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In the midst of so much tragedy and so much to lament after recent times of white supremacy raging through racial terrorism and gun massacres, Latasha Morrison spoke with trauma therapist Dr. Anita Phillips for a timely and needed word. Dr. Anita shares about the importance of singing together, of physical touch, and of living sacrificially as a follower of Jesus. She dives deep into God’s design of emotions and the connection between our hearts and brains. This episode is filled with Dr. Anita’s pastoral voice as she invites us into a better understanding of how God created us to feel and to live.
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Host & Executive Producer: Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer: Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor & Music By: Travon Potts
Transcriber: Sarah Connatser
Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization.
The full episode transcript is below.
Dr. Anita Phillips 0:00
I was glad that it was you. I haven’t talked to you in a while, haven’t seen your face, and just connecting with each other. I always feel a little better after an hour like I know this will be, so I’m actually grateful.
Latasha Morrison 0:11
You are listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast with Latasha Morrison.
Latasha Morrison 0:17
[intro] How are you guys doing today? It’s exciting!
Each week, Be the Bridge Podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.
Latasha Morrison 0:28
[intro] …but I’m gonna do it in the spirit of love.
We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.
Latasha Morrison 1:05
Be the Bridge family, I am so excited. I tell you, for such a time as this that this was even scheduled, before all of the things have happened, all the things that are happening in the world to have Dr. Anita Phillips on the Be the Bridge Podcast today. And she’s a trauma therapist, a life coach, a minister. And that’s what I want to hear a lot from today is the minister Dr. Anita Phillips. Because I’ve seen your videos, I’ve seen your videos. So I know, I know. (laughter) She’s an expert in unraveling the human experience, known for her paradigm shifting insights at the intersection of mental health, faith, and culture. Her work is guided by one simple idea: most things that seem complicated are actually just hard. From overthrowing anxiety to reimagining the path to equity, this dynamic speaker helps people, groups, and organizations accomplish hard things. And you hold your degrees from the University of Maryland and Regent University. And you’ve done your post doctorate work at John Hopkins in the School of Public Health. And so, I am just elated to have on all here, my sister, my friend. I felt like when I met you for the first time I knew you. But we have like similar…
Dr. Anita Phillips 2:35
Latasha Morrison 2:35
…our Christian experience is similar. We both became Christians like you know, well, I became a Christian through the organization. You were already a Christian but kind of rededicated, you know that thing (laughter).
Dr. Anita Phillips 2:35
Yeah, I had to come on back to Jesus. I call it my grown up commitment. You know, that’s like, “I’m an adult and I’m gonna mean it now.” (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 2:55
Right. While we were in college, where most people kind of float away in college, we were coming back to Christ. And so we know a lot of the same people and have had that. So just talking to you, there’s just a familiarity with you. And, it’s easy.
Dr. Anita Phillips 3:11
There is. It’s the 1973 births. The ’73 babies. That’s a special year. That’s a special year. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 3:17
I’m telling you. I’m just telling you, people try to like overlook Gen X. And I’m here to let them know that we are here.
Dr. Anita Phillips 3:25
We are here.
Latasha Morrison 3:25
That we are vibrant. That basically some of you exist, because we are here.
Dr. Anita Phillips 3:31
Latasha Morrison 3:31
You know, I mean, we invented everything. Everything came through Generation X. (laugher)
Dr. Anita Phillips 3:36
It really did. I was just reflecting on it last night with talking with my parents. I did an online Bible Study with my parents, and I was just reflecting on the fact that we are the first generation of, first of all Black Americans post the civil rights laws being past.
Latasha Morrison 3:53
Dr. Anita Phillips 3:53
Post legal desegregation having happened.
Latasha Morrison 3:58
Dr. Anita Phillips 3:58
And then also as women, because women’s rights were so much wrapped up in the Civil Rights Bill.
Latasha Morrison 4:04
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:04
So in 1973, when we were born, I think it was either ’73 or ’74, that the Fair Credit Act was passed where a woman could get a credit card or a mortgage without having a man having to sign.
Latasha Morrison 4:15
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:16
So as Black people, as women, as Black women, we’re the first generation to have…
Latasha Morrison 4:22
A full set of rights!
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:24
…in this capacity, a full set of rights as human beings. That is massive. And it has been a huge blessing. But also, a journey, a weighty journey.
Latasha Morrison 4:34
Yeah, it is.
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:34
And so they sleep on us, but we’re the real deal.
Latasha Morrison 4:36
Cause it’s the freeing. I think there’s a lot to say about the freeing of this generation. But then also to say that a lot of our parents were traumatized.
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:44
And very much so and we carry that.
Latasha Morrison 4:47
Yeah. And they were tired. And we carry a lot of that, you know, dysfunction within our demographic and within our generation. But this generation birthed so much. You know, one of the things I, I’m just gonna kind of let the Lord lead. But one of the things that first conversations I heard you have, you were talking about the power of music in our community and how music has birthed so much, and why music when we talk about like our joy and our sorrows wrapped up in blues music. So when I think about the ’70s, I think about, you know, this was really the birth of hip hop. And we were telling our stories. We were telling about the inequities in our community, the underserved communities at that time, where, you know, you had redlining – still happening, you know.
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:47
Latasha Morrison 4:49
It was still very prevalent, although, you know.
Dr. Anita Phillips 4:53
I grew up in a redlined neighborhood in New Jersey.
Latasha Morrison 5:27
Yup. And that’s where my grandparents, both of my grandparents, lived in a redlined district. And so we were telling those stories and how this is how the hood was formed. And that birthed, you know, a lot of the hip hop, r&b, and all of those things came out of that. And I just remember you were kind of talking about that, and I was just thinking with everything that we have going on from some of the police violence with Black and Brown brothers and sisters, from Buffalo, to Texas, it’s just all really too much to bear. I cannot understand how to do this apart from Christ. And then there’s some people, you know, I’m reading online, they’re like, “How can a loving Father allow this to happen?” And, you know, so you have people that’s thinking that way. And then you have, you know, some of us leaning into our faith because we cannot withstand the weight of what’s happening in the world on our own. And then some people using the faith as an excuse. They done hijacked the faith. (laughter) You know? And making up their own version…
Dr. Anita Phillips 7:20
Right. So infuriating.
Latasha Morrison 7:21
…and exegesis and all the things. And there’s this song that I was just, I’m not a singer, I’m not a singer. God knows, y’all know, I’m not a singer. (laugher) I can do a lot of things. I can do a lot of things.
Dr. Anita Phillips 7:23
Sing anyway! Sing anyway!
Latasha Morrison 7:27
But I’m not a singer. But when things get difficult for me and all of this happening in the midst of writing a book and all those stuff, I go to hymns. I’ve been in “I Need Thee.”
Dr. Anita Phillips 7:56
Oh, let’s sing that. Let’s sing that right now. Let’s do it. Let’s do it.
