a literary in house, on the projects. So I went to church with people who are much more than me. And then as a kid, you don't really know, like I remember being like, Oh, I don't like hanging out with those kids, their stinky, you know? Yes. But I don't really understand what they say. They moved from being stinky kids to folks with names, you know, and, and my friends and, you know, and those who I played basketball with and for the bar with. And, and, and so, so that changed in my space. So I engage with people who were economically different than me, racially different than me ethnic, who are different than me.

3 (5m 43s):
So then the other thing that happened when I was eight, well, it was, I started to kind of take around a piano, started playing the piano a little bit about at the time I was 11, it was a church to be Anna's, you know, by the time I was 14, I was like going around playing gigs because I was too young to us, like work in my dad and I always encourage entrepreneurship. And so I, you know, I remember driving, like I paid a friend of mine, maybe twenty-five bucks more to like to be my driver for the gig. And I don't remember us going to a gate it community that we didn't know existed. And we never were the first time being in the gay community, playing a, a, a wedding game for our principal, you know?

3 (6m 23s):
And so, so that opened my world up. And by the time I was in college, I was 18. And, you know, I'm playing at country clubs, I'm paying plan. Like, and I D I was like, wow, they have the memberships with $80,000. Like, and at my church, there wasn't anybody that probably made a household income combined household that come up to working family is more than, more than a $70,000 in that. So to have like a, a, a country club membership have $80,000 was a pretty out open in the world. So I get married 2006 and 2008. My wife says, David people keep on asking you, how do you bring people together?

3 (7m 6s):
Like, how do you get people together with different races or ethnicities educational levels? We also help start this church. And we started to become a, like a worshiping community of a multi-racial multi-ethnic socioeconomically diverse church that, you know, a lot of your college friends, right. You know, my reach to a friend's at the time that we were, when we moved to this community to not only live in an economically diverse place, but also a racially ethnically diverse place that was majority black in a majority folks were under the poverty line. And all you have to work in class with black folks were having to like college educated black people that chose to live in to the community that were like, like an, a married couple of young married couple, that's just not a place where young black men or a couple's were moving to LA.

3 (7m 51s):
And so, so, so that really changed my perspective. So again, when I'm talking about race of the city of economics, I'm not talking an abstract, and I'm talking about an actual life people that I know. I mean, I go in and out of a very wealthy places and very poor places. And so, so that, that was there. My life is not economically rich as a result of this, but it is relationally rich. I mean, it's just my perspective. There's generally not on a topic that we talk about that I'm not actually thinking about how this affects the lives of actual life.

3 (8m 33s):
People that actually get a name, actually. No. And I remember, I didn't know that it wasn't normal till I was in college are going to be in a, in a sociology class and sometimes talking about those people. And so, and they had very strong opinions about those people. Sometimes those people were rich people. Sometimes those people are poor people. Right. But I actually realized it was like, Ashley, you don't know a person by a name. Like, you don't know what Amy Julia, you don't know what Josh Gimo, you don't really know a, a, a bin. Oh, you don't know what you know. And these, these were all things that, that were significant challenges, you know, that I realized that folks have strong opinions about people who they cannot name or that it might have one friend at a one person that might be like the one that represents this whole group of people.

3 (9m 24s):
So just out of my wife's prompting, she just said like, Hey, you know, you should, you know, you should just start teaching people about this and do you want people practical skills and, and like the church. So it kind of became a social experiment in some ways. So like, and it was an opportunity to kind of practice what we preach and, and started writing and teaching. And in here, we are now 12 years later. Yeah. And, and, you know, I would say, you know, that they're going to 2008 people didn't feel like it was needed because we had a black president. Hm. You know, but, you know, but I was like, nah, I mean, it's, it's still a little hard work to be done, you know?

3 (10m 7s):
So, so that's, that's the little bit of a, kind of how we got here. And so

1 (10m 12s):
Can you also, I guess, two other questions, the first is just, can you explain Urban Doxology because that's an aspect of your work that I think people might not know about. That is really interesting.

3 (10m 23s):
Yeah. So like, I mean, a lot of this happened, I mean, again, because I'm in a local, like on our ministry is national reach is national, but we are practicing this as a very local, I mean, not just like, only at the city of Richmond, but like literally like in a neighborhood with a 1.5 mile radius where 85% of the people can walk to w when we use to do large gatherings. So churches, you know, before, before a zone church. Yeah. We used to all be able to walk to the church. Right. So the whole, so you have people who are formerly incarcerated with like doctors and surgeons and like for the homeless folks and just everybody that's in between.

