Race, Diversity, and the Church

Jan 09, 2019

"It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning,” Martin Luther King, Jr., famously observed. This week on the Ask Away podcast, Drs. Vince and Jo Vitale sit down with Lisa Fields of Jude 3 Project to discuss popular questions on racial reconciliation and identity: Is Christianity a white man’s religion? What did Jesus say about reconciliation? How do racial conversations differ between the secular and religious? Does every church need to be multi-ethnic in order to celebrate diversity?

Want to talk about this episode with fellow podcast listeners and the RZIM team? Start the discussion on our online community: connect.rzim.org.

To hear more from Lisa Fields on black Christian apologetics, check out Jude 3 Project at jude3project.com.

Follow the Ask Away crew on Twitter:

Vince Vitale - @VinceRVitale
Jo Vitale - @Joanna_Vitale
Michael Davis - @mdav1979

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Note: Ask Away is produced to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Michael Davis: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Ask Away with Vince and Jo Vitale. I am your host, Michael Davis. When Christ said every tongue and tribe, he meant it, but it seems that many Christians have a skewed view of the church universal. Martin Luther King Junior famously said, "It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning." Many people in our own churches have a view of Christianity that looks very white and very suburban, yet the truth of the global church is much more diverse and much more colorful.

How do we Christians reflect God's love of all people? How do we love our neighbors well? How do we have a vision of a unified body of believers when our culture is trying so hard to divide us? But before we get started, I am excited to announce that we have joining us in our studios Lisa Fields of Jude 3. Lisa, could you tell our listeners a little bit about your spiritual journey, about your ministry, and why you felt called to start Jude 3.

Lisa Fields: So, a little bit about my spiritual journey, I grew up a PK (pastor’s kid), so I've been in church all of my life.

Jo Vitale: They're (PK’s) the worst.

Lisa Fields: Yeah, that's what I hear. And when I went off to college I decided I wanted to get more engaged in learning about my faith on a deeper level, and it actually was Christian hip hop that sparked that. There is a Christian hip hop artist called Flame, and he had the album called Rewind, and he started talking about hermeneutics, and all these theological terms that I had never heard before, and I was like, "I probably should know these." So I was like, "Let me take a New Testament course at my university." But it was the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, which is a regular state institution, so New Testament didn't look like what I thought.

Michael Davis: Wasn't Sunday school.

Lisa Fields: Yeah, it wasn't Sunday school like I anticipated, I was like, "This will be an easy A, I know all this stuff, my parents taught me the Bible. I'll just get some more key terms, and it'll all be good." Well, it was nothing like that. Bart Ehrman was our text book, his Intro to New Testament, and it was really eye-opening, my first time wrestling with textual criticism, when were the gospels written, all of that stuff, was a whole new world for me and I really struggled through that time, and I call it my faith crisis.

And so my dad saw me struggling, and he introduced me to RZIM ministries, which is a coincidence I'm here today, and listening to Ravi helped me navigate that space. And then I noticed, as I got more into apologetics, there weren't many African Americans doing it, so I wanted to bridge that gap. So I started off as an investment finance major, not doing that right now, I anticipated working on Wall Street making a lot of money, but that didn't happen. Now I'm in the non-profit sector, and that's way different than Wall Street.

So, I switched my major to Religious Studies and Public Relations and I ended up doing an MDiv later, and started the Jude 3 project the last year of my seminary journey and really just to equip and engage the African American context in apologetics. So, if you wanna learn more about the Jude 3 Project visit jude3project.com.

Vince Vitale: That's great. Lisa, I know you do an HBCU tour, so you go into historically black colleges and universities and do events there. Tell us a little bit about what one of those events might look like, the structure of it, the different aspects of it.

Lisa Fields: Yeah, so one of our initiatives is to reach campuses that are not normally reached, and that's historically black colleges and universities with apologetics, and one of the biggest topics that we've seen on the campuses is "is Christianity the white man's religion?" which is the topic we're discussing today. And so what we wanted to do is find creative ways to engage them because sometimes lectures, kids, their eyes, they start to gloss over, especially if there is a scholar and they're talking way over their head. So we wanted to keep them engaged.