Audio Clip 8:00
I need Thee. I need Thee. Come on and make it personal. Yes, it’s me God. Every hour, I need Thee. I can’t speak for nobody else. But I’ve been waiting on this part. Oh bless me now my Savior. I come to Thee.
Latasha Morrison 9:00
In that moment, in that moment. God is so good.
Dr. Anita Phillips 9:01
Yeah, we got to do that. We have to sing more. We have to sing more. I’m reminded in this moment of a several years ago, it’s been quite a while. Gosh, it’s probably been 12 years. I took my daughter to a summer camp, a girl summer camp in West Virginia. I think the town was like Yellowstone, West Virginia. So it wasn’t much of us down there. And I dropped my daughter off but I did not have the confidence to leave her and drive back to Maryland. I stayed in a bed and breakfast a mile from the camp. (laughter) She thought she was being a big girl and being left at sleepaway camp, but I was just up the road. And I had a convertible car back then, and I would drive past the camp at a certain time every day, during horseback riding and duck low.
Latasha Morrison 9:43
(laughter) I love it, I love it.
Dr. Anita Phillips 9:44
And I’d get my eyes on her. I know, it’s terrible. But I had asked about local churches and the bed and breakfast owner told me there was a Bible study that went on at lunch at this particular diner one day a week. And I was there for a few weeks. And I went down to the Bible study, it was all older white women. And they looked definitely confused slash concerned about my approach to the table. And I sat down and said, “Hi.” And I tried to say, “I’m a ministers kid.” And I was like, “You know what, I’m going to stay in this.” But they had a moment. And they said, “Well, let’s sing.” And they started singing a hymn, and I started singing with them. And everything changed.
Latasha Morrison 9:44
We need to sing together.
Dr. Anita Phillips 9:56
We need to sing together. We need to sing together. And one of the beautiful things about the Black church tradition, and maybe other traditions as well, but, we used to have devotional service. And so, in devotional service and testimony service anybody could either just stand up and say what God had done for them that week. Or they could start a song, and everybody would join in with the song.
Latasha Morrison 10:49
Dr. Anita Phillips 10:49
And nobody had to be a great singer. This is before the concert level praise and worship presentations you get now with lights and smoke machines. And I’m not mad, I enjoy it.
The foot tapping. Tap that foot.
But nobody had to be a great singer. You just started singing, and people would join in with you. You just tap that foot. That’s it. And everybody would join in. And somehow, when we’re all singing together, it always sounds amazing.
Latasha Morrison 11:16
I remember that. I said that after this last shooting, and I was like, I just need to go to an old school church, where they gonna say:
Audio Clip 11:28
[Audio clip of Black church singers] I, I, I. Lord’s the Lord. Jesus, my brother.
Latasha Morrison 11:36
Because it’s like, I have to reflect on the goodness of God in those moments of chaos and trauma. That’s what, I think it just clings me to sanity. You know? And it helps me. Because a lot of times when these things are happening, I as a person and then my organization, we have to be able to put out and so it’s like, you got to be connected in order to put out something healthy, you know, for for the community, for the body.
Dr. Anita Phillips 12:09
Latasha Morrison 12:10
And I take that real seriously. But sometimes it’s like, I have to turn it off. And then it’s like, I have to connect, you know, and music and worship is how I connect. And so I think there’s something in our community as we talk about trauma. You know, I know there’s so many layers that you can talk about. What, you know, I don’t even, there’s so many issues right now.
Dr. Anita Phillips 12:39
It is overwhelming.
Latasha Morrison 12:39
And I know you are booked and busy. You are booked and busy. I think every trauma therapist probably is booked and busy now. What would you advise those who can’t see a therapist, they don’t have the means to see a therapist. You know, and we know it’s like some of these things are beyond praying it away or even singing it away. What are some things that people can do that maybe culturally they’re not used to going to someone and talking? Maybe they don’t have the means to; they could be in between jobs. You know, all these different things. What are some things that you advise?
Dr. Anita Phillips 13:20
I advise you to get to somebody you can touch.
Latasha Morrison 13:26
Dr. Anita Phillips 13:26
We really need physical touch. And I think we understand that better than ever, after the isolation that many people endured during the pandemic, especially people who lived alone or at some distance. We have a real dearth of non sexual touch. Very often in our lives, that a hug that you can lean into for 30 whole seconds or a minute. You know, my kids were home over the holidays, then they stayed about a month. And I know that they’re very close my son and my daughter, but it still blesses me when I see them. My daughter will jump on her brother and lay on him for an hour while they watch a TV show or something. And they were sitting there and she had landed on his head and they were just laying there. And I was thinking, “I’m so grateful that my children have non sexual touch available.” We are such a overly sexualized society that we just don’t cultivate that enough.
Latasha Morrison 14:30
Dr. Anita Phillips 14:31
But people need to be touched. Hold your friends hand. Hug somebody for a long time. Go get a hug that’s long, not just the greeting pat you on the back hug. But we need to be held. And we’re not accustomed to doing that. And then if we’re not in churches where that’s happening, you know, that was another thing about the Black church. Boy, we gonna hug some people now.
Latasha Morrison 14:51
That’s where I learned it. (laughter)
Dr. Anita Phillips 14:53
We gonna hug some people. And we gonna hold on to them and pray over them with our arms around them.
Latasha Morrison 14:58
That is so true.
Dr. Anita Phillips 14:58
And that physical touch has a huge impact on our emotional health. And so sometimes we just need a really good long hug. I mean, hold the person tight for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Latasha Morrison 14:58
That’s so good.
Dr. Anita Phillips 15:08
And when you feel like letting go, squeeze tighter.
Latasha Morrison 15:14
You see, I need some, you see the Lord gotta deliver me in this. Because I grew up in a family where we didn’t do a lot of hugging. My dad did a lot of hugging, his side of the family. So there was just like this mixed bag. You know? But when I became a Christian, I started like hugging more. Especially going to the Black church, you hug and those awkward hugs. But those awkward long hugs, now I can appreciate them. But I remember those awkward hugs. There was a lady named Darlene that used to go to church. She would give the big ole hugs. And now sometimes you just want to Miss Darlene hug, like where you could just melt in the arms.
Dr. Anita Phillips 15:49
You do, you do.
Latasha Morrison 15:50
My friend yesterday, I saw her. I went to the store and I happened to run into a friend yesterday. And her name is Sheleta, and she gives good long hugs. And she does it. And she means it with all her being. And she hugged me yesterday. And I remember hugging her back. And I was like, “You know what, I need to hug more.” I need to, I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna do that. (laughter)
Dr. Anita Phillips 16:12
We do. We do. Do it. Now, don’t violate anybody’s space. I’m not suggesting we attack people and violate their boundaries. But right on the other side of that awkward moment. Right when you hit that, “Am I hugging too long?” That’s right where it’s about to be the power of the hug is about to break through. If you hold on a little tighter right through that moment, because I feel like a lot of times, if it’s a person I’m safe with, a lot of times that awkward moment is the moment where my real self is about to come up.