3 (11m 3s):
Right. So these are, this is the word in the space of weight. And so back in, you know, I tell you about my, my music background and I stopped working professional as a musician back in 2015, but I've always been like asking that question, what the spiritual formation look like for people in the urban context of the urban inner city contexts, and like, you know, both of my church. So like when, when I really, like I got introduced, the system is just a systematic theology at 18. I grew up in a Pentecostal church. And so it, it wasn't, they didn't really like have, and those kinds of systematic understanding of God, that type of way. And, and my brain kind of works in a way of thinking that type of way.

3 (11m 46s):
So I got introduced to this. And so I didn't notice it at the time that I started doing what he called contextualization, trying to like, it was like, Oh, this could be really helpful. And so let me like textualize this. And I was always thinking about how do, how do you do spiritual formation for people in an urban inner city context? And so then when I moved into a community that was in that space, I remember having two guys who is about 20 years old, part of the hip-hop culture in a generation from the neighborhood they walk in and were singing in Christ alone. And, and, and like, I know about the theological debates about a tome mint. I know about like the, like gender inclusive language that happens in these kind of more of a, kind of a progressive spaces.

3 (12m 33s):
But I realized I was like, you have to have like, like, this is not ministering to these guys, pastor our concern that the immediate pastoral concern, like you have to have a California college degree to understand the theology of atonement. Yeah. And that's not the first thing that people are talking about. Like, and I saw it, I mean, this is three years before black lives matter. It was a hashtag that I saw that it was like the Christian publishing industry. They basically is a business. So they're targeting suburban white people, that's their market. Right. And then that's the primary market and as a secondary, and they might have like a suburban black audiences and they will develop a spiritual formation and worship resource for that.

3 (13m 17s):
But like, who is literally developing RESOURCES for the urban inner city black person that would resonate with a black lives matter pastoral or a concern. I mean, like, say whatever you want to say about the organization and how you feel about it, all the critiques, whatever they, like, I don't care about like, like I'm like what I've started really. I mean, really for the last 20 years, for sure. But specifically 10 years, like is like, Hey, let's create spiritual formation and worship RESOURCES for people in an urban inner city context. And then a lot of these communities are actually going through gentrification.

3 (14m 0s):
So then how do you do like a reconciliation and helped to prevent cultural gentrification? When you bring people who are, have, don't have a lot of power in this situation to create a lot of people who, who do have power of the situation, meaning like Books, that were economically vulnerable working on alongside of the Eagles with people who are economically secure. Right. You know, and how, how do, how do they work together where it's not a tug of war where those, the halves are based on what they have, not yet at the mercy of a half day, but how do we create a place of a mutual vitality where they could all work together and create something kingdom oriented.

3 (14m 41s):
So long story short, I created this Urban Doxology songwriting internship. Okay. So we get young people at 18 to 25 to study in theology study in justice studies and reconciliation, instead of writing papers, they write worship songs and those worship songs to become what we seeing in our congregation. It becomes a thing that young people in our church like, and you have cookies in a neighborhood. Like, I mean, they're not going to, like, I don't know who at the, at the time I started this, it was like being fancy and like a little bit of weight. And with like big, I don't know, who's the new, like Cardi B and little whoever, you

1 (15m 14s):
Know,

3 (15m 19s):
Like, you know, like they're not going to not listen to those folks, but it's like, Hey, let me get them some Urban Doxology, you know, and also let's do it in a way that depth of contextual aspect, urban black context, but then also invitational for people of all the different races and ethnicities to participate and be a part of this and find themselves and the story and narrative, and let's build something together. And so that's, that's the work we've just been doing for like, literally like 10 years, you know? And yeah, so some of our lives, most of my work, 80% of the work, it looks like helping organizations and institutions thinking through what does it look like to be a reconciling a community? That's what that work of Arab John is doing.

3 (15m 59s):
And I'd say about 20% of the work that we're doing is producing worship. RESOURCES a matter of fact, we just released one October 30th. We released the album. I'm in a little, E five song, AP in collaboration with Stanford university is a song called the rest of the rest for the weary. If you look at rest for that, we're very, Urban Doxology, you can check out the music and they know they are all, all the platforms where they stream.

1 (16m 29s):
We will include that in the show notes. For sure. And I, yeah. I want you to start here because I do think that gives a sense of you're heart and the scope of what you're thinking about. But also I love that wedding of this big national ministry that cares about reconciliation. And this is how does this actually work itself out in this local context? And thank you. I didn't know your whole stories as far as going back to when you are eight and wow, gosh, I kind of want your dad to come to my house and get my kids to just start reading their Bible. But we do that another time. So I am thinking about this election. And just again for anyone who is listening, we're recording this on November 4th.