So our tour manager, he suggested, "Why don't you allow the students to talk first?" and I was like, "Okay, that's a good idea, let's try that." And so we created a thing called Talk Back, so our events start with the students talking to us. So they tell us what they think about the subject, we give them two to five minutes in which we hold the mic, because if they get really invested in the topic they could go on and on and on, and then we switch to discussion, but the discussion, we incorporate media in that, so we take viral videos that are circulating that talk about Christianity being the white man's religion and then we respond to them systematically.

So we start with early African church history, we have a video of a guy named Brother Polite talking about, basically, essentially, saying the only way black people got Christianity was through oppression. There was never a time they accepted it freely, and so we debunked that talking about early African Christian history, then we switch to slavery and Christianity, so we have a clip from the movie Birth of a Nation where it shows how slave masters used scriptures, like "slaves submit to your masters" to further oppress Africans. So we walk through that and we talk about how scripture was misused. And then we talk about contributions of black churches because there's viral videos that circulate saying the church only steals your money, which that's just not a claim specifically to black people, people say that across the board.

So we talk about how the church has really helped the community to give them just a different view of how they view the church and its impact in the world, and then we have Q&A at the end.

Vince Vitale: Yeah, that's fantastic, I just love the model. We're just learning a lot from Lisa, as we do events on campus as well, and finding a variety of ways to collaborate. But I just love that confidence to give the microphone to the audience and say bring your questions, bring your objections, we believe that there's a true answer to every one of your questions, we believe all truth is grounded in God, so we're very happy to start with your thoughts and then we'll go from there.

Jo Vitale: Lisa's podcast is amazing as well. I have huge admiration for her, because she's not afraid to dive into the really tough questions, the really fiery and painful questions, often. There's a reason it's called Courageous Conversations, but I think that's just so important, rather than shying away from it, as if, if we don't talk about it, people won't find out these are the questions or people won't struggle with them. Which often there's that temptation to push everything down and squash it, but I love that you're just bringing it out, because you're saying, "Look, this is where people are at, this is where culture's at, this is what we're struggling with. Let's talk about these things in the church, let's not be afraid of it." So thank you for being fierce, that's awesome.

Lisa Fields: Yeah, I love that because I feel like if we talk about the bad news first it illuminates the goodness of the good news. And so people don't know why the good news is good, you have to start with the bad news in order for the good news to seem really good and positive.

Vince Vitale: Yeah, the light really shines in the darkness, that's great. And check it out, Jo was on Lisa's Jude 3 podcast just recently.

Jo Vitale: Lisa asked me the hardest questions I've ever been asked on a podcast.

Vince Vitale: You did not mess around, you dove into some of the passages in the Old Testament that everyone avoids, and they dealt with them in a really beautiful way, so check that out.

Jo Vitale: It was like, "Oh, we're going there are we? Okay." It was great.

Michael Davis: So speaking of questions, what would you say are the most common Apologetics questions that you hear within the black church?

Lisa Fields: I think one is where is God in our suffering? Are we cursed? There is this false narrative of the curse of Ham, so that's one. People are trying to figure out why there has been so much suffering as it relates to African Americans in the US, and so I could see this when we were at Southern University in Baton Rouge, and a guy that we have, Hebrew Israelites, they follow us everywhere they come to our events-

Jo Vitale: And so for those who don't know, and it's hard to do, but brief summary of the Hebrew Israelites...

Lisa Fields: So they're a black cult that believes that African Americans are a lost tribe of Judah. And so black people are Jewish, and those who are Jews that may seem... Like a Jerry Seinfeld, they would say he's not really Jewish, only those with darker skin are Jewish. So they have a very interesting chart that traces this, but the chart can't really ... There's no proof really. I struggle with where they got this information. So, I think it's still rooted in an identity issue, wanting to have something that connects them to seem like they have dignity.