Latasha Morrison 16:43
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Anita Phillips 16:43
Where the emotional need for this moment has just jumped up and been like, “Oh, are you here for me?” And we can be uncomfortable with that, because we’re so uncomfortable with emotion as a culture, and that is undermining our mental health, our relational health, our spiritual health is being undermined by how uncomfortable we are and how inarticulate we are and inadequate we are with emotion. And so that awkward moment often is really just, “I think that I am about to get emotional, emotion is moving in my body. And am I gonna allow it?” And right on the other side of that moment, that hug gets real good. And then you walk away feeling like, “Ahh. That was the hug I needed.” But we don’t even bring our need up into the presence of other people. We’re so used to keeping it down. But we need each other bad right now. We need each other bad. So, a hug is critical. I encourage people to get together in groups. If you can’t afford therapy, look for a support group. There are a lot of support groups that are free, some of them are online, things are starting to come back in person a little bit. But just being in a room, whether it’s a Zoom room or whatever, with several other people talking about what you have in common, especially a common pain, is very healing. And one of the reasons I think that, well I think each community has different reasons why they struggle with mental health and therapy and counseling, but everybody has something. In our community we’re very action oriented. Action is a high value in the Black community. It’s a highly charged value. And so talking is like, “Well, what are we talking about it for? Talking not going to do anything.” Like talking and action are not conducive. But you would be surprised. It does do something, because it brings us into connection. It causes our stories to intertwine. And we gain strength from it. Music, song has always been a tradition of ours, but also storytelling. And so we’re tapping into some ancient wisdom of our people, when we get together and tell our stories. There’s something healing about that as well. So support groups are almost always free. I’ve never know one that wasn’t free. Just whatever issue you’re dealing with, just Google grief support group, you know, whatever. And you may find one online or in person. It can be incredibly healing and it doesn’t usually cost anything. So I would encourage people to look for that as well.
Latasha Morrison 19:17
That’s one of the things that has come out of our BIPOC community – which is our Black, Indigenous, people of color group that we have. There’s a lot of talk that happens and listening to one another. And that has been healing for a lot of people who don’t have that, because they may be in areas when they’re not around a lot of other people of color. And it’s helping us, because it’s a diverse group of people of color, know each other’s stories and be able to sit with others in their pain when it’s not necessarily our community’s story.
Dr. Anita Phillips 19:46
Right. Give people the gift of being heard.
Latasha Morrison 19:48
Yes. One of the things you said, I heard you, I think you may have posted this. You said, “Jesus was about where he was and how he was feeling.”
Dr. Anita Phillips 19:59
Jesus was always honest about where he was and how he was feeling. Yes, Jesus was emotional.
Latasha Morrison 20:04
Yeah. And the culture teaches us differently.
Dr. Anita Phillips 20:07
Latasha Morrison 20:07
And I just want you to talk about that just a little bit. Because when you said that, and I was like, “That is so true.” And it’s like, I’m telling you, I think we as Christians, we as Americans need to spend just a year in just the red letters. Just the red letters. (laughter)
Dr. Anita Phillips 20:25
Just the red letters, sis. Just the red letters and any description of what Jesus actually did.
Latasha Morrison 20:33
Dr. Anita Phillips 20:33
I have become more and we both have been writing. And the book I just finished the first draft of mine as well, is really at a core about emotion. The book really is at it’s core about emotion. Because, listen, if we just, I have become more and more to refer to myself as a follower of Jesus. I am a Christian. I’m not disdaining the term Christian, but it reminds me about what we were supposed to be.
Latasha Morrison 21:01
Yes, I love that.
Dr. Anita Phillips 21:02
Am I following Jesus? Jesus. When I used to teach premarital classes, one of my favorite things to do, I would give out a packet for each person to fill out and we’d assess everybody’s wellness. And on the spiritual wellness, I would have two questions on a scale of one to 10. “On a scale of one to 10, how strong is your relationship with God?” And the next question was, “On a scale of one to 10 how much do you look like Jesus on a daily basis?” And inevitably, the score for how strong the relationship with God was would be generally higher than the score of how much on a day to day basis do I look like Jesus. But that’s really the key. And so when I’m watching Jesus, I see Jesus express emotion freely and often with words and with his body. And so I was talking about, but right before I said those words you saw in the clip, I was talking about Jesus in Gethsemane, and how strongly he was experiencing emotions. The Bible says that as he went into the garden of Gethsemane with his disciples, that he was sore amazed in the King James version. I’m a King James girl. And that means heavy with sorrow. He became heavy with sorrow even unto death. In other words, he was feeling so much emotional pain, it felt like he could die right there. And then he has his three closest disciples with him. And he asked them to pray. He comes out, they’re asleep. And he’s just like, “Can you not tarry with me one hour? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He was talking about his own flesh. Jesus had a same flesh and blood body as we do, and I don’t think we sink into that enough. That word flesh when he says that “sarx” means flesh and blood, the tissue on bone. So there he had our body. He said, “That my body, though is weak.” And our emotions are inextricable from our body. It’s because of our body that we know how we feel. And he goes back and he’s praying harder. The Bible says he’s in agony, the blood is burst, blood vessels are bursting in his forehead. That is the pressure of fear. We have seen in modern science cases of this happen, where people are on death row, or they’re about to face a firing squad, that the fear of that in the body is so intense that blood vessels will burst beneath the skin. So fear was pulsing through Jesus’s body and some people get real offended. “Jesus never had fear.” First of all, Hebrews 4:15 says that I have not a high priest who can not be touched by the feelings of my infirmity, not my thoughts, my feelings. And that word infirmities means weakness. So I have not a high priest who cannot be touched by the feelings of my weakest moments. But in every way, was also tempted. yet without sin. That means no emotion is a sin. Because if Jesus felt at all and never sinned, then nothing I feel is a sin. And my Bible would not be true if Jesus did not have the experience of human fear, or else then he wouldn’t have felt everything I felt. And so we see Jesus’s human body wrapped with fear, sadness, frustration, when his disciples are not hanging with him. All the feelings are there, and he’s praying and he’s praying and he’s praying. And he asks God to let this cup pass. Like Hebrews, oh, chapter five, Hebrews chapter five, I think it may be verse seven says that he went to his father who was saved from death with strong crying, and tears. Strong that word meant loud, he was ugly crying. He wasn’t like, “Oh, Father God. This crucifixion thing seems kind of inconvenient and I’m not really feeling it. If by chance you could…” Un uh, strong crying and tears. We never in any of these moments with Jesus see him rebuke his emotion. We never see him stand up and say, “Oh no, I’m not going to feel this. My mind is strong.” We don’t see any of this stuff that we do. We don’t ever see Jesus do. He felt right through it. He went through the feelings. But here’s the thing that is so exciting. When Jesus prayed through and God answered