1 (17m 11s):
So it's a Wednesday the day after November 3rd, the presidential election. And I was texting with you earlier today and saying, you know, should we push off our conversation since we don't really know who the president is going to be? Should we have a clear outcome? I don't want to confuse people. And I'm just going to quote what you texted back to me. You said, I have the disposition that the assignment of the church is the same, no matter who is the president. So for listeners, I'm going to say that one more time. And then I'm going to ask you to unpack it. I have the disposition that the assignment of the church is the same, no matter who is the president. So could you speak to that a little bit? What do you mean

3 (17m 48s):
By that? Think about like how the church was originally burns. I mean, like when Jesus came, Jesus came under the context and as a second class citizen, So the Jewish people were like what black people were. And during the Jim Crow air, they weren't like full citizens. And they were like black people. They were like in the us and in a space and he literally died and it was killed as a political criminal. Right. That's a charge is to the new. Now, again, these were, these were trumped up charges. It wasn't a fair jury, you know, but they're so much politics like in the scriptures, you know?

3 (18m 34s):
Yeah. And here's the thing when, when the Jewish people, at the reason why they miss the whole point of Jesus being in a Messiah 'cause they were looking for somebody that was going to overthrow the Roman government. Right. And, and he was a crucified Messiah. So that goes up every single, like human disposition to think about how we going to win this story.

1 (19m 1s):
I want to say it from that like political Jewish perspective, he was a failed Messiah. Like this should, this should be the evidence that he is failed is the fact that he was crucified, which is the worst punishment that Rome can meet out. Right? Like it's the most humiliating, this would never be done to a citizen. Right? Like, it's like, you are as marginalized as they come. And we will prove that to you by shaming you on across.

3 (19m 27s):
Yes. And so here's the thing, while Jesus was alive, he had a zealot and he had a tax collector. He has somebody that was part of the system that was the man. And he had somebody who was anti the system. So let's say that,

1 (19m 44s):
Can I pause you there? Just in case people don't know what it means to be a zealot and a tax collector in this context where you just explain that.

3 (19m 51s):
Yeah. It's not like he worked for the IRS, but like what he was, he was like, he lived in literally was like a, a person who has like a governing official that, that he particularly likes exploited, particularly Jewish people, like the most vulnerable, but use the government as that tool. So he was like a tool to the government. He was actually a tool of the oppressor and then a Zelle. It was a person that was like a revolutionary, that's it? Hey, we need to overthrow it, throw this government by any means necessary. So many ways, like one person was like super patriotic. And another one was kinda like Antifa, like one of my, to watch Fox news and the other one, he might've watched fake news, you know?

3 (20m 34s):
And, and, and yet the, the gospel that Jesus was preaching this gospel, the kingdom of God was so big that the tax collector couldn't find salvation the wrong and a zealot couldn't find salvation in the revolution. And so part of my deal is, is that if you think that your political partisan understanding can bring, can fulfill of the kingdom of God, that you're understanding of the kingdom of God is too small, or you're understanding of political party. They just do big Jesus.

3 (21m 14s):
Didn't have it. Like Jesus preach the kingdom that had the, the most polar opposite of people that you can have. They were a part of his disciples. And so then when they do is just kind of come in and they were like, they're the disciples. They ask Jesus, the question like Israel was a failed nation. Like, I mean, they were a great nation. At one point, they became a divided nation. They ended up going to an exile and people took over that land and they really weren't even like, they, they, they, they were on occupy at the Atlanta. It was a, it was almost like its kind of like the way America has done with the indigenous people. Like in the native people, like this was the land and they were on and the occupier in this is a promise that one day they will be a restoration that will happen and then a hobo for the Messiah to do that.

3 (22m 1s):
And then they ask the question, they say, Hey, where are you going to make an Israel? Great again. And Jesus was like, man, you know, I would explain it to you. But if I explain to you, you didn't even get it. So, so this is what I want you to do. I go to Jerusalem and I want you to pray. I want you to pray and I'm gonna give you the Holy spirit that will you receive. It preach the good news King of the kingdom of God in Jerusalem, Judea, Sumeria, and other parts of the world. Alright, God, I'm gonna do that. Jesus are going to go out and do that. And I go to Jerusalem and they pray is a 120 of them. And they are gathered from all of these different nations, right?

3 (22m 43s):
This is a multi ethnic group of people, not just only Jewish people from, from Israel, but from Arab countries and European countries and Asian countries and African countries. And the church gets a birth within this multi-ethnic socioeconomically diverse space and what the The miracle of that day and time that happened in that very moment was the fact that they were experiencing is unity and diversity. And so the unity through a simulation, right? So in the world, the way that you'd get unity is that you force people in hoppers by the golden rule, he has a goal makes the rules, right?