And so they come to our events, and one of the guys, he got up, and they were going back and forth with us during the Q&A, not in a hostile way, but just trying to understand, and then one of the guys, he said, "Explain to me," and he almost had tears in his eyes, "why we're suffering like this? Or why has our history been like this?" And it clicked to me in that moment that, while he seemed to be angry and irate, he really was trying to understand deep pain and experiences. So it wasn't necessarily about the philosophical arguments he was throwing out, it was him trying to understand his place in this country, and did God see and care for black people?

And so I think that's one of the objections, "is Christianity the white man's religion? How was it misused?" slavery, and why didn't God just say, "There should be no slavery." Why did he make spaces for how they should be treated? And so I think sometimes it's a misunderstanding of what culture looked like, and trying to look at culture through our eyes, our Western eyes, and not looking at it and thinking about the cultural moment. And so those are some of the key objections we're dealing with apologetics at Jude 3.

Michael Davis: So when someone does ask, so let's get to the actual meat of this episode, when someone asks you, "Is Christianity the white man's religion?" How would you systematically address that question?

Lisa Fields: At first I kind of probe to see what the root of it is, because some roots are different. And so one of the things that I love that one of our panelists always says, when we go to do our HBCU tours, Sho Baraka, says, "American Christianity has been essentially a white man's religion." You see Southern and Baptist Theological Seminary just released a report- I think 72 pages-

Michael Davis: My alma mater by the way.

Lisa Fields: Showing the history of the slave owners and how they defended slavery and used scripture to do it, from some of the leading theologians that were Southern Baptist during that time. So that kind of history is a white man's religion. So we pull people further back in time, and say, "Before the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Christianity was still in Africa and people accepted it freely." And some of the early church fathers that are essential to Christian doctrine, like Tertullian is African, and the word Trinity comes from Tertullian. Athanasius, Augustine, Clement. We take people further back, and they're like, "Oh wow, I didn't know these people were African."

And so we kind of tell their stories. We talk about the Ethiopian church. We talk about the church in the Congo and how they accepted Christianity freely. And so when we pull people further back in time and we show them "No, Africans had a huge part to play in the formation of Christianity." People are like, "Oh wow, I never knew that." And so then it changes how they view it. So we could talk about the bad part and how it's been misused, but I like to say anything can be misused. A hammer could be misused. A hammer in the hands of an evil person, you could knock somebody over the head with it and kill them, but it also can build a beautiful home. So it's just the way that the instrument is used. It could be used or misused to benefit others.

Vince Vitale: I'm so glad you're addressing this question, and it's really a global question as well. I was down in Lima, Peru with the RZIM team recently, and we were doing an event, I can't remember what the ... I think the question for the day was something like why does God care about my sex life? That was the general themes that the lunch time talk was talking about, but at the end of the event, during the Q&A time, this young women came bursting in the back doors, out of breath, and she threw our hand up, and we said, "Okay, do you have a question?" And she said, "I'm so sorry, I so badly wanted to be at the talk but I couldn't make it, I had a class, I ran over from class, I have a question that's relevant to the topic, can I please ask my question?"

And her question was specifically about whether Christianity was sexist and whether it was racist. Whether it was a white religion and whether it was a sexist religion. And she said, upfront, she said "I've been exploring Christianity, I'm attracted to it, but these are my two hang ups." And it was just this image of her bursting through the door, just, desperately, needing to have this question answered, and one of our team ran after her after the event and spent several hours with her, talked through those two questions, and she ended up giving her life to Christ that day, so these are not just theoretical questions, these are real questions that people have in this country, around the world, and if we can answer them well that can, sometimes, be that last step to really being persuaded that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

Lisa Fields: Definitely.

Jo Vitale: Lisa, obviously you're hearing these questions all the time the different contexts that you're in, but also these must be personal questions as well, how do you wrestle through some of these things personally with some of your own experiences?

