Be the Bridge Ministry

Host & Executive Producer – Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer – Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor & Music By – Travon Potts
Transcriber – Sarah Connatser

Links:

Be the Bridge Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/777770605611397

Be the Bridge Ministry Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BTBMinistry

Be the Bridge resources: www.BetheBridge.com

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LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE

Podcast link: https://podlink.to/BeTheBridge Social handles/links: Instagram: @LatashaMorrison  Twitter: @LatashaMorrison

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LatashaMMorrison/  Official Hashtag: #bethebridge





The full episode transcript is below.

Narrator  0:01  

You are listening to the Be the Bridge podcast with Latasha Morrison.

Latasha Morrison  0:06  

[Intro] How are you guys doing today? This is exciting!

Narrator  0:09  

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

Latasha Morrison  0:17  

[Intro] …but I’m going to do it in the spirit of love.

Narrator  0:19  

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  0:54  

Well, hello Be the Bridge family! I am here with some of my favorite people and some new favorite people, you know, everybody’s my favorite people. I know you feel really special when I say that. But, I am here with Brian, Mariah, and Annie. And we’re gonna talk about a new group that we started with Be the Bridge last year, which is for ministry leaders. So this is for people who are leading in ministry and doing bridge building work or either leading Be the Bridge groups. So we started this group, and we thought it would have, you know, maybe 50 people in it. We were like, you know, we just need to have a place where pastors and leaders from the church can go and just really ask questions and really dig a little deeper. And so we were thinking maybe, like, 50 people. So Mariah actually took on this task. And actually, a lot of it was Mariah’s idea. You know how at first when someone thinks of something, you’re like, “Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea.” And you’d like claim that idea. But I’m not like that. So this was like Mariah’s idea. I dreamed about it, but I never started it. And so we tell people when they have an idea, you know, we’re like, “Oh, yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Are you gonna do it?” (laughter) But some people like for you, they come to you with this great idea, thinking you’re gonna do it, but it’s like, no, but you’re gonna do it. And so we thought it would be like 50 people, right? And Mariah, how many people are in the group now?

Mariah Humphries  2:40  

Around 1,600.

Latasha Morrison  2:41  

1,600! From 50 to 1,600. And this is the thing. When I first started Be the Bridge the Facebook group, the original Facebook group, I remember when we finally made it to 1,500, which was really quick, I was like, “Okay, we can close it now. I don’t want any more people.” And then I would tell them, “Okay, we’re gonna close it once it gets to 3,000.” Then I’m like, “Okay, we need to close it once it gets to 5,000. Because we’re not gonna be able to handle that. So we need to close it.” And this thing is now over, like, 75,000. I’m like, “Okay, we’re gonna close it when it gets to 100,000.” (laughter) The number keeps going up. It’s scary because you have to have a lot of, in order to keep it healthy and to create this healthy learning environment, you have to have monitors. You have to have admins and moderators, and then making sure people are there for the right reasons, you know. And so, I have not done any leading in this group. Mariah, and I hope Mariah has a team (laughter), she’s been in this group holding it down. And I want her, but I really think this is important because ultimately, one of the reasons for starting Be the Bridge was because I really wanted to see the Church, the body of Christ, to be more of a credible witness in this conversation. When you’re looking for answers, in my naive heart, I think you’re supposed to be be able to look at people of faith, followers of Jesus. People make up the church and I know people are broken. And so we wanted to provide this community where people can kind of learn and to grow. And so that’s the heart behind this. It’s like, I want the church to be the headlights in this conversation, but we have continued to be the taillights. And if we can create an environment where we can kind of pull the layers back with those who really, truly want to engage this and really want to reshape the places that they intersect, and they want the Church to be about the gospel, the full gospel, then I think this is a part of the conversation, too. Especially when the world is in so much pain right now and people are looking for answers, and they can’t, sadly, they can’t turn to a lot of people of faith, they can’t turn to a lot of churches. And so we want to kind of create a different narrative. And at least we can say we’ve done our part, you know? And it’s not to say that it’s a perfect work, but just a place where people can get a deeper understanding, and in a more brave space. I don’t want to say safe space, you know how that is. But just more of a brave space where we come in to be courageous. Because sometimes people don’t know, because they don’t have the information. But when they’re provided the information, they do better. And so, Mariah, why do you think this group is important? And what has the group been like since starting it? It’s been about one year, right?