him, Hebrews five says, that he heard that he was heard and that he feared. Now when a prayer is heard that means it’s been answered. And so if Jesus was heard and that he feared and he was not excused from the request for the crucifixion, what was heard? And I believe his fear was heard, because the Bible says he was heard in that he feared. And God sent an angel to strengthen him. And he laid there in that agony until the fear was removed, and he was strong. And God ministered to his fear. He didn’t rebuke him. He didn’t say, “You are being weak, Jesus, this is a sin.” He sent an angel to minister to him in his most emotional moment. When that was finished, Jesus stands up and walks out of Gethsemane. And they say, “Where’s Jesus?” And he said, “I am he.” And those soldiers that came to get him were knocked to the ground. Jesus went from sadness, frustration, terror, up at the top of the hill, walked down that hill, and said, “I have he” and people were slain. So we have to stop believing that our emotional pain is mutually exclusive with our spiritual power. It is not. And our worship of our minds, that we have to get our minds over this emotion. That’s worship, it’s pride. And pride is America’s chief sin. And we have got to lay it down, every single one of us and be willing to be broken. Jesus never ever rebuked, repressed, rejected his emotion. He cried in front of the tomb of Lazarus, publicly cried and then raised them from the dead. He flipped tables in the temple angry, and then he healed people miraculously, immediately after. Gethsemene, we see that hard moment and then look, people are slain by his words. And then here’s the thing. Jesus doesn’t get a once and for all. We all want a once and for all. We want this, “God take this pain away once and for all, once it for all.” He didn’t walk out of the Gethsemane in that powerful moment, and not have another hard moment. At the end of the crucifixion. What does he say? “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Like, he still had another moment. Your once and for all is not realistic. You’re going to have other moments and other victories. So Jesus said, “Why, why have You forsaken me” on that cross, but then he still said, “Into your hands, I commit my spirit.” And the temple veil was torn from top to bottom, 30 feet. Every time Jesus’s painful emotions came out of his mouth and out of his body, power showed up not long after. And so what I’ve been teaching everywhere I’ve going this year, I’ve been teaching this, that we would have seen Jesus, if it was us, we would have seen that as having a breakdown. “I broke down crying.” “I broke down and asked God why.” “I broke down and got scared.” We would have called it a breakdown. But who would accuse Jesus of having a breakdown? I don’t think he was having a breakdown. Jesus was breaking through something. Every time it ended up being a breakthrough not a breakdown. And maybe you’re missing your breakthrough because you’re trying so hard not to break down. Baby, go ahead and be like Jesus. Go ahead and be like Jesus. Let the tears flow. Let the tears flow. Ask why. You can, Pastor Tony Evans said this. And it’s so powerful, “You could ask God a question without questioning God.” And I feel like that’s what Jesus did on the cross. He said, “Why have you forsaken me?”
Latasha Morrison 28:55
Dr. Anita Phillips 28:55
But still, he had time also to say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And he had time to commit his spirit into the hands of God. And power again. And so we have got to allow scripture to renew our minds about our hearts. We have to allow scripture to change the way we think about how we feel. Because we are not functioning the way we were created to function. Jesus was made in the likeness of men. He showed us how to live this human life and the way he dealt with emotion and relationships. We need to emulate him. But we try so hard to not be emotional. Now bringing that into this moment that we’re living in right now. And I think it was really just, I’m grateful to God that I had the opportunity to share that just this week because we need the message so badly. Buffalo barely had even not even begun to recover. I was still, had never posted about it. I just was carrying it. It felt too personal. You know, sometimes, like they say, we post certain things but your super personal life you keep private. It felt so personal to me. I couldn’t even say anything. And then, you know, other things were going on. The shooting in Laguna Hills, the shooting in Dallas, in Korean salons in Dallas, and all over this country. And then Uvalde happened. And people were saying after Uvalde, that night and yesterday morning. But people were asking, like, “Do I send my kids to school tomorrow? I don’t feel like I can send my kids to school.” And then other people were like, “Well, I can’t live in fear. You can’t live in fear. You got to do this.” And I thought to myself, why are we rushing this? And I posted: if you want to keep your kids home, and eat ice cream and pancakes and curl up on a sofa all day with them, do it. That’s a valid choice. If you choose to send them to school, fine. But please, what hurt me was the idea that people were sending kids to school, if the kids were scared, if they were nervous, if they were anxious, and they’re like, “Can’t live in fear. Go to school.” That’s not an emotionally healthy lesson. We are teaching our children from birth, we mostly have been taught from birth, to push through emotion, push past emotion, don’t listen, step over it. That’s not what Jesus did. That’s not what Jesus did. Why don’t I teach my child how we walk through this, because there’s power on the other side of walking through it. I have to be human, I am a human being. And being a Christian doesn’t make me superhuman. I still have all these feelings. And so we underestimate the power of our emotion. And the fact that when we’re together, our emotions and our bodies begin to heal when we’re in each other’s company, when we lean on each other, when we talk to each other. And so if a family decided to stay home the day after a school shooting, and be close to each other, the next day it might not feel as traumatic to the child to leave because they got filled up with what they needed. Instead of telling them, “No, force past your need, and go to school.” That’s not emotionally healthy. Now, I think that there’s a darker side to this. And I really just thought about this yesterday. Of course we hear of everybody’s ready to, the gun issue is up. And though those politicians who have long standing commitments to guns, availability, and their are reasons for that, I see that as another manifestation of our commitment to not feel. Because if we felt as a nation, if we really had the capacity to sit in painful emotions, there’s no way you could rush past this and start talking about the defense of AR-15s. And so it’s just as dangerous. This unwillingness to feel is dangerous on every level. If I engage it, I am supporting a cultural experience and perspective that also keeps AR-15s available to 18 year olds.
Latasha Morrison 33:28
Dr. Anita Phillips 33:29
I’m a part of it. Yeah, 18 year olds. I’m a part of it though. If I refuse my emotion, and if I teach my children to refuse theirs, I’m a part of a larger cultural conversation that allows for these massacres. We all have to live with that. Does that make sense? What I’m saying?
Latasha Morrison 33:48
Yes, it does. I mean, it makes so much sense.
Dr. Anita Phillips 33:51
It ain’t complicated. It’s hard, it’s hard.
Latasha Morrison 33:53
And what is that, it’s not that complicated. Because I’m thinking like, we know the frontal lobes are not, you know, evolved, are not developed. We know that. So that’s why we have an age limit with alcohol. I mean, you can’t even rent a car.
Dr. Anita Phillips 34:10
You can’t buy a beer. You can’t rent a car. But you can have an AR-15? Sis. Come on, this is not okay.
Latasha Morrison 34:19
And the fact that we won’t even listen. Like, the fact that we won’t listen to people when majority of Americans believe that, you know, at least some restriction, background check, some of that is warranted. I’m like, an 18 year old buying an AR-15. That is a killing machine. You know, it makes no sense.
Dr. Anita Phillips 34:42
It makes absolutely no sense.
