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Author, Professor, and Public Theologian, Dr. Esau McCaulley helps the Be the Bridge community make sense of God in the context of a racialized society in this podcast episode. He shares part of his own family’s story and lived experience of systemic injustice. And he talks about how the church in America hasn’t reckoned with its sin. Latasha and Esau laugh together and share words of hope as they talk about the hope of Advent and work of God.

Join in the conversation on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn to let us know your thoughts on this episode! 

Host & Executive Producer – Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer – Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor, & Music – Travon Potts with Integrated Entertainment Studios
Assistant Producer & Transcriber – Sarah Connatser

Quotes:
“The impact of systemic racism is up close and personal with people that you know, and a lot of times we just don’t talk about it.” -Latasha Morrison

“I think there’s this fear that a deep confession is not something that the American church can survive.” -Esau McCaulley

“Repentance exists, because it presupposes sin. And if we can’t repent, then we can’t experience the fullness of redemption.” -Esau McCaulley

 

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Resources Mentioned:
Courageous Conversations
Reading While Black book by Esau McCaulley
Josey Johnson’s Hair and the Holy Spirit book by Esau McCaulley
How Far to the Promised Land book by Esau McCaulley
How the Faith that Arose from the Cotton Fields Challenges Me article by Esau McCaulley
The Fullness of Time series edited by Esau McCaulley
Be the Bridge Academy
Be the Bridge Youth

Connect with Esau McCaulley:
His Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Connect with Be the Bridge:
Our Website
Facebook
Instagram
Threads
Twitter

Connect with Latasha Morrison:
Facebook
Instagram
Threads
Twitter

Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization

Narrator
You are listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast with Latasha Morrison.

Latasha Morrison
[intro] How are you guys doing today? It’s exciting!

Narrator
Each week, Be the Bridge podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.

Latasha Morrison
[intro] …but I’m gonna do it in the spirit of love.

Narrator
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 that 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
Okay, I have to say this (singing) finally it has happened to me. (laughter) Okay, this has been a long time coming. Finally!

Esau McCaulley
I’m telling you, I’ve never danced on a podcast before like this. That was like, see.

Latasha Morrison
But on the Be the Bridge Podcast. That’s how we do it. Yes. Yeah. I’m so excited to have you on here. And listen, let me tell you guys, this is going to be a treat. I always tell you that this is a treat. We Have Mr. Bridge Builder himself that’s out here in the streets doing it. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
I mean, I’m thinking the one who has the organization is the bridge builder.

Latasha Morrison
Okay, okay. Okay. Well, I am so excited to have Reverend Doctor. I was like, I gotta say both of them, Reverend Dr. Mr. Esau McCaulley. And I’m going to introduce you guys to Dr. Esau McCaulley. And listen, we’ve seen each other in different circles. He’s met a lot of Be the Bridge people in different circles. And we were up at Courageous Conversations. And guess what de did? He came up and said, “Wait a minute. Why haven’t I been on the Be the Bridge Podcast?”

Esau McCaulley
I try not to be too thirsty. I try to let everybody live. I try to do my own thing. I don’t try to like, “Please put me on.” And I said I’m not gonna play it off. I’m like, “Latasha, I’ve been putting in work, Latasha.”

Latasha Morrison
Exactly! Lauren, is like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. We sent the invitation! Y’all guys ignored the invitation.” Nah. (laughter) He said, “My son heard you speak. You’ve met my son, my wife, everyone. But what about me?”

Esau McCaulley
I was in Bristol, Tennessee yesterday, or two days ago. And someone came up to me and said, “You know, I’m really excited to hear you speak. But what I really want to let you know, I’m a part of…” she does a Be the Bridge in her church. Like the amount of people who come to events that I do, who have first introduced racial reconciliation and justice stuff through Be the Bridge. I mean, you are in these streets. You are everywhere. I get more Latasha Morrison than I get anything else.

Latasha Morrison
Look at God move. And it’s just no matter where you are, like, I know a lot of our Be the Bridge impact we’re in over, you know, 50 states. And then also including like 13 countries. And so a lot of times it’s the on ramping for people, it is the introduction. And so we recommend, we have a list of books that we recommend. And so like those of you who are out there, you know, once we’ve like viewed a book, and we’re like, “Hey, this is helpful for our community.” We put it on our list. And so this is why you’re here because so much of what you written, we use it, your articles that you’re writing, we follow you, we stalking you, we doing all those things.

Esau McCaulley
Oh my goodness, look at this.

Latasha Morrison
But I got to tell the audience this funny story. So I spoke at a school that your son attends. And we were having this dialogue and they were asking questions. And so your son, I didn’t know it was your son at that time. He said, “Okay, what kind of books are you reading? What books are you reading, you know, that you would recommend to us?” And so, you know, you’re talking to a group of like middle school and high school students. So, you know, so I’m looking for like, you know, books that can you know, that they can understand. So, I said a few books. And he looks at me, he said, “Oh, well I’m reading,” look, I can’t even, he said, “Reading While Black.” And I was like, “Oh wow. Like that’s pretty serious.” I wasn’t thinking like middle school, high school. I said, “Really, you’re reading Reading While Black? So what made you, how did you hear about that book?” He said, “You know, I kind of had to because it’s my dad.” (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
He name dropped me. I can’t believe that.

Latasha Morrison
But listen. It was so cute. And I loved it. I was like, “That’s right. Rep your dad up in here.” He was like, “Give my dad his moment.”

Esau McCaulley
He mad because you didn’t recommend it. He wanted you to recommend it. He came up to you. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison
Yes, he was like, “Okay she ain’t going to recommend my dad’s book? So I’m just going to let everyone know. Reading While Black you need to get it, get a copy, you get your copy today.”

Esau McCaulley
I’ll tell you one story of my younger kid. So we’re at church one day. And she was coming out of the bathroom or something. She ran into someone. And she says, “You know my dad wrote a book.” And the guy goes, “Yeah, Reading While Black.” She goes, “No, not that one. Josey Johnson’s Hair and the Holy Spirit, the one about me.” (laughter) One of my children’s books, is the fictional account of a dad who takes his daughters to the beauty shop. She not thinking about Reading While Black, she said, “I ain’t in that book. I’m in Josey Johnson.” (laughter)

Latasha Morrison
“The only one that I recognize that he wrote is the one that I’m in.”

