Candid Conversation In A Crisis

You will have to wait a week for the sermon manuscript of Back When Cain Was Able (and I think it will be worth the wait).

But that’s all because we interrupted Nooks & Crannies in light of this extraordinary moment in the city of Charlotte.

Here are the notes and directions Ron Dozier and I put together for our Candid Conversation In A Crisis.


Candid Conversation In A Crisis


Remember way back when Charlotte’s biggest problem had to do with who would go to the bathroom where?

On Tues & Wed night I have overwhelming sense:  “this is the kind of thing that happens in other cities.”

Nope.  Our city.

So what do we do?

Avoid clichés like “just pray.”

Avoid poles of unflinching support for authority on the one hand and unthinking endorsement of the protesters on the other.

 Instead it starts – BUT DOES NOT END – with some authentic conversation.

 So Ron Dozier and I want to do something a little bit awkward and a lotta bit intimidating: have a candid conversation about race, experience, and authority in front of several hundred of our best friends.  In TWO locations, no less!

 We want to be a microcosm of the church which is in turn a microcosm of heaven.


So Ron . . . as an African-American, what are some things you’d like to know about your experience?

 Only a crisis makes people pay attention.

 Then it’s back to business as usual.

 Your “order” is often my/our “disorder.”

 Real reconciliation only happens in on-going relationships that were there before the crisis happened.

 That many times African-Americans get frustrated when Anglos go back and forth between ignoring and over-reacting to issues in our community.

 What Talbot calls “massively small steps.”


So Talbot . . . as an Anglo, what are some things that you’d like persons of color to know?

 That many times we “whites” are so fearful of being called racist or coming across as racist that we will stumble all over our words in a way that is . . . racist.  That’s why we same dumb things like “some of my best friends are . . . “

 That on the flip side, the accusation of racism has lost a lot of its impact in an era in which we have an African-American president who has the support among Anglos.  Tossing an accusation around too much can rob it of its power and accuracy.

 That we are understand (but can’t personally identify with) your feeling that the value of a life is determined by the consequences suffered by the one who takes it.  We know those who end the lives of African-Americans don’t suffer the same kind of penalties as those who end the lives of Anglos.

 That I/we am for African-American men, especially young ones.  We don’t have a fear that there is only a limited amount of “stuff” in the world and we have to protect ours by keeping you from yours.


Talbot asks:  So Ron, there are a lot of voices and a lot of opinions out there.  How do you choose which ones to listen to?

The Voice

Proverbs 3:5-6


Ron asks that same question of me.

NOT Cable TV News all day!  And all night!

Some Charlotte clergy were breathtakingly irresponsible this week.

TV off, devices down, books open.

 So . . . what?


I have a few very specific things I’m asking of you.  So this is not a ONE POINT sermon!  Here are some really important take-aways:


  1. Don’t ask a person to speak for “all” blacks or “all” whites (like I’ve done before w/ Ron)
  2. If you’re in a GS LifeGroup and it does not have diversity, pursue it. Get it.  Invite it in.  We want our LifeGroups looking like our Worship Gatherings.
  3. Ditto with ServeTeams.
  4. Remember: the world does not necessarily need your social media opinion. It almost never advances the cause.

Speaking of which . . . the cause here . . . he is not the President of Peace, he is not the PM of Peace, he’s not the Politician of Peace.  He is the Prince of Peace and we have discovered that our unity is not in our speeches but our Savior.  Not in our color but the cross.  Not in our race but in the resurrection.

 More ad-libbing, hopefully Spirit-filled, until close . . .

Yes!  I had planned ad-libbing.  Is that a contradiction in terms?