3 (23m 24s):
So you use power to coerce people to do what it is that you want them to do. Right? But in the kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit's at work. And so the Holy spirit does as far as unity and it misses of diversity in a way that glorifies God where people can speak that language. They don't have to assimilate and to the dominant culture, but they can still what another for the glory of God. So as a result of what happened like that miracle, like there were people who were not believers in Galway. There were people who are not like they weren't Jewish believers. They definitely weren't Christian believers because at the time, because it was the birth of the church and these people, folks are outside, they look and they say, Whoa, what the world is going on there.

3 (24m 7s):
You've got people from all of these different walks of life saying that you like doing unity in diversity. The only explanation, and this is that they were drunk,

1 (24m 17s):
Right?

3 (24m 19s):
That'd be all of us something, they gotta be high. And Peter, I got this from a friend, Jonathan Books. He said that this is the way that Peter is the best retort in scripture. Peter says, no, we're not drunk is not even a happy hour.

1 (24m 33s):
We might be later, but not now.

3 (24m 35s):
No, right now he, he was like, no, no, this is because of the work that Jesus has done. Yeah. And, and, and so, so, so thousands of people come to faith as a result of that. And then because family got redefined because of national boundary lines got redefined, instead of that, they had all the things in common and, and, and, and no one liked anything. So people like literally saw all of that property and then kinda gave it to make sure that those folks who, who see the whole community, you know, could make sure that the most vulnerable folks in the community could be taken care of. And so that is the birth of the church.

3 (25m 19s):
I think what's what was a big problem. Today is like, that's what were called to do it, no matter what government system it is, whether it's a capitalistic socialistic or communistic and government, the kingdom of God Christians are supposed to be faithful to the kingdom of God. Right? It doesn't matter who the president is. Christians is supposed to be faithful to the kingdom of God. And within the first 300 years of Christianity, there was never one notion or idea that they could like their faithfulness to God was connected to who Caesar are the emperor wrong was that wasn't, even though it wasn't a card, there was even in a deck that it wasn't a possibility.

3 (26m 4s):
And I actually am up on the, of the opinion that a lot of distortion has happened because of the fact that like when Constantine, and this is back at three, 180, when Constantine became kind of made Christianity, the official religion of Rome, they're got to be a lot of distortion. Well, it was really good.

1 (26m 26s):
No, no. That's I was thinking about this as well in this election, because I really did in the lead up, I mean, for months I will find myself hoping and praying for a very particular outcome and then needing to kind of draw myself back and remind myself that my hope is not in a particular political leader. My hope is in the Lord. Like, and that doesn't mean that it doesn't matter who are leaders are or that I can't pray for it, but I was putting my hope in that and not just kind of engaging with a political process. And I wonder if you have seen something similar in terms of like American, Christians in particular are putting our hope in our political leaders rather than in God and, and how that has that played out.

1 (27m 11s):
And I think, especially if, is that related to some of our divisions within the church?

3 (27m 17s):
I think it, I think it has everything to do with the divisions that are in the church. And particularly, I think this is a lot of formation of this, this guy. It was his name Robert P. Jones it was a book called the, at the end of White Christian America. That was a, an insightful book for me. I haven't read, but his newest book called White to long it's on my My booklets over here, but me and my, my stack of books to them, I'm reading through it, but like the End of white Christian, America really kind of helped to explain a couple of things, because this is a little bit of a difference where I, where when I'm going to make it a couple of like broad kind of category is just to kind of like, when you deal with sociology, you gotta figure like, Hey, there's enough of a pattern in this particular demographics, but then there's always nuances within the spaces.

3 (28m 13s):
And so, you know, I got this one idea from a Carl Ellis Jr and he talks about how a theology has two sides to it. He says that it has both a, a piston biology, like knowledge. How do we know? And then another one is ethics. Like, what did we do? And kind of what he talks about in both his book, the gospel in the black experience. And I believe also going global, he says that kind of White Christian theological tradition has spent more time thinking about it, a thought about epistemology. How do we know and knowledge and information, black Christian faith didn't have the luxury of that.

3 (28m 57s):
Think about it. It has to think about ethics. If the algae is about like what to, like, what did we do and how do we live because of it, everything has to do with position. Like if you are in a place where you're pretty comfortable, you could think about, I don't know the questions of Free that God's will versus the human well. And then if you were in a place of a struggle and oppression and the, and this is like what the 16, 19 black people have had, you know, like a blood test, let's just say about, I would argue till about 1975, no black folks have had to think through how to think through. And even if you want to, in 1968 or 1975, somewhere in between period of time, you know, black folks have had to think about issues of ethics out of their experience.