Lisa Fields: Well, for me, it's interesting that even God called me to this work where this would be the biggest question, because my question coming into apologetics was more about textual criticism than it was the white man's religion. For me I never struggled with that topic, personally, because my experience was different. I grew up in a black, middle class neighborhood, and my parents always enforced identity, and so it wasn't necessarily a challenge for me. I did see challenges and struggles through navigating some of the things I was reading about, them being written by all white men, and that was the challenging thing for me when I was first introduced to white, conservative Evangelicalism, because I grew up in a black more Pentecostal-leaning, non-denominational Church.

So my first exposure to conservative, white Evangelicalism was Liberty. That's where I went to seminary. And I was like, "Oh, wow, this is a very different world." And so talking to my friends that were African Americans that were attending there, and them struggling through, where are we represented in what we are reading in the books, and where is our perspective represented? I think I've struggled through that. And so that's why I kind of always highlight black PhDs that their work hasn't been highlighted, because I want people to see our voices are there, sometimes they're not highlighted.

And then it's been a great journey with some of our professors at Liberty to introduce them and expose them, and to hear some of them saying, "Okay, I'm incorporating that into my reading list for next year for the students." And so just having those conversations with them so it brings exposure so the next group of people won't necessarily have to have those same challenges.

Michael Davis: Okay, so let's get to the next question. Are there any passages in the Bible that have strongly influenced your understanding and passion for racial reconciliation?

Lisa Fields: I think the one that stands out to me, and this doesn't really have anything to do with race, it more has to do with reconciliation, I am rocked by the way that Jesus handles the disciples after they've betrayed him. The ways in which he feeds them and cooks for them and tells Peter, "You're gonna be the leader of my church." And he's the one out of all the people, I feel like John should have been chosen, because at least he was with his mom!

Michael Davis: I never thought about that, that's a good point.

Lisa Fields: John, all of them persecute, but on the spectrum, John seems to be-

Vince Vitale: Not as bad.

Lisa Fields: Yeah. Peter looked at you in the face and was Iike, "Nah, I don't know him."

Jo Vitale: Three times!

Michael Davis:

Lisa Fields: The betrayal! And then you still pick him? And, for me, whenever I'm struggling with events, whenever I'm struggling with issues that require reconciliation, I think back to that verse and it holds me hostage. And so in a way when I want to hold a grudge I can't because of the ways in which Jesus handled those who betrayed him in the most critical point in his life: the people he had invested in. And so when I think about reconciliation, I think about how radical it is, whether it's racial or personal and it really challenges me that it pushes you to go the extra mile, it pushes you to forgive that seventy times seven.

And one day, that means you have to, when I think about forgiving seventy times seven, that means you have to position yourself to be offended again. Most of us, when we're offended, that means we move away just from the first offense, but if you have the opportunity to offend a person that many times, that means you don't leave them, you have to stay there for them to offend you again. So I think about that.

So that's been the most -when I think about racial reconciliation- and sometimes I get frustrated with some things people say, I'm held by that verse and how Jesus interacts with the disciples after they betray him, and that pushes me to do the work that I don't want do sometimes because our model is to be like Christ.

Jo Vitale: And that's ... wow. That's really challenging. But I was thinking, it's challenging, as well, from the position of understanding ourselves as betrayers. And I was just thinking one of the things that's so hard about peace-making, because peace sounds so easy, and so like, "Oh, we'll all just get along." But, actually, being a peacemaker means having to hear the hard things you don't want to hear about yourself. The times you've caused offense that you don't even want to own, you don't even want to be made aware of. You want to have a blind spot there. You don't want to be held to account, and we're so defensive, right? We're so quick to say, "Hey, it's not my problem. That's not my fault. I was just ignorant of that." We don't wanna hear it.

But I was thinking that we're so quick to defend because we don't understand ourselves to be in the position of betrayers of God, and, actually, when we realize we're the ones who all did that to Jesus, and the grace with which he responds to us, it just makes me think of that verse that says, "Those who have forgiven much love much." And, if we don't love much it's because we don't understand how much we've been forgiven, but if God can say, "I see exactly who you are and the kind of betrayer you are and how you've betrayed me and I can still love you that way." Then actually it teaches us a posture of, "wow, if that's how God can receive me, and he sees me exactly as how I am, then actually I need to be someone how can own the fact I've been that to God, and I've been that to other people."