Esau McCaulley
We sometimes, when we will do like book signings, she will sit there and sign the book, too. She’s like, “I’m in the book, so I need to sign it.” So there’s about 10 people who walking the streets of America with a Josey Johnson Hair and the Holy Spirit book that is signed by me and my daughter. She talking about she need royalties.

Latasha Morrison
I love it. See, but you’re training them right. You are raising them right. (laughter) I love it. I’m so excited to have you here. And so for those of you who don’t know, now you know. Okay. Dr. Esau is Associate Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of many books, including Sharing in the Son’s Inheritance and the children’s book that he just mentioned Josey Johnson’s Hair. Is it Josey?

Esau McCaulley
Josey Yeah.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. Josey Johnson’s Hair and the Holy Spirit. His book Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope won numerous awards, including Christianity Today’s Book of the Year. His latest project is his memoir entitled How Far to the Promised Land: One Family’s Story of Hope and Survival in the American South. He is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. His writings have also appeared in places such as The Atlantic, Washington Post, Christianity Today. He is married to Mandy, a pediatrician and navy reservist. Together, they have four wonderful children, who we just talked about who have a whole personality that I think he needs to have them write a book. (laughter) I love it. And they probably can. Right?

Esau McCaulley
They’re gifted.

Latasha Morrison
I love the fact that in that way, especially when you’re dealing with teens, that was also your son’s way of saying, “Hey, my dad does something similar. I’m proud of him. I want you to know about him, just in case you don’t.”

Latasha Morrison
The crazy thing is he wasn’t saying any of that to me. If I had asked him had he read it. He’s like, “I don’t know. What book you wrote?”

Latasha Morrison
He’s like, “What? What are you talking about? What are you talking about?” Oh, my goodness, it’s been a busy season for you.

Esau McCaulley
Yes, it has.

Latasha Morrison
So what is going on? You just released this beautiful book. And I want to talk a little bit about that. I know we’re going to talk a lot about some Advent. We’re coming into Advent season, and we’re going to talk about that. But I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about How Far to the Promised Land. Because there was something you wrote about that I also just wrote about. And I think this is the thing where the light bulb goes off in people. You said that you were the first person, just like as myself, in your immediate family between your parents born with a full set of rights.

Esau McCaulley
Yeah.

Latasha Morrison
I want our audience to hear that. And if you don’t mind, you know, you can say your age, because I want them to, sometimes people, you know, we’re thinking these things are centuries ago, or decades ago, but the impact of systemic racism is up close and personal with people that you know, and a lot of times we just don’t talk about it. And so I I want to jump right in with that.

Esau McCaulley
Let me set the stage. And I’ll talk a little about that particular point because it’s a key element of the book. So my father died in 2017, in a single car accident. He’s the truck driver. And he was coming back from California. And he was heading back to the south. And when, when he passed, my family quickly turned to me and asked me to do eulogy.

Latasha Morrison
Okay.

Esau McCaulley
And that was a little bit complicated, because I didn’t know my father growing up, he had been in and out of our family. And anyone’s ever done a eulogy, you know, you have to sit down with the members of the family to find out about who they were. And if you’re a clergy person like me, you’re not just talking about their life, you’re trying to put their life in the wider context of what God is up to in the world. And so what began as, so I sat down with, like my, the people in, his siblings who were still alive, and began to ask about his childhood and his life, and to figure out who he was because we never had these conversations. And what began as a study of his life, expanded out into a study of the people who I didn’t know, because we weren’t connected, like my grandparents, and even my great grandparents. And it became an analysis to kind of Black life in the South over the course of generations, because some things that only seem to make sense, like in our lives take on a whole new meaning when we take it back a step. Cause there’s a reason this relates to systemic racism. And I’ll give you an example. My grandfather was a tenant farmer. Four years old, he started working on the tenant farm, he’s picking cotton. And he said that during the, every year they get to the end of the year, he’s working as a tenant farmer, his grandfather, who was caring for him, he would come to the end of the year, and the guy’s name was Reuben Miller, who would say, “You know what? You just broke even.” And so no matter what happened, he was economically exploiting, he wasn’t making any money. Now the work that he did, paid for the education and lifestyle of the kids of Reuben Miller, who had money, food, clothes, and as a matter of fact, they would pull them out of school, they would pull them out of school to harvest the crops. And so by the time my father gets to his freshman in high school, he’s like, 16, 17 years old, and he realizes I’m gonna be 20 years, 21 years old, by the time I graduate. So he has to leave school to begin to take care of his family, because he’s now a grown man. So why is my grandfather under educated? My grandfather is under educated because of Jim Crow, and because of the ways in which society economically exploited him. I remember asking him when we sat down and had a conversation, “What was it like when Brown vs. Board of Education passed?” We all know it’s this amazing event. And I remember when I used to read in my history books, they’d had that picture of the girl who’s sitting beside her mom, and it says, you know, “Segregation Ends.” And I just thought Black people got free. And I say, “Granddad, what was it like when Brown versus Board of Education passed? Did you celebrate? What did you do?” And he said, “We didn’t have a radio or newspaper, so I didn’t know.” And so there was no integration after Brown versus Board of Education. He had massive resistance. And my mom doesn’t go to integrated schools until the first grade. But then you have to imagine the story of what is it like to be a first grade girl in a school that doesn’t want you? He tells this story that her name’s Laurie. And there’s another white girl there in the classroom, whose named Laura. And the teacher tells her, “I don’t want to know the names of two different kids, you’re now gonna go by the white kid’s name.” And my mom went by a different name all the way up until she got her first Black teacher in like eighth or ninth grade. So the question is, what kind of education do you receive when your presence there is the cause of hostility? She tells her story of wanting to get into this honor society that is one of the keys to get into college. She has straight A’s. She has extracurricular activities. And no matter what happens, they consistently tell her because it’s an all white organization, “You’re not a fit.” So the question is, my grandfather was directly discriminated against legally, it prevented him from being educated; he was in a segregated school. My mom went to a functionally integrated school system that often didn’t want her around. And we all know the biggest predictor of the academic success of children is the academic attainment of their parents.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Esau McCaulley
So I then was disadvantaged by the government, in my mom’s case and my grandparents case. It’s when I say like I was the first person in my family who went to schools that from the beginning there was no legalized segregation and discrimination. That’s true. And I don’t want to go too far into this. But I’m born, and I go to the exact same school my mom goes to, but once the school is integrated, it’s red lined, and all the money leaves the community. So I enter into a school system that bears the economic stamp of white flight after integration. And so yes, I technically had a completely integrated school experience. But I was now economically disadvantaged. And this is the last part of that story, because I’ve been talking about my school forever. They tore the school down. They tore the school down about three or four years ago, and as a part of gentrification. And now what that all Black school was is a white neighborhood where the housing is expensive, and none of the Black people can afford to live there for the most part. And I went to the place where I used to play football, and where my old football field was, was a playground. And then the playground and there were no Black kids anywhere. And so you’ve seen the entire economic cycle – segregation, integration, economic kind of devastation, gentrification, rising taxes and cost, and then driving the Black people out all in the context of my particular neighborhood. And that’s some of the things I tried to explore in How Far to the Promised Land, like what is it like for a Black family over generations to try to make the way in America? Sorry that was wrong. But that’s.