3 (29m 46s):
They are just as a general hole. And so what does God have to say? Like what the sky require and the folks. And so that's one challenge that's happening. And I think another dynamic what's happening in the Robert P, P, Jones just bring it out. Is that like, there's a hard to imagine, like, like White Christianity has always had proximity to power, to political power. So like, when you can have faith in a government, you got to have faith in God. And that's, that's like, that's what the black church had to do. Right? Like, like weather, it was, you know, like literally on slave plantations, whether it was like in Jim Crow, whether it was like you were dealing with the economic reality.

3 (30m 32s):
Is that true? That, that, I mean, like black folks could not participate in the economic prosperity of America as it relates to housing really until the 1980s. Right. So the way to think about this is, is that the cause we show the Huxtable family, even if they were a doctor and a lawyer in the 1970s to 1960s, 1950s, they could not buy a house next to White people and benefit from, from the equity that accrues and white neighborhood, and to get the access to the Capitol, to improve their house, or to draw the kind of help the, the equity that they've had to kind of get their kids invested in homes and And college.

3 (31m 16s):
And then maybe to start a business like this wasn't possible to the 1980s. So I'm like one of the first-generation of black people to be able to buy a house and, and, and also to be bought in with our four, right. Sorry, I'm sorry. I want to first a group of black folks in our generation have to be fully ball and from our rights and to be able to buy a house where we went to buy a house,

1 (31m 37s):
Right. Which are like, those are really big statements. I just want to pause. You're not that old and the impact. And you and I have talked about this before, and I've talked about this on this show before, but as someone who is, I mean, I think we have so many things that are similar about us in terms of what we're interested in and what was the fact that we've gone to college and who our friends are and et cetera, et cetera, but having come from a white family that has been relatively prosperous and hardworking and all sorts of things, I'm sure your family was too in terms of their work ethic and even Christian values and so forth and so on. And its like, and what, what does that mean? Like there was a house in Suffield, Connecticut that has been in my family.

1 (32m 19s):
I think it's 13 generations. I mean just to like point that disparity out, right? Like, and where, and I don't own that house. It was passed down a path, but it still is that sense of it like a visual of that difference and in terms of what that means in both of our lives as we, and again, not to say that we, our representative of all white people are all black people, but that there is some reality there. And that is just important to like pause and highlight, I think to what you just said, like having full rights and the ability to buy a house. Like those shouldn't actually be statements that even needed to be made, but they are because it's relatively new.

3 (32m 59s):
Yeah. It is so new. And there is a lot of white people that don't own homes and haven't been able to prosper from it. But the reason it isn't because of the color of their skin, right? Like that, that's the thing that's like that, like this is the point. It was a lot of poor white people and, and a lot of white people who are doing a lot worse than what we were doing. But again, this isn't is that a result of it

1 (33m 24s):
Into the law of the land. It's not a government and socially imposed restriction. There may be lots of other factors that play in and some of them might be just than others is unjust. So that's not what were talking about. Right. Just that sense of, of, of categorical denial based upon skin color has been written into our laws until very recently.

3 (33m 47s):
Yes. So, so basically from a faith tradition, I had to basically have a faith tradition that could not rely on the government and had to rely on God. Yeah. And, and in White Christianity, whether its conservative evangelical or its kind of more like mainland liberal or whatever the case may be, however you want to categorize them. Both of them have been fighting for power to the gay proximity with the president and, and its hard to have an imagination for a faithful walk in Christianity that is not related to power.

3 (34m 27s):
That's really helpful. And so that that's, that, that was a long story to kind of get there. But I think understanding that context like that. So it makes a lot of sense of why like, like, like so many folks will be like do everything that we can do it. It's hard to having an imagination for Christian and faithfulness that is not tired and kind of a lot of white Christian life, whether it's like liberal or conservative. Yeah. Well the main louder evangelical, it is really hard for white Christian brothers and sisters that have an imagination for faithfulness that is not tied to be a proximity to the power of presidency and the government. And so there's a lot of faith and the government that the church, you know, I, I just, as a black person, I mean I Democrats and Republicans have not been good to black people, you know?

3 (35m 19s):
And I feel like you have, you always voting, you always vote in which version of racism are you going to deal with it? You know? And so that's just not a, you know, if you really look at the track record and like without being a super political, like you literally can go through both democratic and Republican and rhetoric and all that stuff. And there's not a pro black party. I mean, it's just not, that's just not a real thing and we're pawns in a political system. And so for me, both, both of my black identity and my Christian identity, like I, I got a lot more faith in God in the faith and the church and God in the Holy spirit than I have and the government and whoever the president is any day.