Yeah. One year in early June of 2020.

Okay.

Mariah Humphries  6:25  

And so, you know, we had actually…

Latasha Morrison  6:27  

What is the temperature like? Go ahead, what is the temperature like? (laughter)

Mariah Humphries  6:31  

The temperature is good. You know, for having 1,600 roughly, people who are involved in ministry, they’re behaving really well.

Latasha Morrison  6:41  

Really?

Mariah Humphries  6:41  

I mean, you know how staff can be. You know, sometimes it can just, you never know what’s going to happen. And the environment in there is, I think, really healthy and encouraging.

Latasha Morrison  6:53  

Okay!

Mariah Humphries  6:53  

And I’ve been so pleased with how the group has gone. I have high hopes for where it’s going. And I just really wasn’t sure of what it was going to be like. And over the past year, it has been really good. And I think it’s really been beneficial. And this started, I think, mid May, maybe I reached out said, “Hey, we need to have a Be the Bridge ministry or something for pastors,” and you’re like, “Put something together and send it to me.” I was like, “I’ve got it together, because I’ve got it all planned out.” I sent it to you, and you said, “Awesome, find yourself a team.” I’m like, “Daggum, Tasha.” So, it was one of those things. And you’re like, “Get it together, let’s get this sort of idea of long term what we want to do, and let’s work on it for the fall, or, you know, the end of 2020, let’s launch this thing.” I was like, “Perfect. That’s great.” And then I think it was maybe a week, 10 days later that the murder of George Floyd happened. And instantly, there was a shift. Obviously, we were aware of this. But there was a shift in the Church as well. And the pew began to be more demanding almost of, we need to have this conversation. And so your congregants were becoming very aware, probably for the first time or this was their push to really take more movement forward. And so we had thousands of pastoral leadership in churches all over the U.S. and beyond. But, in the U.S. that, in a matter of days, were expected to talk about this behind the pulpit. And when they themselves had not taken those steps to be aware, they had not taken those steps forward in educating themselves, being part of that process already. We can’t fast track the work. We know this. But there was this expectation for pastors to be on the fast track to become racially aware and start focusing on conciliation, reconciliation, and be prepared to answer questions from congregants and be prepared to stand behind a pulpit and talk about the gospel in a truer way that included this sort of topic and this aspect of the gospel, and they just weren’t ready. And many were, I mean, there’s always the others. But I think the majority, especially within the Be the Bridge group. And so just as the Be the Bridge groups had this influx of literal thousands of new members. We had an influx of pastoral leadership as well. And so we saw them as we are approving members, you see what they are part of, and you see their Facebook profile, and you can see, you know, if they’re a part of a church or a pastor, or whatever they’ve mentioned just on those preview sections. And so, we saw this urgency, and so the fall became too late. The end of 2020 was going to be too far down the road. Everything got pushed up. And so you texted me and said, “Hey, about this ministry group,” was like, “Yes, tell me.” You said, “How long will it take you to get a group up and running?” I said, “Well, technically, like 15 minutes, but we have no program to get the group up and running.” You’re like, “That will come. Get them in a group. Because they they need a place. You build it and they will come.” The wise words of Tasha Morrison. And so you just don’t say no. And I was like, “We do. We need this.” And you said, “Get it up and running. Give them a space to come to.” Because one thing, the reason why I felt like we needed a space just for pastors was there’s certain lingo that you talk about, and that you use, and there’s certain terminology, and that just your congregate, your your normal every Sunday congregate are not going to be aware of. And so a lot of times that gets missed by the congregate. And so there’s a lot of assumptions there. And so you know, I’ve got a heart for the American church. And for me to have a desire for the American church to change, I need to be able to also have a heart for those who are leading the American church. And so I was like, “I need to be able to provide a space.” But we got this group in and I really did, you know, we talked about like 50 would be so awesome. Just a solid group that we can work with. Well, it was like 74 in the first 15 minutes. And I was like, “What’s happening? And what do I say? What do I say? And what do I do?” And it just started happening. And it was great, because they just had a space where they felt like, “These are people that I can talk to and make the mistakes in front of, because I’m not leading anybody in this space, I’m not having to counsel anybody or walk anybody through this. This is a space where I can be the receiver of that.” And so that was really what the purpose was. Because they don’t do that in the main group. Our pastoral leadership, they’re not active in the main group, they’re there. And they’re reacting, but they’re not commenting, and they’re not engaging, because it’s, it’s not that environment. They know that that is not necessarily accepted in that environment.