Latasha Morrison
No, I love it. And this is the thing people need to have that understanding because one thing, we don’t learn about it in schools, and it gives people context for what we’re dealing with now, in our community, as we’re looking at the wealth gap, as we’re looking at so many different statistics. And then also, it allows people to see and understand generationally what has happened in their cities and in their states. And I mean, like, when you’re telling this story, I’m like, this could be my story. You know? This is my dad’s story. So many of us in the South have experienced that. And the legacy of that still lives on.

Esau McCaulley
Yeah, and I think a lot about…there are different types of books in the world. There’s certain types of books and Reading While Black has some of them where you make kind of arguments, sometimes based upon Bible, sometimes based upon statistical analysis. But what I really want to do is say, “Okay, these books exist. What happens when you tell the story of a family over the course of three generations?” Because what I’ve come to see is that if you’re poor, Black, and Southern, all of American history kind of drops in your lap. When you have money and resources you can kind of move away from it. You can say, “You know what? I don’t like poverty, so I can just move where there’s no homeless people. I don’t like violence, I can move where there’s no danger.” But if you’re poor and Jim Crow exists and you’re Black, then you’re subject to all of the racial discrimination that happens in America. And so you know, there’s parts of my family that goes North in the great migration, that said, “You know what, I can’t deal with this.” Because poverty removes all insulation, the weight of history is always sitting in our lap. So if you get most poor Black families, they can tell you about Jim Crow, cotton picking, segregation, integration, economic exploitation. They can talk about the war on drugs, all of these things happened to us, not just in history books. And I thought that by telling a story of a particular family, it might help people to see things in a way that something like a detailed argument might not be able to communicate.

Latasha Morrison
Right. Because we can’t deny stories, lived experiences. But some people still will. (laughter) They will.

Esau McCaulley
I try to ask this question. And maybe when you’re from Alabama, it becomes a little bit different. And you see it clearly. And I said, “Okay, in what year could you not run an explicitly racist campaign for political office in the state of Alabama?” You definitely could do it in the 60s. Probably many of the 70s. I mean, explicitly. And you may be getting into the 80s, before you have to at least pretend to kind of have justice. Well, you can ask this question, “In what year can a Black person anywhere in Alabama, any rural small town, feel comfortable going to vote?” And so those kinds of questions really begin to clarify what we’re talking about. I’m not saying that every single part of the country is exactly like rural Alabama. I’m saying that, like some of the places where we live, that the distribution of democracy is unequal.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Esau McCaulley
And are we comfortable with that? And so what I was trying to get at was saying, “Look at what’s happening to my family. And are we comfortable in a country that demands this kind of exceptionalism just to survive?” And then in the context of it as a Christian, I’m asking, “Well, where is God in the midst of all this?” How Far to the Promised Land isn’t just a book about like racism, but because I’m Black, and I’m Southern, I have to make sense of the question of God in the context of anti Black racism. In other words, some people might, you know, have intellectual questions about the goodness of God and some abstract concept and the problem of evil. I’m trying to make sense of God in the context of a particular evil. And coming to grips with whether or not the God who made the heavens and the earth cares about what’s happening to people in this country. And I concluded that he did. I concluded that the God who I encountered in the Bible, that’s one of the things that comes across in the book, actually cares about the stepped on peoples of the world. And so it is a book that deals with issues of race across generations. But it also deals with the people who are in my family, who are trying to make sense of God in that context. And a lot of Black Christianity is specifically trying to make sense of the goodness of God in a country in which people who claim belief in that same God don’t always treat us in the way that we deserve to be treated.

Latasha Morrison
Right, right. And that has a major generational impact on not just us as individuals, but as a community, as a collective. Because a lot of people are still wrestling with that same question. You know, where is God? So yeah, go ahead.

Esau McCaulley
I was gonna say that there’s different traditions that have kind of central animating themes. So if you look at kind of the Protestant tradition, broadly speaking, the Reformation is this big event where, you know, “How do I find a just God?” So justification, how we make sense of what it means to be right with God is an animated issue in Protestantism. Now, I don’t want to say that the Black church doesn’t care about justification, because it clearly does. But that’s actually not the animating issue of what happens in the Black church. The Black church in America is born in the context of legalized slavery, the most paradigmatic example of structural injustice that has ever been existed. Right? And that injustice is being perpetrated by Christians. So the first question that the Black Christians have to answer is, “How do I make sense of being a person of faith when I’m deeply disappointed with other people of faith?” So theodicy, the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, is a central theme in Black Christian spirituality. And that’s reason why it’s in our music. That’s the reason our music has a certain pathos. Because our singing is an attempt to make sense of that struggle. And in every generation, in every generation, one of the role of Black theologians and Black pastors and Black musicians, is to articulate goodness of God despite the wrong thing that people do. And so we’re always, in other words, like, we always wrestle with the same issue over and over again, it puts a unique spin on kind of Black Christian spirituality. It is always wrestling with the theodicy. But here’s the other thing, this is why Be the Bridge becomes important. It’s always what we might consider political. What I mean by that, we never had the luxury to simply think about matter spiritual, because slavery was a legal issue, not just a moral issue. And so we have to say, either God cares about the flourishing of Black people in America since that the laws need to change, or God is okay with it. And for the most part, the Black church concluded, yeah, God cares about the things that are happening to us. So the laws that exist in the country, visa vie slavery, need to change. And so there’s a combination of spirituality and advocacy. And this last thing that I’ll said about Be the Bridge. This why y’all are so important, why you’re so important. This is true, this is true. This is true. One of the miracles of what you see when the Black church is founded something like that AME, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, they are not inherently separatist. And what I mean by that is, you would think that Black denominations that are founded would want no kind of reconciliation. They would kind of go over to the side. But for example, AME’s founding motto is “God our Father, Christ our brother, humanity our family.” So they’re saying, “Oh, we can be a family. We can be a family. We can be reconciled. But the reconciliation must be rooted in justice.” So what Be the Bridge is doing is actually a part of one of the miracles of Black Christianity which actually shows the way in which the gospel impacted African peoples when they heard it. What the gospel did to them caused him to say two things: “One, I’m a child of God, made in the image of God, and I deserve dignity, respect and honor. And you can treat me anyway. But because the gospel opens up the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation, if you treat us right, we can have hope. We can be a family.” And so the Black church never completely gives up the possibility of inter, to be a part of the family of God, Blacks and whites. They don’t have the full multi ethnic, cause you in the south in the 1880s, the Black white binary. At the time, we can say we can be a multiracial society.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. And I mean, if you look at the start of a lot of the denominations, it was, you know, formed in the sense of, “Not because I, I dislike you, and we’re going to do our own,” like you were saying, “but it was because you are not allowing me to worship, but my desire is to worship and be in the family of God. But because I can’t, and I want to be respected and treated with dignity in the house of God, in the family of God, then you know, we’re gonna have to form, you know, the Missionary Baptists or the AME.”