And intentionally or unintentionally. I'm an Anglican, and, from our tradition that I come from in England we say, at one of the liturgical prayers you pray, is, "forgive us for the things that we have done, but also for the things that we've left undone." It's more comprehensive than what you're always just aware of what you own, but the things that you've been complicit in that you don't always know about. But, putting yourself in the position of saying, "Hey, I betrayed God and I've undoubtedly betrayed people, so I need to be willing for people to tell me when I've given offense as well as forgiving when I've been offended." And I think both those things are so hard and that's why peace-making is so hard but it's also the most beautiful thing in the world.

Lisa Fields: Because I think we think we lose something. In conversations where I see racial reconciliation in conversations happening, sometimes majority culture may be offended, like, "I didn't do that. I wasn't a slave holder." And the immediate defensiveness. It's like you lose something. But listening creates just a freedom for those who are offended. It's like people wanna be heard, and if you can listen without getting defensive it often brings the opposite of what you're thinking. It brings a healing and you can talk through those things. It's just like in any relationship. People, I think, compartmentalize things. So if they're talking to their spouse, they understand the aspect of listening, but, when they get to race conversations, they get defensive and it's like, if you could take the principle that you use over here in your marriage, and you know that this works here, try that over here. The skills are transferable.

I always think about, when I think about reconciliation, David, the lion and the bear, and Goliath. The tools he learnt with the lion and the bear helped him with Goliath. It's like Mr Miyagi, wax on, wax off, he's teaching him something. He's teaching him something that he doesn't know, and God is always, through little things, teaching us things for bigger giants in our lives. And I think that is the way racial conversations work, when we reconcile with our friends, when we reconcile with our spouses or one of our family members, we take those same principles and apply them to race conversations we'll have a different outcome.

Michael Davis: What would you say, because obviously this type of racial reconciliation, identity, this is such a big topic in secular culture as well. What would you say the biggest difference between this conversation within the church and the secular conversation?

Lisa Fields: It's interesting, because I see that sometimes the secular world is a lot less defensive.

Michael Davis: Okay, interesting.

Lisa Fields: That they do a better job at diversity and inclusion than the church. And I think that defensiveness, that "I don't want you to see me as racist", when maybe some of your tendencies that you're not aware of very well fits the racist mold. It's like when me and Jo were talking about misogyny, and men will be like, "I'm not misogynistic." And then you start pointing out things, and it's like, "That kind of actually fits the definition of misogyny." But it's just an ignorance to it. So just because you may be guilty of racism or misogyny or whatever, it doesn't mean it's an unforgivable thing or you're going to be locked up forever. It's something that can be repented of.

And I think if we just own it and not be defensive and say, "You know what ..." My professor is a great example of this, Dr. Leo Percer. I always refer to him because he's this country white guy from ... I can't remember where he's from, but it's some little, small town, and he got up when we were talking about race in class, he's a New Testament professor, and he was like, "You know ..." He started just lamenting of the ways, throughout his life, he had been racist. And he was like, "You know, I really had to ask God to forgive me for my blindness." And to me that was the most powerful moment, because he was just honest about it and he was saying he was repenting. And he's one of my favorite professors ever, and the fact that he admitted that to me took a lot of courage, and it built a bond. And Dr. Percer has helped me through some incredibly difficult times theologically.

And people have said, "Well if he admits that, that creates a divide between you." And it actually brought us closer. And so I think that is really important.

Vince Vitale: That's great. Wow. And I wanna get your thoughts on something, Lisa, because in the context of, and maybe the defensiveness is relevant here, but in the context of conversations about race, racism, racial reconciliation, one line that I sometimes hear is someone will say, "I don't see race." And I think that, behind that, is sometimes this idea of somebody wanting to say, "I'm not racist, and in fact I think we're all equally valuable." And sometimes then somebody will point to Galatians 3, right? And say" there's neither Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free," and there's a desire to say, "Well, if I just don't see race, as a Christian, then I can't be a racist." What would you say to that type of response, and the connection with that verse in particular?

