For the last 12 weeks I joined a great group of people from our church to read and discuss a book by Latasha Morrison entitled Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation. The book was not an easy read and it required hearing and discussing things that were not comfortable. It made us come to grips with real history that many of us never heard because others were afraid to teach it. We learned of horrific things done to African-American people and the internment camps for the Japanese-American people. We made it local and personal by taking a “field trip” to the Goldsboro Museum. We learned of Goldboro’s history as one of the oldest African-American founded communities ( an incorporated city) in the United States, which thrived until it was forcibly annexed and its character destroyed.
But this was not just a history lesson but more a lesson on how history must be confronted (with the fears, perceptions and frustrations it creates) in order for reconciliation to happen. Many times it would have been easier to tune out and say, “Not my problem.” or “I wasn’t even born then”. But, as followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be peacemakers and promoters of reconciliation. “Love your neighbor as yourself” sometimes requires recognizing and laying aside our privilege, position, or power.
If you have a chance to read this book, read it. Even better would be to read it with a group!
— Scott Russell, member First UMC Sanford