Esau McCaulley
Nearly every Black denomination was formed, in part because mistreatment and persecution. And they said, “We’re forming because we want to be Christians, not because we want to be separate.” The only distinction is the Pentecostals, the Church of God in Christ, COGIC, it was actually the first denomination, the Black one was first. And what became the Assemblies of God actually leaves the Black denomination. In other words, most of the time, the Black churches left in the context of the Pentecostals, actually, the Pentecostal tradition was multiracial in its beginning, and then when segregation happened, the white church is left. An example of this is my own. In my own family. I talked about my grandfather, who was a pastor, he has this big role in my life, and he plays an important role in the book. But he is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination, but he’s a part of the Black one. The people who owned my great, my ancestors, were actually ministers in the white Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. So once we got free, we said, “Thank you for this, we’re gonna go do something else.” And so this idea that, and I don’t wanna go too far into this, but the ancestors who owned my grandfather on the Bone Plantation, he was a part of the Confederacy. And he supported the Civil War. And he was a Klansmen. And he was a minister.

Latasha Morrison
Say that again. I want you to repeat that, because this is how entangled when we’re looking at.

Esau McCaulley
Yeah, you can go and look him up. So this is all public record. I wrote a book called, it’s an article called How the Faith of the Cotton Fields Shaped Me.

Latasha Morrison
Yes.

Esau McCaulley
The man’s name was Matthew Bone, he was a famous Presbyterian pastor who’s actually remembered, you can Google his name, he’s remembered in the denomination as being this great preacher. He was also a member of the klan, he also supported the Confederacy. And the people who are called the Bones on my who owned my ancestors, there’s actually a record. This is crazy. There’s a written record of what happened to the Emancipation Proclamation come to the plantation where my ancestors lived, if you can find the documents. And there’s actually, the amazing part about all this is there’s two accounts of this. There’s an account that says, written by the enslaver, who says, “The Black slaves didn’t want to leave. And they like, did all of this stuff to stay.” But that’s an account by my family that says, “They didn’t stay, like we left.” And the records show that my great, great, great dad actually does leave, and he buys a plot of land. He becomes a tenant farmer, eventually, it gets stolen from him. But it’s from that man who left, right, who bought his own land, that the ministers from my family come from. In other words, we get free, we buy our own land, we worship God for ourselves. And we eventually join the Black version of the denomination. And so all of that is saying, my ancestors began to see the problem isn’t the God that is articulated. Right? “The problem is the way that y’all worship this guy, and what you think the implications of this faith are, are fundamentally different.” And so you have two people separated by 100 years, my grandfather and Matthew Bone, both of whom are famous preachers in the same area, in the same denomination, or same tradition, a Black one and the white one. And my grandfather is one who I think has a tremendous impact still in our city, because he preached a holistic gospel.

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Esau McCaulley
“The way that y’all worship this God and what you think the implications of this faith are, are fundamentally different. And so you have two people separated by 100 years, my grandfather and Matthew Bone, both of whom are famous preachers in the same area, in the same denomination or same tradition, a Black one, and the white one. And my grandfather is one who is the is the one who I think has a tremendous impact still in our city, because he preached the holistic gospel.

Latasha Morrison
The church, we have not reckoned with that. You know? Part is, you know, makes you like lament, you know that still here we are 2023 and there’s still this resistance and this coverup. Like, “Why do we have to keep,” you know, I know there’s even maybe somebody listening to this right now that’s like, “Why do we have to keep talking about this? Why do we have to keep bringing this up? Why can’t we just move forward? Why can’t we just move forward?” And I’m just, I want to take the time to say this.

Esau McCaulley
My grandfather’s still alive.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, your grandfather’s still alive. My grandfather just passed. This is recent history. And then I always think when people make those comments, if you’re tired of hearing about it, imagine what it is to live it. You know? How tired do you think we are of talking about it and living it? If you’re tired of hearing, the least you can do is listen. The least you can do is listen.

Esau McCaulley
One of the things that I think, it’s a failure of imagination. And sometimes what I mean by that is that we can assume that the glory of God is tied to American innocence. And what I mean by that is part of their faith, part of their faith and their security is what the church did wasn’t so bad, because if what the church did was really bad, then maybe God is less good. But one of the Black church’s gifts to the culture is to say, “No, the glory of God is found in the fact that despite the evil that people do, God was there in the midst of them.”

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Esau McCaulley
And that’s actually the more biblical message. Right? But if you look at the Old Testament, God is not glorified because everybody in the Bible got it right. God is glorified despite all of the knuckleheads that was running around in the Bible, God was going to accomplish His purposes. And so I think there’s this fear that a deep confession is not something that the American church can survive. And I want to say no, no, no, you can have a deep confession. You can completely own your brokenness, and say that despite the brokenness, God was at work. And you could do that without normalizing the brokenness or saying that things weren’t that bad. No, no, no. They were precisely as bad as we thought they were, but God was at work in them. And I say you know what it means is, America isn’t wonderful if Abraham Lincoln wasn’t as racist as we know that he was.