Lisa Fields: That's interesting, because that verse has come up a lot, and I always think it's interesting the people who ask me that are very concerned about the gender issue. And so I was like, "What do you think about gender? Do you see gender? Are you concerned about what's going on in the culture and how gender is being fluid?" But you go to that verse for race. Isn't it interesting? So, in one verse, if you are consistent with you're exegesis and your hermeneutical approach, you can't be upset with gender fluidity either.

And so that's kind of one of the ways in which I challenge them on that verse, but, also, I think when people say they don't see color, if you really didn't see color, you wouldn't know what color I am. It's kind of like you're saying that to me, but do you go to other white people and say, "I don't see color"? Probably not. You're saying that to me because you actually see my color.

Michael Davis: It's always how you say that.

Jo Vitale: The irony.

Lisa Fields: The irony of it. And so, I give a gentle push back on that and say that God... there's every nation, tribe and tongue in Revelation, our diversity is highlighted in Revelation, and so God created us this way for a reason, and so that's important for us to acknowledge. And I think one of the most challenging things, people act as if race doesn't exist, but then, when you ask them ... I think it was ... There's a white woman, actually, that does racism work, and her name is Jane, I can't remember her last name, but she's in the group of all white students in the class, she's a professor, and she says, "How many of you are challenged, or don't see color?" And everybody raises their hand. And then she goes, "How many of you would wanna switch places with a black person in America?" And nobody raised their hand.

And so she's like, "No, you know there's a problem. If you wouldn't want to trade places with them, you obviously know there's a systematic problem, you just choose to ignore it based on your personal preference of what's convenient for you." And so those are some of the ways that I challenge it.

Vince Vitale: And that's a good thing that we see color, just like Jesus saw people and he saw all of the details of their lives and their culture and their tradition and he interacted with people in really unique ways depending on the details that he saw in a person's lives. So you're right, we do that with gender, we do that with everything else as well, a person's history, a person's family, we need to see a person deeply in order to respond to them in Christ-like way.

Michael Davis: I've heard from actually some pretty well-known theologians that what we're doing here is injecting victimization and intersectionality into Church discussion, and it's almost, in a sense, injecting secular discussions within the church and that's dangerous and that's counter, even antithetical, to the Gospel. How would you respond to someone who would say something like that?

Lisa Fields: I think the way in which Paul challenged Peter, he didn't think ... He thought it was important to challenge his prejudice at that moment because it was a Gospel issue. The way you treat people is a reflection of the God you serve. And so I think, looking at scripture, undermines that false narrative that people try to put out there.

But I think just looking at the Old Testament, I don't think you could read the Old Testament and see a God that doesn't care about justice. And I think when we divorce the Old and New Testaments from each other and think, "Okay, I'm just gonna read the Pauline letters. I'm just gonna read the Gospels." And then Jesus talks a great deal about, "When did you visit me? If you do this to the least of these..." So I think, us just thinking, I think we like to lean in on the thirteen letters, or fourteen if you think Paul wrote Hebrew some ...

Michael Davis: Barnabas.

Lisa Fields: We like to lean in on that, and we don't pay attention to the richness of God speaking through the prophets about justice. That he's challenging them about the ways he's treated those who are the least of these in society, and the ways they've abused people. And if we missed that I think we can come up with this thing about victimization. No, God cares deeply about people in the margins, and because he cares, we should care too.

Jo Vitale: And it's very dangerous when we do that, when we wind up ... Because often you wind up emphasizing the judgment of God, at the end of the day, and the justice of God, and the wrath of God, but then you don't talk about justice in the context of how we're living our lives now, and how God is calling us to love one another. And I think, wow you're just tearing pieces into the character of God there. I mean, you couldn't rip more pages out of the Bible than when you separate those things apart.

