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I was interviewed today by a reporter from NPR about faith and forgiveness in the context of these trials. (Thanks Shani for the introduction!) The last question he asked me was do I feel optimistic about the state of race relations in Charleston.
Of course I feel optimistic because I have hope in the future. But that doesn't mean I have my head in the sand about the major work that we need to do. I try to put myself out there to have conversations with those of different religions, races, backgrounds, etc.. That is a first step to come to know and understand each other. I think until we start there we are not ready to have the deep conversations that need to happen to make real change.
A wonderful group started up a year ago between a historically African-American parish and a church plant in an upper class mainly white area of Charleston. They started off as a Bible Study but quickly realized that to get somewhere they were going to need to be real with each other. They formed a safe space where they could grow and learn from each other. What was supposed to be a 6 week Bible Study has now been meeting for over a year. They formed in response to the murders at Mother Emanuel.
So instead of Dylann Roof starting a race war, Charleston has come together. Today the Advent Word is Hope and I see hope everyday in this wonderful city.
Advent Word is a global Advent calendar. To learn more, please visit their website at www.adventword.org. To join in use hashtag #adventword and the word of the day in your social media posts.