Lake Sylvan, Sanford, FLSo, I went to church on a Sunday when I had no sermon to preach, no meeting to moderate, no ordination or installation to attend.  

It was a rare Sunday during which I could pick any church – of all the churches in our Presbytery and beyond – to be with the people of God.  And I really needed to be with the people of God, praying together and worshiping The God of All Things, especially after The Verdict of 7-13-13.

I am, admittedly, a judgmental person.  As a professional minister, I judge sermons harshly.  I look – intentionally – for moving liturgy, authentic community, and real people.  So – with the attitude of a judgmental editor – I experienced, yesterday, Good People, albeit people who welcomed me with “What are you doing here?”  (Really.)  The prayers were heartfelt and compassionate. But the sermon – honestly – could have been preached 20 years ago, 30 years ago, or even 50 years ago without any edits.

I showed up longing for someone to talk about the George Zimmerman acquittal. I needed to hear a Word of comfort in the midst of deep sadness.  And this is what the preacher shared with me after worship:

Pastor:  We live in a community that’s 52% black.  It’s scary.

Me:   (?)

Pastor:  My wife used to teach 7th grade science but she found that those kids were illiterate.  No wonder they don’t have jobs.  No wonder they shoot each other.  It’s a real problem.

Me: (!)

I am not quick on my feet.  I can think of all sorts of things to say about 30 minutes after a conversation.  The comments of this pastor horrified me but I couldn’t respond until after the fact.

This is a real story.  It was a real conversation.

Here’s the thing:  We need to have some honest conversations about reality and race.

Photo of a quiet place on Lake Sylvan in Sanford, Florida.


6 responses to “Race

  1. We got no mention whatsoever. White privilege much?

  2. Would like to tell you that I am surprised and shocked by the pastor’s comments. The reality is that I am not. Only mildly surprised it was not said from the pulpit.

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