Latasha Morrison 34:44
Dr. Anita Phillips 34:44
Right. It was created for no other purpose. It was created for no other purpose than kill a lot of people quickly. But, these are not, the problem is…and we have the same problem with talking about police violence, systemic racism, sexism, all of these things. Is that where how having debates and we’re trying to exchange statistics and information, but hearts.
Latasha Morrison 35:05
Yeah, hearts are hard.
Dr. Anita Phillips 35:06
Hearts are hard. Hearts are hardened. And all of our lives really are being fed by what’s happening in our hearts. That’s where the challenge is. And so if I am more emotionally moved by x than y, it doesn’t matter how much you argue about X or Y, where my heart is, my treasure and my heart in the same place. And so, what do we treasure? And this, again, back to Jesus, this is what breaks my heart for Christians in the body of Christ. The defense of what I am individually entitled to could not be more antithetical to the way of Jesus. Our religion was established by the ultimate act of self sacrifice.
Latasha Morrison 36:14
Dr. Anita Phillips 36:16
That is the crux of our faith. Our willingness to sacrifice for someone else. And Jesus died. Jesus allowed someone, allowed a group of people, to beat him to death in public, for us. Self sacrifice. And so, I think we have to be very careful. And I challenge myself always, am I willing to sacrifice this or this? I think we have to be very careful to look at how our lives are reflecting the life of Jesus. Yes, we have an individual right in this country to bear arms, although I don’t know that it is often in an organized militia, which is part of that constitutional statement. Where, I don’t, where’s the organized militia? Is it just a militia of one? I don’t see a whole lot of that. But okay, okay.
Latasha Morrison 37:13
I’m about to say in a minute what it is.
Dr. Anita Phillips 37:17
But I’m not willing to sacrifice, in some portion, some portion, of my individual right for the life of another person, but I’m a Christian. A religion established by the sacrifice of a person for all of our lives. There’s just, I’m sorry, but there’s no match. There’s no match. And so, yeah. Every argument.
Latasha Morrison 37:45
We can take this back to every argument. You know, for everything. Even just masks.
Dr. Anita Phillips 37:52
Again, self sacrifice. Even if you thought it was wrong. I said, “Well, fine. Consider me your weaker member. I’m wearing a mask. Consider me your weak member.” The Bible says, if meart offends my weaker brother, don’t eat. I’m weak. So help me out. Make me the weaker brother. Whatever it is. We are always required to lay something down for other people. And we are not.
Latasha Morrison 38:16
Dr. Anita Phillips 38:16
No matter what it is, we are always required to lay something down for other people. That is the crux of the Christian faith. And I don’t think the lay down that should be required is for children to lay down their lives so you can keep your individual rights.
Latasha Morrison 38:31
Say that again, say that again.
Dr. Anita Phillips 38:33
And at this point, the children are the martyrs in that fight. And we don’t even have to get into discussing the value of other lives and how different lives are not valued. You know, I just, I looked up, believe it or not, I almost, the closest I came to posting about Buffalo was going to be about guns, and not race. Because I always think about how Dr. King talked about until we can change hearts we have to legislate lives. Right?
Latasha Morrison 39:04
Dr. Anita Phillips 39:06
Until I can change your heart from wanting to kill me, I need to make it illegal for you to.
Latasha Morrison 39:09
I can’t keep you from hating me.
Dr. Anita Phillips 39:11
Right. Exactly. Yeah. I thought about that with Buffalo. I said I we’re we’re a long way on this fight for racial unity. But, man, I didn’t need that 18 year old to be able to buy an AR-15.
Latasha Morrison 39:25
Dr. Anita Phillips 39:27
And we saw the shooting in California. But that gentleman came in with two hand guns. If he had come in with an AR-15, more than one person would have likely died. And every life matters. And so, we are at the intersection of a number of difficult problems that come together, but we can solve some more quickly than others.
Latasha Morrison 39:47
Dr. Anita Phillips 39:47
And we need to. And I don’t appreciate, and then we’ll get where you’re going. But I just want to say this. I don’t, we’re not going to allow mental health to be the be the dumping ground for this. We’re not going to mental illness to be the landfill where you throw all of this. That is not going to be the case.
Latasha Morrison 40:02
And you’re not doing anything about mental health either.
Dr. Anita Phillips 40:03
And also not do anything about mental health. But here’s the facts. People who have a serious mental, what would be considered a serious mental illness, commit violence at a rate of I think about 2 to 3%, and when they do, it is not usually really related to the mental illness. It’s related to the same things that cause violence in the general population: growing up exposed to a lot of violence, drug addiction, being under the influence, radicalisation. The same things affect people with mental illness and not mental illness. Mental illness is not the chief cause by far of this type of violence. And so even if we background check every single person, and we limit anybody who’s ever been diagnosed with a mental illness from buying a gun, that will actually not solve this problem. It will criminalize a group of people who are not overall responsible for this problem. That’s not the issue. And so, I think that it is important. I think it matters, I think we have sometimes seen people who were clearly mentally ill commit crimes. I think that the subway shooter in New York from a few weeks ago may be a very good example of that, from the distance that I can judge who seemed to have a mental illness that was causing some distortion and detachment from reality. You know that’s been rare. But we’re seeing clear reality orientation in these shooters. And so I need us to roll back on that. If we are going to try and intervene from a mental health perspective, particularly with young people like this, the last couple of shooters, the Sandy Hook shooter, the Columbine shoot, the school shooters tend to be young. And many of the shooters on the city street corner, in the gang infested neighborhood are also young. And they are also young. And they are also traumatized from growing up in a violent space. And so we want to talk about mental health and mental illness. Let’s not just talk about it when, you know, certain people are ill. But if we’re going to use mental health as an avenue to prevent this type of thing, and I think we should…
Latasha Morrison 40:05
Yes, yes, yes.
Dr. Anita Phillips 40:20
…we need one to two to three to four mental health professionals in every school building. In every school building. And right now, I think that someone recently told me that, don’t quote me on this, but it’s something like maybe five mental health professionals, crisis counselors were available for the entire Buffalo New York school system of like, 35,000 kids or something crazy like that. We need a mental health professional in every school proportionate to the size of that school. I did hear them mention that this young man who killed these children and these teachers in Uvalde was a known loner, no friends, no relationships, no affiliates. So was there a licensed mental health professional trained in specialized work with teenagers in his school who saw him walking down the hall alone all the time? I’m gonna gamble some high money, that the answer is no. And so if we want to do this building another mental health hospital is not the answer.
Latasha Morrison 43:32
Or locking the doors, like keeping the kids in.
Dr. Anita Phillips 43:35
Latasha Morrison 43:35
Locking the doors because you think that’s gonna keep people out.
Dr. Anita Phillips 43:39
Latasha Morrison 43:40
Or arming teachers, but like you said, a solution is making sure there are counselors and therapists that can catch some of these situations.