Latasha Morrison  12:12  

And people can get embarrassed. As a pastor or leader, you you feel like, well, kind of pride tells you that you should know all of this. And so sometimes you can try to fake it without doing the work. And we’ve seen the missteps of so many pastors where it’s like, clearly you are not doing the work if you just said that. And so, that happens. And so my heart is I don’t want that to happen to anyone. Because this is the thing, we are all on the same team, and I want you to be a credible witness. We know that the love that we have for one another points people to God. And so your winning also means that we all win. And so when I see that happening, I’m like, “Oh, shh shhh shhh.” You know? And I think a lot of times pastors are on the different side of this conversation because they don’t know. And if their used to being pioneers and stuff or if they’re used to having the answers, this is a hard thing. I was on staff at a church for many, many years. Be the Bridge started while I was on staff at a church and I had crazy things that were said. I mean, just even some things where, you kind of go back and you’re like, “Oh yeah, they did say that to me, or this was said.” And you’re like, oh, my goodness. And at the time, it was bad. But when you think about it, “Man, that was really bad. And Lord, you gave me a lot of grace for that person in that moment.” So I think, you know, creating these brave spaces for those who want to learn. For those who joined that original group, and they’re like, “You know what I need to go deeper. I want to ask questions.” And for us to create something else for that space for people to do that, and for people to sign up and do that, that shows you that they’re serious. Because this work starts with humility. It does. And so you have to have humility. So, we have some incredible people, Brian and Annie, how did you find out about the group? How did you land there? Did Mariah drag you in there? How did you guys find out about this ministry group and why are you there? And you know, and what have you learned? (laughter)

Annie Banceu  14:51  

Oh my gosh. We are so, first we’re just so grateful. Like even hearing like how that started. We were those pastors. We were those pastors with that moment. I mean, we’re all online. It’s COVID. George Floyd is murdered. We are like, “Whoa, absolutely God totally cares about this. We have to figure out how to communicate, how to lead our people.” It was so, and you know, we felt late to the game. We felt like we haven’t been doing racial reconciliation work. This hasn’t been on our radar. It was a major moment of humility when we…I remember for me, and I reached out to a Black pastor I knew of in Portland, Oregon, Michelle Jones. And she said, “Read the book, Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison.” And I said, “I’m going to do whatever you say. I’m going to look to Black leaders right now especially Black pastoral leaders.” And so I got your book and started reading and then just started seeing all the resources and like, you know, kind of falling forward in the beautiful, rich environment you guys have created. It was really, really cool.

Latasha Morrison  16:05  

Michelle Jones. Okay, Michelle out here in these streets reppin Be the Bridge.

Annie Banceu  16:11  

Michelle Jones. She’s in Portland, Oregon at Imago Dei. She’s awesome.

Latasha Morrison  16:14  

Okay. Okay. Wait a minute! I just was at Imago Dei. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  16:14  

Nuh uh!

Latasha Morrison  16:18  

I just did a training at Imago Dei.

Brian Kilde  16:23  

In Portland, Oregon?

Latasha Morrison  16:24  

In Portland, Oregon for…they were using their building, Imago Dei’s building. But it was for a company that does like some foster care stuff. Yeah. So we actually met in their building, so you need to let her know that I was at her church.