1 (36m 6s):
And that's, I think for me has been one of the things that have been, I want that, but having been, just brought up in really both the mainline and the evangelical White church, I, I fall back into that thinking really easily, even though I think there's so much biblically and just experientially, that really does say no, no, no, no. Do not put your faith in man and any man or woman, but in God himself. And I'm curious within all of that to move, we've talked a bit about politics. We talked about division and then there's your work of equipping Christian communities to become reconciling communities.

1 (36m 46s):
Right. And like, what does that look like? And I'm curious both in terms of our practices that whether it's individual Christians or church communities can put into place in order to become reconciling communities. And also what does it look like kinda from the outside, looking in what's different about one of those communities, so like practices and what does that end up looking at me?

3 (37m 6s):
Yeah. I mean, so, so one of the things that I take that was really the state of being Christian is you don't get a bit 26 versus to the star of the Bible and you see the, all people who are made in the image of God and God's lightness and have given the, the gift of humanity to be fruitful, multiply us to do the earth Neff. And the waist kind of create a culture, make a Mark in the world. Has some of them say so as crisp as we got to see that everybody has something to be able to say, and to give whether I agree with that or not also we serve a God that like, that allows for free will, you know?

3 (37m 48s):
And so, so, so like literally it was clear what the boundaries were, but God didn't control Adam and Eve and the garden it's. So when you have to like it to feel like you got to have power all the time and you got to pull people and all of that kind of activity, like, like even in the garden of Eden, what God was all powerful. It didn't control people because that's not love. Right? And so I really discovered this, that we have a uniquely Christian problem as relates to engage in all of these things. And I learned this one, I went to Israel for the first time. And when I went to Israel, I talked to people who were Jewish, like religious Jews, messianic Jews, secular Jews, I thought to the Muslims and Palestinians, you were Christian Palestinians.

3 (38m 35s):
It was a Palestinian in the secular Palestinians. I mean all kinds of folks. And here's what I learned in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. You are supposed to love God and love your family and Judaism to chris' Christianity. You have a, a is supposed to love both God, your neighbor, it's only in Christianity. You supposed to love you. Enemies. And so we live in a day at a time where we treat one another as enemies, whether they are perceived, Enemies where they are ideological. Enemies where they ask for like an actual Enemies and that's the culture of our time. And so we talk to each other violently, we listened to each other, like, and just like in ways to pass on one another.

3 (39m 19s):
And as Christians we're called to love God re called to love our neighbor and re called to love our enemy. We caught a lot of our Christian brothers and sisters. So, so it, it doesn't matter what people think. It doesn't matter to people. I mean, like literally if that you're perceived as we are your real enemy, we were called to love and not in a theoretical sense, like why we are the enemies of God Christ came and died for us. So our invitation is to engage in a sacrificial love for our enemy. Right? So I, I don't see how are we going to get out of this cycle in this mess, without Christians reading the Bible.

3 (40m 2s):
And you know, I got a lot of God, I got a lot of my neighbors. I got a lot of my Christian brothers, sister. I got to love my enemy. Right. And and we know what Love looks like when we received it. So we needed to give that a type of Love to others. And so one of the practical tool that I, I just would give folks is that know that there's a lot of ways that you can listen. You can listen as a conversation partner like we're doing right now, talking back and forth with each other. And we were listening to kind of keep the conversation going, which was there for a very different tone if we were at listening to each other as the bait partners, which tried to feed our enemy. Right? And when you want to like, w when you listen as a conversation partner, you are listening to the, how to move the conversation on, but then you also can hear ways that you can show love and give love and, and, and proximity.

3 (40m 59s):
This is Jason Kane. So there's this way, the proximity Leeds to empathy and empathy leans towards unity. And in these are some of the key practices or, or, or some of the things that are kind of help us to be more of a reconciling community. Basically it be in a reconcile in the community is acknowledging that they are how our world is broken and really hearing the invitation from God to be part of some of that healing that is in the actual, like brokenness of, of what's going on. So there is an invitation from God, or for all of us to do something, to engage and this work of reconciliation. And we need to figure out what that is in, what, what, what guys who are buying those in to it.

3 (41m 43s):
I just want to read the definition of being a reconciled, the community. Yeah. And, and this is a group of people linked by a common purpose and a rhythm of life together that acknowledges the depths of brokenness in our world and actively receives the invitation from God to heal the brokenness of our world holistically from the inside out. That that's, that's what it means to be a reconciled it community. And, and no matter what time it plays them and what government you were in, no matter who's the president is that is the invitation of the church. Yeah.