Dr. Anita Phillips 43:50
Yes, yes. Every one of these young shooters often have a similar description of how they were doing socially and emotionally. And so I went to a very small high school, 86 kids in my graduating class, less than 400 kids in the high school building. All the guidance counselors knew all of us. And I think we need that. And so that means a large school needs 10, and a small school needs one. But we need to have mental health providers in school seeing. And that’s the budget that they’re cutting. And that’s what I’m saying, you guys are talking out your backs.
Latasha Morrison 44:24
But that’s the budget that they’re cutting. That’s the budget that they’re cutting in schools across.
Dr. Anita Phillips 44:29
Latasha Morrison 44:30
And there’s so many other potential Buffaloes and Uvaldes. There’s so many. I was just talking to my cousin who’s a nurse in Lumberton, North Carolina, and she was just saying that how there’s hardly any trauma therapists available except for online in that community. You know, so no telling about the school system. So you have a lot of underserved areas, rural areas that are dealing with this.
Dr. Anita Phillips 44:56
Latasha Morrison 44:56
And we’re seeing this. But then we want to blame it on mental illness, but still not pass any legislation policy or give money towards any of those issues. It’s a scapegoat. It’s a scapegoat.
Dr. Anita Phillips 45:07
Right. Because we don’t like to prevent. We like to respond but we don’t like to prevent. We don’t like to prevent.
Latasha Morrison 45:13
But let me tell you. I want to name it, because I’m telling you. feel like we have to name it. And, you know, as Brenda Salter McNeil says, “You got to call a thing a thing.” And sometimes people don’t want to call a thing a thing. But I’m gonna tell you, all of this, like, when we look at this, the crux of this, this even goes back to white supremacy.
Dr. Anita Phillips 45:37
Latasha Morrison 45:38
And we cannot separate this because I believe that white supremacy separates you from God. You know? They cannot exist together. So I really feel, it makes you ignorant, it makes you apathetic.
Dr. Anita Phillips 45:55
Latasha Morrison 45:56
You know, and so the very thing that you should be displaying as a Christian, is that of compassion, that of empathy, that of transformation, that of renewal, self sacrifice.
Dr. Anita Phillips 46:11
And self sacrifice.
Latasha Morrison 46:12
Dr. Anita Phillips 46:15
It’s going to cost you. It cost Jesus. And it’s going to cost us to make the transformations in the world. If we’re coming up with plans that don’t cost us, we don’t have a plan. Let me tell you this.
Latasha Morrison 46:30
Dr. Anita Phillips 46:30
I’ll use health insurance as a goal. I believe that we should have universal health care. I believe every single person, I think health care is a right. You mentioned when you read my bio, I did my postdoc in public health. I’m a health person. I believe everybody should have health care. Over the years, God has blessed me. I earn more now than I did when I was 21. And there were a turn when taxes got a little scary. (laughter) You’re like, “Wait a minute. Wait, I just thought I started making some money just now. And you’re just gonna take all the back? You’re just gonna take it back?” You know, it was a little stressful, that was a little stressful. And I realized, and I remember having this conversation with my husband and saying, “You know what, though, when it comes to universal health insurance, I am willing to pay for it.” It’s gonna raise my taxes, and I’m willing to pay for it. Because I believe it matters. It’s not just, “Oh, those people in Washington should make it happen.” I understand. It’s going to show up on my tax bill. And I accept that. Because how can I say I believe people should have it? How can I say that I don’t want an elderly person dying on a mattress in their house because they couldn’t get the medicine they needed? How can I say that and I’m not willing to pay for it? So I’m willing to pay for it. And I don’t complain about it. When it’s available, I will pay for it. Because I believe in it.
Latasha Morrison 47:50
Dr. Anita Phillips 47:51
We have to stop making plans that don’t involve sacrifice. And historically, in the racial fight, the sacrifice has always been on the people of color. But I need my white brothers and sisters to create plans that involve self sacrifice. And stop this, “I need everything to change without having any impact on me.” As a Christian, as a Christian, I’m not allowed to take that stance. So I think about Jemar Tisby, what he’s doing right now with this college. And he posted something so powerful yesterday or today, saying that they’re going harder against CRT than saving children.
Latasha Morrison 48:28
Yes. I mean, banning books, everything.
Dr. Anita Phillips 48:31
Right. And just banning it with no solution.
Latasha Morrison 48:33
I mean created legislation.
Dr. Anita Phillips 48:35
To ban it.
Latasha Morrison 48:36
And the last administration also created legislation to ban DEI in public like colleges, anybody that was seen receiving federal funds did that within a few months.
Dr. Anita Phillips 48:48
With no other solution. Here’s my thing. You don’t like the CRT? Okay, fine. First of all, explain why you don’t like it. You don’t like it? We don’t care for this perspective. But we are going to address racism this way. This is what we’re gonna do. But there’s not that. And that part is, that’s the challenge. Anybody who’s listening right now. If you are, if you are like, “Yes, they should have taken CRT out of that school.” First of all, I want you to check your body, where are you emotionally as you’re listening? Is your jaw tight? Are you clenching your hands? Is your stomach tight? What is your body telling me about how you feel emotionally? Because once that emotional defensiveness is up, you think you’re listening with your mind but you’re not. Those seeds are falling by the wayside and birds are taken them. Parable of the sower, Matthew 13. You’re not understanding with your heart. Jesus always said, “If they hear with their ears and understand with their hearts.” That was not just a saying. We have to be emotionally open to new understanding. And I will pour it out until the cows come home. If I am dealing with someone or some people who who are looking to hear me, people say, teach me, I will teach you all day. But I will not spend an hour trying to convince you. And there’s a difference between asking to be taught and asking to be convinced. And when we are in that convince me stance, all the questions become vain questions, and the Bible tells me not to entertain vain questions. Listen, you’re giving me a question with your mouth, but I’m listening for the heart. And so I’m gonna ask you, if this is challenging to you, and you’re listening, I want to ask you to name how you feel emotionally. Are you feeling defensive? Are you feeling attacked? Are you felt like I’m trying to make you feel guilty? And because all of those emotions stop us from hearing with our hearts. Lay it down. It’s fine. If you have studied CRT….
Latasha Morrison 51:02
Nobody knew what it was!
Dr. Anita Phillips 51:04
I was in grad school before I heard of CRT. This is not an elementary school topic.
Latasha Morrison 51:10
Dr. Anita Phillips 51:11
This is law school like level. Right? I was working on my PhD when I encountered CRT for the first time. This is high level academic conversation. But if you’ve studied it, and you find what your problem is with it, then state that clearly and then say, “But we are going to address the evils of racism, and this is how we’re going to do it. And this is the sacrifices that were willing to make to solve this problem.” If there’s no solution, and only shutting down and pushing away, and especially if the solution doesn’t involve sacrifice, then I have a problem with that. Because I believe my Bible says something about why worry about the fact that you suffered if you do something wrong. You’re not godly until you suffering for something good. So yeah, I’m not saying that it’s your fault. every white person have what happened in the past, but you have the opportunity to sacrifice something now. Yeah, that will reap a reward. And so I’m willing to sacrifice to see everybody have health insurance. And I think that maybe, I asked somebody this once who was a staunch, you know, all access gun supporter, if I knocked on your door right now, and I could tell you with assurance, that if you agreed that nobody could have an AR-15, just with an AR-15, that 10 children will live next month. Would you agree with me? If I could tell you that 100%? And he said, “Of course.” Well, we really can tell you that. 100%.