Annie Banceu  16:40  

How did we miss that? I’m gonna call her.

Latasha Morrison  16:46  

Cause you guys are in Vancouver. So how far is Vancouver from there?

Brian Kilde  16:52  

It’s right across the river. 

Latasha Morrison  16:54  

Oh really? Okay.

Brian Kilde  16:55  

So Columbia River separates Oregon and Washington. And Vancouver and Portland are right across from each other.

Annie Banceu  17:01  

And our church is 19 streets up from the river. 19th.

Latasha Morrison  17:04  

Really? I’m really bad at geography. I did not realize I was that close to Washington. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  17:11  

You were! You could have come visited.

Brian Kilde  17:13  

Most people don’t. 

Annie Banceu  17:15  

I’m gonna give Michelle such a hard time. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  17:17  

I love it out there. I love it out there. Africa New Life brought me out there last year, right before the pandemic, like that February before everything hit the fan. We went out there and they were so generous, because what they did, we did a training, we came out there to do a training for them. But we actually ended up, they wanted to really share this work with all of Oregon, Portland and so they invited in a lot of other nonprofits, organizations. And so they said, “We’re going to do this luncheon. We’re going to sponsor it. We’re having it at this event.” You guys, I was thinking like, you know, 20 people are going to be at this luncheon. I’m thinking luncheon. It was like over 200 people, 200 groups that came to this event. And from that, we have gotten some training opportunities and different things. So we made a lot of contacts out there in Oregon. Oregon is different, you know, but it’s definitely needed. And so you’re out there, and you found this out. So you guys were already in the larger Facebook group?

Annie Banceu  18:29  

Yes, that’s actually…Brian and I were talking about that. Brian, do you want to, you were saying like I found it and then he jumped in?

Brian Kilde  18:37  

Yeah, I was a little bit later than Annie was.

Latasha Morrison  18:40  

Okay.

Brian Kilde  18:41  

You know, I spent the summer just trying to listen and read, and of course, I was posting and sharing and that kind of thing. And I think it was probably about September, August or September 2020 I had a fellow Facebook friend, she just said, “Hey, I see what you’re doing and see what you’re wrestling with, you should be a part of the Be the Bridge.” And I was like, “What is that?” And so she figured out how to send me an invite. And so then I got in. And I don’t remember how soon after that, Mariah, you sent me an invite saying, “Hey, it looks like you’re a pastor. You should be a part of this ministry group.”

Mariah Humphries  19:17  

Yeah, I stalk new pastors when they come into the group if I see it. And I dm them and I make them join.

Latasha Morrison  19:22  

Go team, go. Look at the team! And now he’s sitting up here. You guys can’t see him but he has on I am a Bridge Builder shirt.

Brian Kilde  19:30  

That’s right. That’s right.

Latasha Morrison  19:30  

He’s like legit now. (laughter) But I love that. I love it. And that is what Be the Bridge is here for. It’s that onramping for people who are aware and they’ve acknowledged and now they’re like, “Hey, I want to be a part of the solution. But I don’t know where to begin and I don’t know where to start.” And Be the Bridge, we’re not trying to convince people of stuff. We want you to come already convinced and ready to do the work and ready to replicate and reproduce the work. So what kind of things are happening in the the group? A lot of our foundation for Be the Bridge is based on Scripture. Like this is something, you know, reading John 17, that is some of that, but then we can go to Galatians, then we go to Ephesians, then we could go to Genesis, Revelation. I mean, it’s all through out, I mean, every story that I read. Because once you can see, you can’t unsee. Everything that you see in the thread of justice and righteousness throughout all of that, and that is like, the greatest expression of that is the work of reconciliation. And so we believe that this is definitely Kingdom work, that this is gospel work. What are some things that you guys are seeing differently?

Brian Kilde  20:00  

Do you want to go first, Annie?

