Giglio, Cathy & Lecrae: Phrases and forgiveness are necessary, as are listening and studying Alternate

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"White blessing."

By now, you've probably seen the comments from Passion City Church, Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio, who made Twitter shine. Comments for which he apologized.

In a conversation with Lecrae and Dan Cathy, CEO of Chic-Fil-A, Giglio used the term "white blessing" shortly after he said on Twitter that he "does not try to call slavery a blessing – but knows" "People) are privileged because of the curse of slavery. Calling it a privilege / advantage / blessing. The choice of words was not great. Trying to help us see society is based on dehumanizing others. I apologize me, I failed. "

Yes, it was a mistake and he apologized again this morning.

When Giglio said these words, the answers were of course violent and quick – and global. A clip of less than two minutes (from an hour and ten minute dialogue) has gone viral, and the three participants are now receiving all kinds of criticism and condemnation.

There are many things to worry about, including Giglio's unhelpful and unclear words, but also the bigger issues at stake than a pastor and a video. We don't want to lose sight of the issues and this important moment.

Since I have published (and taken several measures) thousands of words about race and justice in the past few weeks, I will take a moment to address another (and still important) issue – that we have more and not less of such conversations need .

You see, I don't want this moment to distract or prevent Anglo pastors from listening and learning.

Speaking of races

Talking about racial injustice is a challenge, but (naturally) experiencing racial injustice is much more.

However, there is increasing fear today that only one misstep is necessary and that you are seen as "racist" or a fool in such conversations. For this reason, pastors may fear to discuss races. This is a mistake.

This is tough stuff. But it is too important for executives to run away. We have to work for justice and for the good of others.

Giglio did not speak his thoughts well – he admitted that. But now his words also say things that he didn't mean so well. That doesn't help anyone.

How on earth are we talking about race? How can white leaders, pastors, and others be involved in change?

Here are three important ideas that we need to understand.

First, we have to understand that conversations about races are always misunderstood.

When we start commenting on the race, we have to get used to the idea of ​​possibly being misunderstood. We are trying to understand an undivided reality and it is not an easy process.

This means that we have to be very careful to listen, to formulate our words and to learn from others.

As an Anglo person, I am not in the same room as a colored person. These are undivided realities and experiences that we want to understand as well as possible. What we have in our country is 400 years of racism in various forms, combined with systemic problems that persist to this day.

Our first step in this conversation is this: Admit that we have an undivided reality.

What Giglio seemed to be saying, perhaps to a mostly white audience that might reject the word privilege, is that we have some "blessings" because we are white. In other words, there are things that we enjoy simply because we are white. None of us can deny that, and when we do, we deny history and current reality.

Still, he stumbled in his words and the result was everywhere.

Second, we need to clearly define terms.

There are some terms or expressions that we need to understand and define well.

The white privilege is one of them. Although I can't unpack everything in this article, I have certain advantages just because I'm white. When I go to a shop as a white person, people react differently (and often more positively) than some of my African American friends.

For example, a few Christmas ago I met a new friend, an African American pastor named Charlie Dates. We met in Chicago's central old town. I would be there and hand out invitations to Moody Church. "I'm handing out flyers," I said to him. "Come on, help me." He chuckled and informed me. "People won't take flyers from me in this neighborhood."

Because of our skin color, people assume certain things about me and something else about dates. And he was right.

There is a privilege that I experience and recognize that is only a question of observation. It shouldn't be controversial.

At the moment, however, there are people who are pushing back the concept of white privilege – which is why Giglio may have been looking for another term.

Instead of recognizing this as a broad reality in our society, some say, "Yes, but I grew up white and poor, so that's not the case with me." What this comment lacks is that the broad category of white privileges persists across socio-economic boundaries.

Instead of trying to redefine the term like Giglio, I would encourage pastors to simply explain it the way I just did. This is not the time to be novel or creative in the nomenclature.

Listen to me: As white people, we don't have the privilege to redefine the white privilege.

Of course, some people say, "Just preach the gospel." They don't want to talk about systematic racism or privileges.

However, Revelation 7 tells us that in Heaven there will be every language, tribe, and nation – each identifiable. Everyone different and good, not stripped of his uniqueness. This is part of the gospel story.

Here is another term that we need to clearly define: systemic racism. This means that there are things in the system that maintain a balanced reality for people with color. For example, predominantly white communities have increased in value over time, while black communities generally depreciate. So it is – unfortunately and wrongly.

In addition, school funding is based on the income of the local population, and black communities tend to be poorer and therefore have disproportionately fewer resources. Getting out of poverty is systematically more difficult. It is difficult to pull yourself up on the bootstraps if the bootstraps are cut off again and again.

I will go into each of these (and other) terms in the coming articles. However, if you use the right terms and define what we mean, we can have better conversations.

Third, we have to see things through the eyes of others.

We cannot underestimate the place of empathy at the moment. My friend Belinda Bauman wrote an important truth in her book Brave Souls:

“Empathy is not only reserved for some saints who walk above the earth. It is not a feeling or a revelation. No, empathy is grainy, personal, concrete and practical and is available to anyone who is thirsty enough to pursue real love. Awakening from the perspective of others can radically change the way we see the world and how we love others. "

The vast majority of black evangelical leaders would say that there is systemic racism and white privilege and that policing in black communities is done differently. They would affirm the term "black matter of life" not because they affirm the organization that bears this name, but because black lives are really important, perhaps because Christians had learned from Jesus that Samaritans are matter of life (see Acts 1: 8, John 4)).

When people say "All lives are important", they miss the point completely and cause more wounds. As a black pastor said to me:

"If you are on a march and someone says to you:" All life is important ", you would answer:" That goes past the point. It's about the life of the unborn and whether they are important. "My community is about whether black lives matter."

Let me add an important note. Seeing through the eyes of others does not mean looking for people who agree with us. Be careful not to look for someone who thinks like you and assume that they are the people in this church who understand that best. In this case, evangelical Christians could have a better picture and a better way of looking through the eyes of others when they reach (and listen to) African American leaders.

Of course, no one represents the African American community (or any other community). So listen carefully and learn well.

It's a remarkable thing to see through someone else's eyes – and a great way to love your neighbor.


From now on, please do not take the wrong lesson. Instead, maybe answer like Giglio, apologize to his "black brothers and sisters", and then explain that "I am trying to help myself" to learn and "to help my white brothers and sisters understand, that white privileges are real ”. His comments show that like most of us in the white community, he has a lot to learn. It also tells us something more: on a day with platform positions, it is a reminder that a position like an effective communicator, a pastor of the Mega Church or (gasping for breath) even a professor doesn't make us a teacher.

Instead, as Giglio said in his apology, he wants to be a learner. Just like I have to be.

That's why I'm going to pass on the microphone to others here at The Exchange in times like these, as we did with the multi-part series after Ferguson: "It's time to listen." Or last week's helpful series with Esau McCaulley. Or on Ed Stetzer Live with John Jenkins and James Meeks. Or come to us tomorrow when we listen to the African-American leaders how they understand this moment.

Mind you, I still have a lot to learn, but I try to listen carefully. And I learned that sharing a platform with colored people is not enough. It is a good time to give the floor to gospel-loving African-American leaders to sit under their guidance, and for some it will be very difficult to address the problem at hand.

But please, my Anglo pastors, please do not run away from these discussions because they are difficult. Instead, learn from them. Lean on them. Do not be easily hurt if you are not fully understood. Define terms clearly as you discuss them. and especially listen, learn and empathize with brothers and sisters of color.

You may walk the same streets as we do, but not the same way.

And since it's not really about white pastors, you should also listen to Lecrae's comments.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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