Latasha Morrison 52:44
And other countries can tell you that too.
Dr. Anita Phillips 52:47
I mean, 100%. I promise you that just that, just being able to get weapons out of the hands of civilians that can kill that many people that fast that we will save lives. And even one life should be worth it.
Latasha Morrison 53:08
Dr. Anita Phillips 53:10
But it will cost you something. And honestly, from my perspective it’s not a high cost. But I understand that from others perspective, it is a high cost. But I’m still asking you to say it, I’m asking you to sacrifice. Because it’s the way of Jesus. It’s costly.
Latasha Morrison 53:23
It’s not our fault, but it is all of our responsibility.
Dr. Anita Phillips 53:25
Latasha Morrison 53:28
You know? And it’s costly. And it’s a sacrificial living. And I just I don’t understand it. And I really think there’s like spiritual blindness where the fact that people will argue you down. And like you said, like, I’m not trying to convince any, I can’t convince people, like that’s heart transformation.
Dr. Anita Phillips 53:51
I don’t debate because it’s not a good use of gifts and my time. It’s not. It’s not. But, you know what, I hear you on spiritual blindness, but it is really emotional blindness.
Latasha Morrison 54:03
I get it. Yes.
Dr. Anita Phillips 54:05
It’s back to the heart. It’s back to the heart. Again, Matthew 13 parable of the sower. A sower goes out to sow. In any field that you have, any garden, any field, there’s gonna be different grades of soil in different parts of that one field. And some seeds fall by the wayside and the birds come them up. That wayside soil is hard, it doesn’t have the moisture to absorb the seed. It’s hard. And so we can’t do anything. Then we have the sandy soil. They received the Word, with joy it springs up. They get offended, that word offended, that’s a form of anger. And then we see the thorny ground. Thorns represent the cares and anxieties of this world, it’s a form of fear. So not only is Jesus telling us that the heart condition will impact what happens to the spirit that falls upon it. Because the seed is the seed of the Spirit, it’s the words of the kingdom. It’s a spiritual representation. And so our hearts are so valuable to God, cause that’s where he puts the seeds of the Word. That’s where he sows the Spirit. But Jesus differentiates between those soil types, using emotion words, joy, offense, anxieties, cares. He’s saying these emotions are not sins, but they will impact if you allow them to stay so long that they change the texture of your heart. That’s why Jesus always let his emotions flow through. Because when you hold that stuff, it changes the texture of your heart. That when the seed of the Word, a seed of truth, spiritual truth, is sown on it, your heart state will impact the trajectory of your spiritual life. Period. That’s what that is teaching us. And some people say, “No, no, that’s about sin, and who’s gonna go to heaven and hell.” It does not say that. Later in Matthew 13, there’s a parable about that, and Jesus is very clear about some are going to be cast out. And it’s a drag net story about the fish coming in. That’s very clear. Jesus says that. But he does not explicitly say that in Matthew 13 about this. There’s multiple layers to these parables. It’s not just one thing. And there is a lesson in this parable about the relationship between my heart and my spirit. Paul also goes on to say that, if we believe with God and confess with our mouths, and believe in our hearts, Lord Jesus, we receive him into our hearts. That word heart in that verse is “kardia” in the Greek. Kardia. It refers to the literal human heart, but it also is known to mean the seat of spiritual life. Your heart is the seat of your spiritual life, and your emotional state, a sustained state, will impact the trajectory of your spiritual life. It will impact what seeds take root and which words don’t. And if all of the seeds that are able to take root in your heart come from one perspective, you are not eating the whole word as we’re instructed, you’re not taking the whole word, you’re just taking the part that you like. But we’re not allowed to do that. I’ll give you an example. Death penalty. I don’t believe in the death penalty. I think that that is just as an important aspect of life being sacred as anything else.
Latasha Morrison 57:18
So good. Say it again. Say it again.
Dr. Anita Phillips 57:21
We have to be careful that we’re saying life is sacred, not innocence is sacred. Because very often, I have Christian brothers and sisters who are fighting for life, but actually are fighting for innocence. Because I value the innocent life more than the guilty life. But Jesus said we was all guilty, I’m pretty sure. Again, our faith says that we were all so guilty, stained with sin, deep within, stained with sin, that we needed a fountain of his blood to wash us, and that he took what we deserved. I’ve been hearing that all my life. But do you really believe you deserved what Jesus took? Do you really believe that? Were you really that guilty? Because if you really believe that you were so guilty of sin, that you needed Jesus to be murdered on your behalf, and he did that to save you from death, I don’t know that I have the right to kill anybody. Even guilty people. And I’m pretty sure that Jesus disrupted an execution. A woman accused of adultery about to be stoned to death, legally stoned based on Moses’s law. But Jesus said, “No, he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He didn’t say, “He who is without worse sin,” or “He whose sin is not as bad. You can stone them.” He said, “If you have any kind of sin, you can cast this stone.” Because sinfulness, our fallen nature, limits us too much. We are not holy enough to determine who dies. We can’t do it. And every time we do this, we are recommitting the original sin that we would have knowledge of good and evil like God. That’s what messed us up in the first place. And we’re still doing it. And we’re still worshiping our minds. And we’re still trying to be like God. And all he’s trying to do is get to your heart, and you are insisting that your mind. That’s why we love that scripture, “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus,” but then you don’t finish the verse, “Who thought it not robbery to make himself a human sacrifice.” Jesus only is recorded using the word mind once in all the gospels. And that was in the scripture where he says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And mind is always last on the list.
Latasha Morrison 59:59
Dr. Anita Phillips 59:59
In each of the three synoptic gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying that. Which means it’s one instance that he used the word mind. Jesus was heart, heart, heart, heart, heart, heart, heart. And so while we rush to the Pauline letters. And I love Paul, I believe we have some personality traits in common. Paul’s my dude, love him to death, wrote two thirds of the New Testament. But we run to scriptures that Paul has written about the mind, but that’s before we actually get the heart of Jesus. And I believe Paul said this in the word and he would say it now,. Did Paul die for you? Did Apollos die for you? Jesus died for you. Until you get Jesus’s heart you’re not ready for Paul’s mind work. I need you to get through the gospels before you get to the letters. We ain’t even lived the gospels yet. We ain’t lived the gospels yet. And so when it comes to that issue with the death penalty…
Latasha Morrison 1:00:53
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:00:55
…it’s not an easy belief for me to hold all the time, that we shouldn’t have the death penalty when I’ve read about the crimes they’ve committed. When I imagine if something happened to someone I loved, I would want them to die. Anita would say flip the switch. Anita would say they deserve that. But guess what? I am supposed to be crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live yet not me. But Christ who lives in me. So I’m not allowed to feel that way. And so I have to sit, when I have those moments, I sit in God’s presence. God continue to change my heart. Make me more like Jesus, because Jesus disrupted an execution. So even though I feel like it’s okay, in my humaneness, I’ll deal with that feeling. And ask God to heal my heart and make me more like Jesus. Because Jesus said, “No.”