1 (42m 12s):
In that. So I had one, I don't have a final question. I wanted to ask that go so well with what you just said. I was rereading Ben kind of walking through the book White Picket, Fences in these interviews. And I was rereading that chapter 13, which is set literally in the days after the 2016 national election. So kind of thinking about my friends, because I do have friends who voted for Trump and my friend who voted for Hillary and the ways in which they both expressed disdain for each other. And I wasn't, I wasn't debating, I was just kind of absorbing this animosity in the sense of enmity And and wondering, OK.

1 (42m 58s):
As a Christian, like, how do I respond to this? I mean, I know what I think I know who I voted for, but that's not what it's actually like on my heart right now. It's the fact that this has only seem to divide us further and that, and that animosity and one of the, so I got into a practice at that time of fasting and praying with a group of politically diverse people over the course of many months. And I write about that in this chapter. And one of the verses that a, it was real familiar to me, but I took on a different meeting in that time was Micah six, eight. And I'm going to read that just because people might not be familiar with what it is. So God has shown you, Oh man, Oh, mortal, what is good?

1 (43m 38s):
And what is the Lord require of you to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. And obviously Jesus's command to love your enemies goes farther than that, but there's a real natural connection between justice, mercy, and humility before God and love loving our enemies. But I just wanted to ask you, as you think about your own life, as you think about reconciling communities, like, what does it mean to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with her?

3 (44m 13s):
So I think one of the things that we can not do is separate knowing stuff about God, knowing what God want us to do. And Ashley, like not doing things like, like, and they were doing like late, like the right now is it's called orthodoxy. The right practice is called orthopraxy. And then I like in the evening, I got the kids about our affections, if not the right type of effects of the orthopod orthopathy. And so I, so I think this is a little bit of like to act justly. I mean, they are the things that we have to do to, to, to walk humbly people that do justice work to be some of the most profitable people.

3 (44m 53s):
Right. And there are people who don't due justice recognized to be a really powerful folks, will be in line with what I'm doing. And, and, and we have to be people of mercy, you know, like, like that's the story of the Christian story. I mean like, like God is merciful to us. And so, I mean, this is the thing, like it's particularly being black. Like if you just like, literally have audits to look at the history of America and a history of Christianity in America. I mean, we can guess there's plenty of stories of the abolitionists and, and kinda of Anabaptist folks who we are engaged in it, but it's also was a, a weaponized tool of terrorism, like Christianity. Like there's not that those both things were very, very true.

3 (45m 36s):
And so you gotta oftentimes like, look through the Jesus, the Bible lightly, like, like there's a quote from Frederick Douglass that I really love. And he talks about the pure piece of Christianity that is of, of Christ versus the hypocritical and partial Christianity of this land and to make a distinction between those two. And when you make a distinction between the Christianity of, of, of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I mean, it it's, it's, it's, it's a, a, a key thing that says like, Hey, your realized the mercy of God and your life, if it wasn't for the mercy of God in your life and on our lives, we don't know where we will be.

3 (46m 18s):
And so, so I, I think that, like that work, particularly that work of like doing the work with justice during a work of a humility, even opens you're you're heart and mind to actually see the, the type of Merci in a way that God has engaged in our lives. And I just want to read this quote from, from predators DouglassThank that has been a, its helped me to maintain a faith, you know, because you know, you know, I guess let me see. So I guess at the time 2008, I would probably be 27 So it was different than the 27th, 28th. And seeing in some of the Hippocratic hypocrisy of Christianity in this land, and it's different when you're eight years old, you know, when you just like the worst thing you did, what it was probably a lot of your mom about the candidates you stole or something like that.

3 (47m 6s):
You know? And, and this is, this is from Frederick Doug, because he says what apps that are respecting against the religion. I may be strictly to applied to the slave holder, a relationship with this land. There was no possible in reference to Christianity, proper four, between the Christian we have this land and the Christianity of Christ. I recognize the widest possible difference. So why that to receive the one is as good as pure. And Holy is a necessity reject each other as bad as corrupt and with the kids to be the friend of the one is a necessity to be an enemy of the other day. I love the pure and peaceable and a prostitute Christianity of Christ. I therefore hate the corrupt slave, holding women, whipping cradle, plundering Parshall and typical Christianity of this land.

3 (47m 47s):
And the, I can see no reason, but the most is to see for one, for calling the religion to of this land Christianity as a man, when I got a chance to separate those two things, it really, it really helped me to clean, going to Jesus.