Vince Vitale: Lisa, I'd love to ask you one more, really practical question, and this is a question of two friends of mine who are trying to find a church at the moment, and they've been attending a church, they're a white couple, married, and they love the preaching, they say that the childcare is great, they love what they do with kids, but they've been in touch with us recently, they wanna have a conversation with us about this, and they're cognizant of the fact that it is almost exclusively a white church in terms of those how attend, it's a very wealthy church, as well. And they're trying to figure out, practically, how do we value race in the context of a practical church decision about where to attend. And we're thinking the preaching is strong here, this is good for our kids, but, boy, we'd love to be in a church that was diverse as well. What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to take seriously racial reconciliation and is also trying to find a church?

Lisa Fields: I think that's a great question. I think one of the misconceptions is that every church has to be multi-ethnic. Church is ... If you are in an all black neighborhood and your church is all white then that's problematic, right? If you're in an all-white neighborhood, your church should reflect your community. I think the challenge is if you're in a mixed neighborhood and your church doesn't reflect that. But I think, the tension is, you don't have to make your church multi-ethnic for it to be pleasing to God, and I think that's the misconception. I think one of the things that you have to do if you're just the majority culture church is make your church welcoming to those who may come in that's minorities.

But also, create initiatives that serve people on the margins, and use the privilege that you have to serve those that don't have the same privilege, and create initiatives to do that. But I think we put too much pressure, often times, on churches to be forced to be multi-ethnic, because, if that's not a reflection of your community, it's just not going to happen, it's just not something tangible or practical. And so I think that's a way to look at it, practically.

Michael Davis: Dhati Lewis calls it a neighborhood missiology, you're right, you're not trying to force it, that's really interesting. Well guys, we are out of time. Lisa, can you sum it up for us.

Lisa Fields: Well, I hope you tune into the podcast, Jude 3 Project, where we talk about these issues, about black Christian apologetics that will help you engage people more, whether it's students, pastors, congregants, at jude3project.com.

Vince Vitale: That's great. One thing I've heard you say, Lisa, is we don't just have a racial reconciliation problem, we just have a reconciliation problem. And you spoke earlier about how these are the principles we have in marriage and friendship, why don't we transfer them over to race? And sometimes part of the problem is we're not practicing them well in the context of marriage and friendships and all our other relationships either, so anyone who's listening to this program, start with reconciliation generally, and who is it in your life where there needs to be some difficult, but beautiful, reconciliation that takes place.

Michael Davis: That's great. Vince, we actually have an exciting announcement about how people can engage with Ask Away after the show. Can you explain that a little bit?

Vince Vitale: Absolutely. We're excited about this, guys. We want to take the listeners of the podcast and invite you into Ask Away community. That's gonna be an online community and it's gonna be on RZIM Connect, which is the global home, online home of RZIM. This is a place where you can go after each episode, we're gonna give some sort of challenge about how you might share your faith. We're going to give a discussion question to think further about. You can go out, have conversations, reflect on that discussion question, give your feedback in the community, encourage others, spur each other on. We hope you'll be praying for each other, and we're also gonna take that community as part of how we inform the future episodes of the show as well.

So if you have a question you can put it in on that community and we'll take some of those questions and speak to them in future episodes. It's RZIM Connect. It's a really exciting initiative of the ministry. Next time you have a question about faith, go to RZIM Connect and ask it. You'll get a personal response, you'll get a credible response. That's a lot better than just typing it into Google and getting an impersonal response and a popular response. Another thing you'll find on Connect is that, almost every week of the year, one our RZIM speakers is there fielding questions as well.

So check that out, it's at connect.rzim.org, that's connect.rzim.org, and we hope you'll take the next step with us in this Ask Away podcast, we're so excited about how quickly it's grown, how many people are listening around the world, and if we can form a community out of that and really be spurring each other on, we think that would be a great thing.

Michael Davis: Lisa, thank you so much for joining us.

Lisa Fields: Thank you for having me, I really enjoyed it.

Michael Davis: Excellent. Vince, Jo, thank you guys for joining me, and we will see you guys soon.

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