Latasha Morrison
Right.

Esau McCaulley
America is wonderful because Frederick Douglass was there. Frederick Douglass wasn’t perfect either. But we need to learn to tell the story of…

Latasha Morrison
Yes, the consciousness. Yeah.

Esau McCaulley
Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and you know, even William Lloyd Garrison, all these people who in a broken country that was doing these things saw the possibility of more. And if you can tell the story of, we have to tell the American story as light emerging from darkness. Not necessarily there was no darkness. And it’s almost like, I like to put it this way. And I know America isn’t Israel. So don’t think it’s an example of the chosen people, I’m making an analogy. If you look at what happens in the first part of the Bible before Jesus shows up, it’s a mess. Right? There aren’t these glorious perfect people who never make mistakes. But Jesus comes, and he is so glorious, it reconfigures the entire narrative. Right? He comes into these people, and he loves him, nonetheless. In an analogous way, Jesus can come and redeem our histories. And you know, what he could do on a personal level, you can start again, regardless of the messes you did, can happen nationally, so the church can start again, despite the fact that he’s done a bunch of different things. And so I just want to say like, repentance exists, because it presupposes sin. And if we can’t repent, then we can’t experience the fullness of redemption and so that’s we just got to learn how to, like, say, “You know what, I messed up, the church messed up. And that’s okay, because we can we can do better and be more.”

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, I mean, I don’t want us to miss miss that, what you just said, you know, about repentance. I want you to repeat that, you know.

Esau McCaulley
I don’t even know what I said. (laughter) I think it’s like, there’s this, you know, I got kids, right? I got kids. And it doesn’t matter how old the kid is, but the moment they get consciousness of what they do, they can be completely caught. Like I catch them, and they do not want to admit it. Because no matter how many times I told them, “I’m going to love you once you confess.” There’s a part of them that says, “I can’t admit that I went and ate four candy bars, even though you told me not to eat them.” Right? They just say like, “There’s no way dad could forgive this.” Now, like, I will tell them, this is what we do in our families. “Listen, we’re in the zone of forgiveness right now. You can just confess whatever it is you did, and like candy, and there’s no punishment. All you got to do is like let yourself just say it, just say it.” And it’s so hard for them to admit it. And then when they admitted they kind of say, “I was afraid.” I said, “But you knew I was gonna forgive you. Right? You knew it.” And then they gave me the hug and we cried, and it’s great. And I think that sometimes the church can hold on to it’s sin and it doesn’t want to let it go. Because it believes that either God won’t forgive them or maybe that Black people won’t forgive them. Or something horrible is gonna happen if we fully acknowledge it. But what I’m saying is, it feels so good after you’ve done it. Because the weight.

Latasha Morrison
It’s liberating.

Esau McCaulley
And I want to say that like there’s parts of the church that are carrying a weight, and they’re lying about it. And that’s the reason why they get mad. Right? The reason, you know when you get caught, and one of the ways you deflect it by anger.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. Yup. And rage.

Esau McCaulley
Because, you know, like you get offended. And so like the sheer anger that’s attached to this issue that says, let me forget about the past is to me, I think short sighted because it’s getting in the way of healing. There’s this, I talked about this article, this letter so much because it captured my imagination. James Pennington. I talk about it all the time. I just can’t imagine he did it. I can’t imagine he did. He finds out that his slave masters about to die, the guy who had enslaved and he had escaped. And he sends a letter to him. He says, “Hey, man, I heard that you’re sick, you’re about to die, about to die.” And he says, because the guy still had slaves, he said, “Man what I want you to do is free the slaves that you have. Because I don’t want you to go before your Maker with that kind of scent on you.” Now, what makes it so amazing is James Pennington said, “I forgive you, bro. But what I want is I want you to be free. Like help me help you.” And so this, we don’t, I wish we got the letter back what he said. But the basic principle though is like as a Christian I care about you too much to allow you to remain in something that’s going to, but he said, “I don’t want you to go before the Maker of heaven and earth with shackled Black bodies on your spiritual register.” And I’m like, listen, that’s way more Christian than me. I don’t know if I could have written. You know, like, I’m mad at folks who didn’t do anything like that. People will text back to this day, I’m like, “Hey, man, I’m busy, I’ll talk to you later.” But he’s like, “I want better for you.” And I think that’s the thing that is so glorious about the call for reconciliation. At it’s best it’s not rooted in malice. It’s rooted in the possibility of what the church can be on the other side. We never gonna talk about advent, but that’s okay. You got to invite me back. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison
It’s so rooted in hope. And you know, and as we segue into that, it’s like, there’s this hope attached to reconciliation, where the reason why you’re writing is because you want people to know and to understand. You want to create a pathway for repentance. You want to create an understanding for people to kind of turn away from, and to turn back to God. You know? And it’s like that, it’s like, you know, understanding even as I get older, like how repentance is such a gift, because we see, like, it’s the very thing that you were expressing is why I do what I do, is because I love the church. Because I love God’s people that I want to see them live into a different way. You know? And so that is, you know, that you just really articulated that well.

Esau McCaulley
So, the book is called How Far to the Promised Land, but there’s this passage that’s underlying it, that’s gonna get to what you’re talking about. It actually comes from the book of Micah chapter four. And in the book of Micah, there’s this passage that one day God is going to call the people back from from exile. And it says, “Nation will not take a board this nation anymore.” And it says, In the King James said, “They will study war no more, they will learn war no more. And everyone will sit under their vine and fig tree. And there’ll be no one to make them afraid.” And the idea is that one day, God’s going to end all of the conflict between the nations. And they’re going to find a home. Everybody is going to be safe. No more violence, no more battle. And so I couldn’t call the book Vine and Fig Tree, I had to call it How Far to the Promised Land. Because How Far to the Promised Land depicts this idea that what actually Black people want in America is a place to feel safe.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah.