Annie Banceu  21:09  

Oh, sure. I think what is really cool about the Be the Bridge ministry group, is it’s helped us like you guys were talking about about pastors about how they kind of sometimes need a little bit of like, a safe space because it can feel vulnerable as you’re leading people. So I think seeing things differently has, watching other pastors make mistakes, or say really what we maybe think is cringy things that maybe we would say, you know what I mean? Like, we can hear other people say things and we can go, “Oh, that doesn’t seem seem quite right.” The other thing is the admins in the groups, it’s so nice to be able to trust them to call out either like white centering or white supremacy, or any of the things that we had to relearn or learn differently. We had to be really aware of the status of learner, you know what I mean? So that was really cool. Like, Brian, you were mentioning about how we have to be quiet for three months in the Be the Bridge group. And it’s like that’s such a beautiful, humbling experience to just be like, you just need to come listen and shut up. You don’t get to say anything. And you’re going to soak in, you’re going to take in. And that’s been one really big thing for me. And in all the Be the Bridge material that we’ve been doing, learning how to learn from Black leaders learning how to learn a lot.

Brian Kilde  22:46  

You know there was something recently. Mariah, I think you may have shared something in the ministry group. And then somebody else commented, and then I liked the comment. And then I saw your response to his comment, which you were basically calling out the racism in his comment and kind of the insensitivity of it. And then later… 

Mariah Humphries  23:11  

Kindly, kindly. (laughter)

Brian Kilde  23:12  

Oh, yeah. Very kindly, like super kindly.

Annie Banceu  23:12  

In Christian love, let’s add that Brian.

Brian Kilde  23:15  

Absolutely. Yes. In Christian love. Absolutely. And then Annie texted me, she was like, “Hey, I don’t know if you meant to, but you liked his comment. And you need to unlike it now.” And so then I looked at it and reread, and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t not see what Mariah has just pointed out.” And so I’m like, how do I undo this? So it’s, but that’s the kind of space that it is. It is, it is a place to for lack of a better word, fail. It is a lack, it is a place to make mistakes, it is a place for us to, again, be educated, and trained and discipled and relearn. And I think that that’s the thing that feels like different. I did not look at the Bible through a racial lens prior to George Floyd being murdered. And that, I would say is something I missed out on. Because it very clearly is an aspect of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I wouldn’t have known how and I’m still learning how to see it through a racial lens. Because it’s not an unconscious natural thing for me. I haven’t been trained in that mentality. And so even just hearing how and reading how you utilize scripture in your book and your podcasts and many of the other resources. It’s a retraining, so that now when we preach, we don’t preach on the topic of racism. We’re not gonna to now do a series on racial reconciliation. Instead, we want it to influence how we preach, just like we let anything influence how we preach. So we’re always on the lookout for whatever any passage of scripture is meant to bring out about life with God and life with each other. And now we get to go, “Oh, right. Racism is a place of spiritual formation just as much as every other area of life, and is a sin that needs to be called out, confessed in humility, and repented from, and repaired.”

Latasha Morrison  25:37  

Yeah. And I know, Mariah is gonna chime in here in a minute, but one of the things like, there’s so many, I love these podcasts, because we always have these teachable moments. And one of the things I would say is, and so a lot of times when I’m talking to my white brothers and sisters, is it’s like you’re reading now scripture, not through this Western lens or this, actually you are reading it through a racial lens, but not an inclusive lens. So you’re reading it through a white lens. You know? And so now, when you take off and you put on these new glasses, that is like, where you can see all this inclusion, and sometimes the history even behind all of this. It actually helps scripture come more alive when you, even the cultural context of it too come more alive. 

Brian Kilde  26:33  

Absolutely.

Latasha Morrison  26:33  

And that’s what I think has happened, like when you realize, okay, oh, this person was a Canaanite, or this was like, you know, thinking about these are nations and tribes that the Bible is talking about. And really looking differently at scripture. So that’s so good that, you know, and I mean, you guys are just really a year into this. So I think it’s hopeful for other people who are hearing this because sometimes, they hear people that are on level 10. You know? You’re one year in, you’re making mistakes, you’re liking stuff you ain’t supposed to be liking. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  27:07  

I don’t think you like that, Brian. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  27:14  

Annie’s calling you telling you to change your like. And Mariah is, in a very nice way, you know, correcting. So, Mariah what have you seen in this group? I mean, because this is tough, like, this is like, I know, I remember when you started this, there was like nobody that wanted to be in there.

