The Gospel & Race
By: Corey Jackson
Last month from April 2-4 Andy Ew (Assistant Pastor), Joe Jackson (Worship Leader) and I (Senior Pastor) all had the privilege to travel together to Memphis, TN to attend the MLK50 conference. MLK50 was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. At the conference 4000 church leaders from multiple denominations and many ethnic groups from all over the United States met on this anniversary of Dr King's death to consider the state of race relations in the church and what it might look like for us to lead forward together.
These three days proved to be a rich time of worship and of learning for us. However, we would all say that the most beneficial aspect of the conference for us was found in the side conversations where each of us were able to share our experience of racism in America, specifically in the church. As we processed our thoughts and feelings together in-between speakers and panel discussions, we connected deeply with each other. In the end, we developed a care and compassion for one another in the area of race we simply didn't have before.
The conference was one of the best I've personally attended - I'm grateful for the times of singing with the broader body of Christ and for the times of learning from cultural and theological experts. But much more important to me was the personal connection the three of us developed as we processed our life experience with each other. I'm confident Andy, Joe and I now have the personal understanding required to lead the church forward together on matters of the Gospel and race in this critical, cultural moment.
If you want to journey in deeper with Joe, Andy and I on the topic of the Gospel and Race, let me highlight three opportunities for you THIS week:
#1 Tune into these specific talks from the MLK50 conference
If you can only listen to one talk, listen to Matt Chandler speak on 'A House Divided Cannot Stand: Understanding and Overcoming the Inconsistencies in White Evangelicals on Racial Issues'
If you have more than 30 minutes, here are the next two talks and one panel discussion Joe, Andy and I would recommend to you:
Russell Moore 'King and Kingdom: Racial Justice and the Uneasy Conscience of American Christianity'
Charlie Dates 'The Most Segregated Hour in America: Overcoming Divisions to Pursue MLK's Vision of Racial Harmony'
Panel Discussion: The State of Racial Tension in America
#2 Come to Trinity Park this Sunday (May 13) and listen to the sermon on The Gospel and Racial Division I will be preaching from Galatians 2:1-16
In Galatians 2 Peter, a mature Christian, shrinks back from fellowship with other Christians for racial and cultural reasons. Paul, another mature Christian, is not okay with this - he sees Peter retreating from relationship with other believers based on his own cultural preferences. Paul sees Peter's prioritization of race and culture above the truth of the Gospel as a sin issue - as a matter where the Gospel itself is at stake.
What do you think about Paul's boldness with Peter? Was Paul overreacting to Peter's separating himself from other Christians for racial and cultural reasons? What might Paul say to the church in the United States today about matters of racial and cultural separation? Come join us this Sunday for more.
#3 On Sunday directly after a shorter than usual sermon Joe, Andy and I will be on a panel moderated by church member Beth Peterson where we will seek to model a conversation about race.
Our desire is to re-enact some of the side conversations we had during the MLK 50 conference in the hope that as a congregation we can begin more and more to
(1) connect in Gospel friendships with those who are of different racial backgrounds than we are and
(2) have loving but honest conversations with one another on issues of the Gospel and race (like Peter and Paul do with one another in Galatians 2).
So, if you want to learn more about what the Bible has to say about the Gospel and race, tune into these recommended talks from MLK50 and then come join us at Trinity Park this Sunday!