Esau McCaulley
Where there’s no more violence, no more danger, no more fear, where we have access to whatever our gifts and talent are able to acquire for us. But the reality is that that will always feel so far away. No matter how far we come, we’re always asking that question, “Well, how much further is it to the Promised Land? When are we going to arrive there?” And so by, but what I’m saying is, as I envision that that arrival isn’t at the expense of everyone, it comes to the end of war and conflict, through reconciliation. And so I do think that at the heart, there’s only one word, well, there’s two words Black and hope. But one of the key words that’s in Reading While Black and How Far to the Promised Land is the language of hope. What is it that guides us as the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day is this hope that the God who created the universe is the one who will lead us where we need to be. And then we might get there, not at the expense of our brothers and sisters, but with our brothers and sisters, from every tribe, tongue and nation. And that’s like a hope that’s not always easy to come by. Because sometimes the evidence will point in a different direction.

Latasha Morrison
Mm hmm. Wow. When you were just talking about that scripture in Micah, and you said study war no more. And when you were just talking about that the first thing that came to mind was just, do you remember the old song and it was like down by the riverside? And a part of the line in there. “I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside, study war no more. I ain’t gonna study war no more.” And it says, “I’m going to talk with the Prince of Peace. I ain’t gonna study war no more down by the riverside.” I’m telling you, our people were prophetic. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Man, I could talk to you forever. We got to have you back. Like we could sit here and talk forever. We gotta get you in our Academy in some kind of way. But you also you know, as we talk about Advent, you know, as we are, you know, entering in this season. As we’re talking now and when this podcast would come out, you know, what is, you know, describe to people…because I know, there’s a lot of church traditions, especially like in the African American church tradition. I didn’t really hear about Advent until I was more so worshipping and serving in predominately white churches. And why do you think that is and then tell everyone a little bit about what this Advent season is and why it’s important.

Esau McCaulley
I will try to be brief. A lot of, for variety of reasons, one of which be the polity of Black churches. A lot of Black churches are Baptistic and Pentecostal, precisely because Baptistic polities were independent. And so the white churches couldn’t control them. One of the characteristics of Baptist traditions is that they don’t follow a liturgical calendar. So what I say to people is you kind of do, you just don’t know it. So Christmas and Easter are non controversial. And so those are the remnants of a wider church calendar. And the only idea that turns calendar is we walk through key events of the life of Jesus over and over again to be formed into the life of Christ. So by repeating in remembrance, like we never say, “You know what, I’m tired of celebrating the resurrection.” No we celebrate it, it’s a key event. Right? No one says, “I’m tired of Christmas.” We celebrate Christmas. Well, historically, the church prepared for Christmas, by the season of Advent. And Advent has meant two things. Right? First of all, it’s meant to talk about the hope that the Jewish people had for the Messiah. So it’s looking forward to the coming of Jesus. So during the normal Advent season, you read a lot of the prophecies, you know, from Isaiah, and look for the coming of this king. And so the first part of Advent is to say, “I don’t just celebrate something, I get ready for it.” So you can imagine like, at least for me, if you are, if it’s your birthday, or if it’s an anniversary, normally you plan it. Right? “I’m gonna go out with my friends, I’m gonna get my hair up. I’m fixing to get a new fit, I’m gonna get some new shoes.” I’m going to plan and prepare for so I get the full enjoyment. You don’t want somebody who just pull up. And, you know, they went and got you some roses from the gas station, and say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Like no, “I need you to think about this.” Right? And so historically the church said, we’re not just going to celebrate Jesus’s birth, we’re going to prepare to celebrate it. So Advent is a season of spiritual preparation, where you reflect on, what does it mean to prepare to celebrate Christmas. And then Christmas has a season itself where you don’t just celebrate it on the day, you celebrate Christmas for 12 days. You know, we talk about birthday week. We have like twelve days to celebrate Jesus’s birth. But the other thing that’s related to Advent, though, is it kind of has a second element. The first elements say, I need to prepare my heart to fully take in the meaning of the Incarnation. But we also know that Jesus is coming again. There’s going to be a second advent. Advent just means to arrive. And so there’s gonna be a second arrival, Jesus is going to come back. And the question is, well, how do I prepare my heart and live my life in such a way that I’m aware of Jesus’s eventual return? Because over time, that idea that Jesus is going to come back slides from the Christian imagination. Now, Paul says something that I just don’t know that I’ve ever really thought in my life, maybe I ain’t that saved yet, just give me some time. Remember this part that’s in Philippians. And Paul says, “I really want a desire to depart and be with Jesus. But my desire is to be with you so I’m going to stay.” Listen, I love the Lord. I love the Lord. I love him. I want to stay. I ain’t ready to die. If would be dishonest of me to say I want to die today. And so it’s just true. I don’t know. I mean, there are people who are suffering. But most people don’t say, “Man, I want to die and go and be with Jesus. But I gotta stay here to do ministry.” I don’t know. I like it. I like my kids. I like my job. And so but Paul literally say, “I want to go abd be with Jesus so bad.” And so what would it actually mean, and not only do I not want to die, this is gonna sound bad. I’m not sure I want Jesus to come back tomorrow. Sometimes they start acting really crazy, you know what maybe you need to come back and fix this right? But what is it, sometimes like, “Okay, this week you need to come back. But wait, wait, till after I get my vacation in. Let me go to Santa Monica.” 

Latasha Morrison
(laughter) I never understood it until, how people say you understand it better by and by. It’s like when people say, “Come Jesus, Come Holy Spirit,” like, “Jesus come, come get us now.” You like, why people want to die?

Esau McCaulley
And so Advent, the second part of Advent forces you to ask this question. Do I really want Jesus to come and reign? And if not what’s going on in my heart? And what do I implicitly believe about life? In other words, even though we want to be with Jesus, we can’t actually imagine the glory of the life to come, so much so that we fear it. And so how do I then began to think about saying, I actually want Jesus to come back. I want Jesus to come back and establish His Kingdom, where they will study war no more. And so those two realities then is what you learn about as a Christian during Advent. On one hand, I’m preparing my heart to say, what does it mean to believe the world was changed by the advent of God? What does it mean to say that we live in a different world because God became a baby. You don’t just wake up on the 24th and say, “Hallelujah, you know, thank you for becoming a baby.” You think about it. And in the same way, you say, what does it mean, to really desire Jesus’s kingdom to come? If I really believed his kingdom was going to come, how would I live right now? If I really believed in His coming Kingdom. And there’s going to be a second advent. What would I say about justice, reconciliation, hope, love, faith. Do I actually live in such a way that says, I’m a citizen of a company kingdom? And so those are the two tensions, getting ready for baby Jesus and getting ready for King Jesus are the central themes of Advent.