Latasha Morrison 1:01:44
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:01:45
So even when I don’t necessarily as a human in my flesh immediately agree with it, I have to agree with Jesus. And so I stand against the death penalty, because I choose to agree with Jesus and not because sometimes I don’t feel like they deserve it. And that’s what I want to say, I’m not just slinging this out. I’m slugging this word out to. But because Jesus did it, I gotta do it. Even on a day I don’t feel like doing it. And so that’s a self sacrifice. That’s a self sacrifice.
Latasha Morrison 1:02:21
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:02:21
Even when I’m angry, even when I’m looking down, even when I’m thinking that person is inhuman, and they deserve to die. Jesus said that I did. The Bible says that I did, but Jesus did instead. And I can’t receive that kind of love without offering it back to someone else. And so we have got to get more in touch with where we are emotionally because that is the seat of, the heart is the seat of the Spirit. And so when that seed goes into the soil, does my heart have what that seed needs to thrive? Because you can plant a seed in the ground and that seed will never grow, because it has to be watered by the soil and held by the soil, has the root somewhere. And is my heart fertile ground for some things of God, but not fertile ground for this? It’s not fertile ground because my individual rights, my heart’s fertile for individual rights, but it’s not fertile for self sacrifice. Is my heart fertile for what it will cost to show the world what the body looks like? The health insurance thing is easy for me, the death penalty stuff not as much easy for me. But easy isn’t the issue. It’s not complicated. It’s just hard.
Latasha Morrison 1:03:43
Yeah. And that self sacrifice. Oh, my, Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy, y’all. I’m like, that is a full word right here. I mean, the only, I just feel like saying, “Hallelujah!” Cause oh, my God. That is a full word. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I mean, it’s like we need to reconnect. We need to reconnect.
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:04:13
We do, we do. To our hearts. What is happening in our hearts? What is happening in our hearts? What needs to be changed? What needs to be washed out? What needs to be watered? What needs to be healed? Because when the seed of the Word falls on my heart, I want it to take hold. I want to meet that. You know, I want to meet that. And that’s the challenge. And like I said earlier, it’s a cultural thread. Because we have people who can, because we’re so used to getting out of our emotions, skipping our emotions. Where if people really had to sit longer with what just happened yesterday.
Latasha Morrison 1:04:59
We don’t want to sit. We don’t want to lament.
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:05:00
I don’t see how we could. We don’t want to sit with our emotions. We want out. “I can’t live in fear.” We don’t want to lament. We don’t want to feel it. And we need to feel it. Because yeah, I am personally acquainted with a parent of a Sandy Hook child who died in Sandy Hook. And to listen to that parent talk. It’s changed me. And I, and I wasn’t struck, I think that we were all devastated by Sandy Hook. The fact that we’re here 10 years later with this eerie similarity, a decade later, is horrifying. But man listening to that parent talk has changed me even more. Like I thought I was hurt about it. But no, I’m really hurt about it.
Latasha Morrison 1:05:53
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:05:54
But to be willing to sit and listen. You know what I mean? We’re trying to move away too fast. And even in our talks about self care as mental health professionals, like, “Hey, it’s okay. Unplug. Do this, do this.” And it’s like, sometimes I do need to do that, because I am very overwhelmed. But sometimes we don’t need to unplug so fast.
Latasha Morrison 1:06:12
Sometimes it’s an excuse not to feel.
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:06:15
Not to feel that, because you know, that’s over there. And that’s an excuse not to feel that. But when we stop feeling we do stop acting. We’re always acting out of our emotions, no matter what we’re doing. Even our inaction is an action. It just depends on what’s happened to us emotionally. We are always feeling. All the time. 24/7. No matter how aware or unaware of that you are, you’re always feeling. And this is a biological reality. I don’t want to go too far off.
Latasha Morrison 1:06:42
No, this is good! Go ahead!
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:06:42
This is a biological reality. Our hearts, our biological hearts, are so powerful. On our own hearts, there are, people who know what a neuron is. A neuron is, people will say it’s a brain cell, but it’s actually a nervous system cell, your brain is part of your nervous system. And together, many neurons firing in sequence, and at once, create a thought. We have 40,000 neurons clustered together on our hearts, our biological heart has neurons on it. 40,000 of them. And the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain does to the heart. So it is a cycle, heart, brain, heart, brain, brain, heart, heart, brain, brain, heart, but it starts with the heart. And our heart sends more information to our brains than our brains send to our hearts. There’s even a chemical that our heart produces that our brain needs for cognitive function. That particular chemical is produced in the heart, and then sent to the brain. So when the Bible talks so much about the thoughts of the heart and the condition of the heart, we have to realize God knew what he was saying, when he made our bodies. And so if the Bible is constantly talking about the heart, it has to be true everywhere else. But it is a biological reality. Just in the last couple of decades, it’s become clear, and they call it the heart brain connection. But your heart actually responds to emotion. It changes its rhythms. Everybody knows that with emotion. But it sends more information to the brain than the brain gets. And so all of our thinking actually begins really in our hearts. And so the Bible is very literal there. If you want to look at it in Scripture, I’ll tell you go to King James. Now I say go to the King James Version because from there you can go look up the original Hebrew words, the original Greek words.
Latasha Morrison 1:06:43
She love that KJV!
Dr. Anita Phillips 1:08:42
I do, I do. And I tell you why I love it. I do, I do. Well, first of all I was raised on it. And I memorized my childhood scriptures in it. But the reason that I love it so much is that when I was a doctoral student, and God began to give me this revelation about mental health, that you all are just hearing now, but it was 2004 when God started pouring this stuff into me. I saw revelation in the garden, in plans, and God took me to Romans 1:20, “That which may be known of him is clearly seen, being understood by the thing that he made.” That Scripture floored me. You mean, I can learn things about God by looking at stuff he made? Like, are you serious? So I took that very seriously. And so I went to Genesis to start reading about what he made, Holy Spirit told me, just read the King James Version. Read your Bible.
Tandria Potts 1:09:42
Go to the donors table if you’d like to hear the unedited version of this podcast.
Thanks for listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast. To find out more about the Be the Bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community, go to BeTheBridge.com. Again, that’s BeTheBridge.com. If you enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded, and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the Senior Producer. And transcribed by Sarah Connatser. Please join us next time. This has been a Be the Bridge production.
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