1 (47m 59s):
Yeah. And I think there is a historical layering of whiteness and Christianity that has been so to the detriment. And I love how you point out that biblically speaking, the Christianity of Christ is a multiethnic church. That's where it starts. I mean, its not just like, Oh, well reading that back in now this makes sense to us. So it's like, no, no that's where it started. You read the names of the disciples and the people who are following Jesus in acts. And it's really clear in terms of just where they are from that you had that we would now call multiethnic band of followers and not just, I mean you have Jesus followers who were all Jewish and yet diverse within it, but then really quickly you get this broader ethnic diversity that to your point, I loved what you said earlier that like where you live has not made you economically rich, but the richness of the relationships that come because of taking the risk to live, where you do the discomfort of being in on a mung and choosing to love people across differences that might even be enmity, right?

1 (49m 7s):
Like all of that brings a richness a yes to your life. But also I think to whatever community you're a part of. And so there, and there is a sense of what the church is meant to be right within our culture is a sign of what the kingdom could be. And that is, I mean, going back to the name of Aerobahn, right? Like a foretaste of it. And we didn't say this in this podcast episode, that it's a Greek word. That means what foretaste of heaven foretastes of the kingdom.

3 (49m 37s):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It, it was a, is a Greek word. It means deposit or for taste. And so the way, the way that, that it was using in the scriptures is that in Ephesians it says that the Holy spirit was given to, to the church or the people of God as a foretaste of the kingdom of God has to come. And, and what we're saying is that the, the, the world doesn't get the Holy spirit, what the world is, is the church and were going to be in a foretaste of a kingdom of God as the call. Yeah.

1 (50m 2s):
And I just think that's so beautiful that Our, we get this beautiful gift of the Holy spirit as far as getting a taste of the goodness and the beauty and the justice and the righteousness of the Lord. And together, we are meant to live that out in such a way that the rest of the world says, Oh, wow. Yes, thank you. I want that I'm. And you know, because of the ways in which that's been played out, that's often not been the case in American Christianity. And I think you've done a great job of helping start to unpack the ways that proximity to power and instead of proximity to the poor and you, you know, the racial dynamics have that has corrupted our ability as the church to be the foretaste.

1 (50m 46s):
And yet I think there's great hope for that. Both in terms of, I think what the historically black church continues to be able to teach people like me, as far as what it means to have faith in God and not in political systems and leaders, but also in just the work that people like you and many others are doing to say, Hey, I want to follow Jesus. Like, that's what I want to do first and foremost. And if we do that together, we may not change the world all at once, but we can signal to the world something different about who God is.

3 (51m 21s):
Amen. Amen to that.

1 (51m 24s):
Hmm. Well, David, thank you for your time. And for the work that you're doing, I'm really grateful to be able to think about these things with you on this uncertain day for our nation after this election. Yeah. It gives me hope and piece and I hope that will be true for our listeners as well.

3 (51m 40s):
I hope so too. Yeah. And, and I just, I would just encourage you all of that. I'm trying to connect with us through a newsletter and, you know, airband.com, just sign up for the newsletter and yeah, it's just, we'd love to partner with you all. If you want to figure out ways to be more of a reconciling community, let's be in touch

1 (51m 57s):
A little plug for that. I get David's newsletter and I'm always grateful for the wisdom I received in it. And I've also known churches and organizations that have worked with the air Bonn and have been really, really grateful for a, the gracious, loving, but convicting way in which you lead and to reach. So yes, we will again, include all of that in the SHOW NOTES and thank you. Thanks again for the time. Thanks so much for listening to love is stronger than fear. I have to say, I need that reminder. I need to be reminded about who I follow and the way that I am called to do what we are called to do is to be reconciling communities of love.

1 (52m 41s):
So I'm just going to say it again. Thank you. David we will be sure to note all the references that came up in our conversation in the show notes, and as always, I'd really love for you to share this episode, subscribe to this podcast. We've got a couple episodes left in this season and then there'll be a break. So if you subscribe, you'll know when we start up again, and of course it's always really helpful to get a rating or a review wherever you find your podcast, because it helps alert other people to what's going on here. I'm grateful to our cohost breaking ground. And I do encourage you to go over to Breaking Ground at us and just tap into the resources available on that website.

1 (53m 22s):
And I'm always thankful for Jake Hansen, this podcast editor, and to Amber Berry, my social media coordinator, there are support and work to make this show possible is just beautiful and great. And I'm so grateful. I we'll be back next week. And we're going to wrap up this season of love is stronger than Fear. So I hope you'll join us as you go into your day-to-day. I also hope that you will carry with you. The peace that comes from believing that love is

4 (53m 50s):
Fear <inaudible>.