Latasha Morrison
I said sweet baby brown Jesus. (laughter) But just you know, and just for those of you who are listening, if it’s not a part of your faith tradition, anybody as a Christian, you know, we can celebrate Advent. We can prepare. And it starts the typically the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and it lasts for about four weeks. So what did you say?

Esau McCaulley
It’s four weeks before Christmas. One of the things I say to people is, I like to make this argument. Because I know that some people don’t, they get afraid. What I say to you is that every church has a liturgy, a calendar. And so your church every year probably does a fall kickoff. And that’s rooted in the school system, not the Bible. Right? Or, you say you have pastor’s anniversary, which is fine, right? Would you say we celebrate the pastor, Mother’s Day? In other words, if we’re not careful, there will be another calendar that tells us what we should focus on. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, what, over time, Christiandom said, “You know what, there’s certain events in the life of Jesus, that are so important for you to prepare for them. Yeah. So there’s a season of preparation before Christmas. That’s Advent. There’s a season of preparation for Easter, which is called Lent. We Don’t just celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. We say, You know what, let’s get ready. And here’s the other thing in between those two and you’ll like this one. I know you won’t event me for it, but it’s okay. I’m gonna give you the whole thing. It’s Advent, Christmas, and then Epiphany. You know what Epiphany celebrates? Jesus is the light of the nations. Right? So like you get King Jesus, you get baby Jesus, you get racial reconciliation and justice come into the world. You get repentance and reparation. You get the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection. What’s wrong with that? How that gonna mess you up? Who’s hurt from celebrating those things? It’s like, don’t be afraid to accept the wisdom of the past, and say, maybe Christians who lived before us had a couple of good ideas.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, yeah. I love it. And I think you have a series that helps people walk through this. It’s called the Fullness of Time series. And so he knows what he’s talking about, because he done wrote about this too. Okay. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
I had friends of mine. They’re really short books that go with every season of the year. So a friend of mine named Tish Harrison Warren, she wrote about Advent. Another friend of mine named Emily McGowin wrote about Christmas. I wrote about Lent. Fleming Rutledge wrote about Epiphany. And so like, there’s short 100 page books that help people make sense of the year. So if you want one of those, you can go on Google’s Fullness of Time book series, and you’ll see it.

Latasha Morrison
Put it on the Christmas list. You know, like, you know, these are some great memories to make with your children. And it makes it not about one day, but it makes it more of a lived experience that we’re having with Jesus. And I think this is something that I recent years started to, you know, make a part of my life. And I think my life is fuller because of it. And you know, it’s just much better.

Esau McCaulley
I think that sometimes we start complaining about, “Oh, the Christmas season has been lost because of this, that and the other.” And that’s true. What you’re seeing is, the marketers are determining what’s happening. So who says you start celebrating Christmas after after Halloween? It ain’t the folks excited about Jesus.

Latasha Morrison
Mariah Carey said it. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
Who in charge? Mariah Carey or you? You can do Advent. (laughter) Now, I’m going to listen to Mariah now. I’m going to listen to all the Christmas songs. But I can, at least in my heart, say, I’m listening to Christmas music and do Advent.

Latasha Morrison
Like, I’m like, first of all, I’m a Christian, I can celebrate Jesus 365 days of the year. I listen to Christmas music and movies and all the things all year long when I want to. You know what I’m saying?

Esau McCaulley
I’m getting a Christmas tree tomorrow, what you talking about? (laughter)

Latasha Morrison
I’m gonna put mine up this weekend. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
After Halloween to Black History Month is all Christmas.

Latasha Morrison
Exactly. It’s all Christmas, just keep it up. All you got to do is change your ornaments in February. You know, you can put some some Black history ornaments on there. (laughter) We need to come up with a whole marketing around it. Listen, listen, one of things you wrote about, and I think when we think about what we write about, you know, Reading While Black, How Far to the Promised Land, and just all the different things, the articles and things that you’ve written, in your truth telling that you do you wrote an article recently, you shared Why am I still a Christian? And I don’t know all of your story. But I know, you know, I can only imagine your story, as a Black man also in the Anglican Church, in academia, like, you know, from Alabama, now living in Illinois. Like I can, like most of us can kind of guess some of your experiences. But you know, our experiences are not monolithic. And so, you wrote and you shared about why am I still a Christian? Can you talk about why this is important to you to write, as a lot of people are struggling right now with church and Christianity. Like, you know, my god daughter was telling me, she’s 23, and, you know, just the people in her small group, just what they’re seeing play out in the church and into the world, you know, that question that a lot of African American Christians are asking and those that are seeking, you know, is Christianity a white man’s religion? You know, why are you still a Christian with all of this? How can we still say that God is good?

Esau McCaulley
So one of the things that I talked about is that anyone who does racial reconciliation work knows that a lot of the leading Black intellectuals who talk about race and justice end up becoming agnostic or atheist. Not all of them, but a lot of them, and some of my favorite writers had serious problems with Christianity. And it can lead to this idea that intellectual progress means a journey away from faith. And I found myself as an adult who’s writing in public about race, realizing like, oh, a lot of people get to this point and make a different decision. And why did I stay a Christian? I had to ask myself that question. There’s a lot of answers I could have given. But what I talked about in that article was, at first we tend to think about Christianity only being useful in so much as you know, the people become these amazing kind of abolitionist kind of people who who fought for the for justice. But I said, you know, one of the things that’s really important is to look at the testimony of the people who themselves were enslaved. People who lived during the Civil Rights Movement. And their testimony on the whole says, we were able to survive and live lives of dignity because God was with us. And that Christianity isn’t viable just because of the spectacular, but it’s because the ordinary glory that arises in the lives of people. And it’s out of that ordinariness that massive movements of racial reconciliation and justice happen. In other words, I’m not a Christian, because Martin Luther King existed. I’m a Christian because all the people who marched with him. Ordinary men and women, who loved their children, who were good workers, who were good colleagues, who were deacons and mothers in the church, and that ability to sustain a people is a testimony to challenge me. And so that I wanted to say something like, in the fullness of time, that dignity give rise to mass movements. It happened in abolitionism. It happens during the Civil Rights Movement. But in between that, it created a million beautiful lives dedicated to the glory of God. And in the end, I decided that I didn’t simply need something that a tool that I was going to use to critique others. In other words, I didn’t simply need a way of saying other people did me wrong. I could figure that out myself. I needed something that was going to inspire me to be my best self as well. So Christianity wasn’t less than a social revolution, I think that it was. But it was more than that. It was both a social and a personal revolution. And the combination of that, that Jesus both critiques me and the world, because both of us hope is what allows me to remain a Christian.

Latasha Morrison
Mm hmm. What you know, what has given you, there’s so much heaviness in the world, there’s a lot of heartache. There’s so much that we can focus on that would kind of take, if we put our focus in that, it can take the joy out of it out of the celebration. But we understand where joy comes from and where this hope comes from. What is giving you hope as we are entered into this Christmas season?

Esau McCaulley
I think that what gives me hope are ordinary people. In other words, we can see these big, massive platform people who are doing all kinds of things in the name of God that ain’t godly. But I walk into church every Sunday. And the same women and men who, there’s the guys who stand out in the cold in Chicago that help us park our cars, here at Progressive Baptist Churches that’s outside of Chicago. They’re the women who, the ushers who greet and hug my daughter every single Sunday. It’s people who volunteer for Sunday School. In other words, sometimes the large evil that we see can drown out the small good. I was in Bristol, Tennessee, like I told you, it’s not a huge town, but 50,000 people, in Tennessee, and you’ve never been there, you never met this woman that I met there. And she told me how much she was inspired by her work. So she’s over there by herself, not by herself, she’s over in the community you’ve never been to, no fanfare and no internet, like, she’s not all over Twitter. She just doing faithful work. And every single time I go to a city, I run into people who are doing that work. And so what I want to say is, God is not hindered by the sinfulness of people. Right? He at work. And when I’m most hopeful, is when I can see that. And I know, listen, Martin Luther King’s my hero. But like, Martin Luther King wasn’t the only person who changed my life. It was the deacons and the mothers of the church that I attended every week. They used to come to my football games, they didn’t know me, like I wasn’t they kid. And I took it for granted. What does it mean to love a young Black boy so much that you know that his dad is not going to be at the game so you go and you cheer for him? And so I want to say is, I know people say all the, sorry, this is my last point. Most of these pastors ain’t rich. Right? I know you can see the pastors you see on television, but I know broke pastors who do it because they love God. And so I don’t ignore the brokenness of the church, but I also see its ordinary glory. And that’s what gives me hope.

Latasha Morrison
Man, that’s, and we need that hope. Not just into the Christmas season, but into as we look to 2024 as we can engage in the goodness of God. I know it’s just like, it’s so much. But when you talk about the goodness of God and that’s the things where it’s the little people doing the big work that sometimes don’t have the megaphones. You know? They’re out there. They’re in the trenches. And God is at work. God is moving. And that is the thing, where sometimes it seems like the loudest voices are the majority voices, but.

Esau McCaulley
So I’ll put this, can I say, I’m talking about you, Latasha.

Latasha Morrison
Okay. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
Everybody, everybody, like now probably wants to be your friend, they probably want to help you, or this and that and the other. But there was a time before you became Latasha Morrison, when it didn’t benefit those people in your church who helped you. And they loved you anyway. And because the people who we never met loved you well, your ministry exists. So not saying that what you’re doing isn’t important individually, but you’re the product of people who they can’t see. And so, as long as there’s somebody loving the future Latasha Morrison before I get a chance to meet her, then there’s hope in the world. And that’s what I mean when I say these people matter, not just because of what they do individually, because you never know who’s sitting in your Sunday school.

Latasha Morrison
Right.

Esau McCaulley
Somebody taught you. And look at you. You in 13 countries.

Narrator
(laughter) Right, right. Right. Right.

Esau McCaulley
Somebody poured into you at some point. Nobody else knows but you. You probably thinking about them right now. Who was it?

Latasha Morrison
So many people that came up. And I was just thinking about one, just someone, and I’m gonna say it on here, you know, I was just thinking about her. Because I was looking at her video came up in my Instagram stream, and she was, her name is Bishop Rosie O’Neil. And she’s in North Carolina, Greenville. I became a Christian in college. And that was where the Lord kinda planted us and develop us. And she was just an excellent Bible teacher. And she’s a female. Like, you know.

Esau McCaulley
How big was the church?

Latasha Morrison
The church was, it was really just, at that time I think they weren’t like, they may have been maybe 10 years older than I was. So the church was probably maybe 100 people.

Esau McCaulley
So a 100 person church gave birth to a ministry that serves hundreds of 1000s of people.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah. And she’s still there.

Esau McCaulley
So you New York Times bestseller, 13 countries, 50 states, from Greenville, North Carolina. South Carolina or North Carolina. Which one of the Carolinas it was? That’s what I’m saying.

Latasha Morrison
Greenville, North Carolina. Home of the Fighting Pirates. ECU. Purple and gold. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
I got you hyped up. I like this. That’s what I’m talking about it. That’s what gives me hope. Those kinds of stories give me hope. So, people doing good that’s gonna bear fruit they can’t see.

Latasha Morrison
Yeah, yeah, I am so grateful for you. I’m so grateful for your voice, just all the work that you’re doing. Like, I love to have people here so we can lift up, you know, their voice or just expose it to our community. And so I am so thankful for you. I think voices like you, pastors like you, they give us hope. You know, seeing you out here.

Esau McCaulley
Any time. Invite me back anytime you want. I’ll pull up. Just let me know.

Latasha Morrison
We got a whole plan for your life. Nah I’m just joking. (laughter) We really got to get you into the Academy. That is another tool that we’re using to help equip people in the way of the Lord. So it’s not just in this work of reconciliation, because this work of reconciliation is the way of the Lord. It is spiritual formation. It is discipleship. And so we want to make sure that, you know, that your voice is in there. So we’ll definitely be talking with you more. This has been good. Like we could have had two hours, you know, but I know you’ve got another interview that you gotta get to. Because he is, listen, the reverend doctor is busy in the streets. (laughter)

Esau McCaulley
Thank you. Thank you this. This is a great time. And I look forward to talking to you again. I’ll tell my son you said hello.

Latasha Morrison
Okay, you make sure and then the next time maybe we can do something and have him on here too. He’s a part of, at his school he was a part of Be the Bridge Youth and so, you know, we’re in some of the schools. So I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for your time.

Narrator
Thanks for listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast. To find out more 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’ve 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.