Mariah Humphries  27:39  

Nobody, everybody left me high and dry with this group.

Tandria Potts  27:43  

[Voiceover] Wow, incredible insights. Don’t go anywhere. We’re gonna pause for a quick moment, and we’ll be right back.

Latasha Morrison  27:52  

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Tandria Potts  30:30  

[Voiceover] Thanks for staying with us. Let’s get back to our conversation.

Mariah Humphries  30:36  

To the defense of so many people who work with Be the Bridge and volunteer with Be the Bridge is a lot of us are coming from church hurt. And so that was another reason why I felt like you know, being in a ministers family myself, I felt like I could be the one that can kind of come in, because I understand the people who have been hurt by church. And I also understand the back end of the pastor’s pressure. And so I don’t blame them for not wanting to jump in and help out with this group. But it definitely was something that even became more aware for me, you know, even the ones who are, you know, further down the road, you know, much, much further down the road than so many others, you know, as educators, we’re still going through a lot of the hurt that we’ve had generationally and personally. I think one of the things that Brian has mentioned before, and you kind of hinted at it a little bit earlier is this like idea of what has been natural for you. And now you’re thinking intentionally. And I think it’s important to recognize that even for people who understand the Bible so well, and we’ve studied it, and we’ve done the papers on it and we know how to exegete and all the words and all the things is some of these things when it comes to racialized issues is we’re never going to become naturally thinking on some of this stuff. We are going to say this intentionality with some of our biases. Like what you talked about, I think I mentioned a brought forth a bias that the commenter had in that specific post. And it wasn’t this overt racist action, but it was definitely a high level microaggression, if anything. And so I think that’s one of the things it’s, we always have to be intentional. And I think that’s one of the things I’m seeing in this group that I’ve been so encouraged by. I mean, this work can be so wearing, and it brings you down, and it makes you tired and frustrated so often. And I almost expected this group to be even more so. I thought I was going to, “Come on pastors, let’s get it together,” you know. And you guys have really, guys and gals – I think I’ve talked about before how I say guys, but I mean men and women – have really come to the plate and said, “I’m ready for some difficult conversations, and I’m ready for some work.” And we’ve shared experiences of other BIPOC staff, and we’ve kept those anonymous. We’ve talked about issues. So it’s not even just what your congregants are going through, we’re talking about what BIPOC staff are going through. And that’s been a challenge because you know, like Brian and Annie you’re both on staff. And so if one of you were a person of color coming in and saying, “I’m actually struggling with some of this personally, but I have my senior pastor who’s also in the group or I have staff members who are in the group, how do I navigate that?” So I work with people in a DM kind of level where I’m kind of walking them through. And so now I’ve kind of reached out to some of them said that once you’re ready, share your story with me. And if it’s okay with you, I will share your story, change specifics, regions, any way that it can kind of be caught on to and I’ll share your story with the group. Because it’s not only what the congregant’s going through, it’s also what your fellow staff members are going through if they’re of the BIPOC community. And so, I think that was really important to mention for this group as we’re working on a staff level and we’re working on how they can relate to congregants. And like Tasha talked about, we know we do, you know, we’re foundationally scriptural. That’s our foundation. And we’re very clear about that. And so there’s this mindset over the generations and over the years that we’ve developed, and that now we’re coming to head on face to face with that mindset. So, you guys both joined I think last August, so you’re a year in of this racial awareness and reconciliation need. So one of the things that we talk about is this is not only, you’re dual, so it’s not only what you’re doing individually, but how you’re also implementing that into the church. But how have you changed in the past year as individuals? What has been the most, you’ve talked before about how Be the Bridge has walked through, the guides have really helped you navigate this work and the resources we provided have really helped you navigate this work. And that’s not specific to the ministry group. That’s the main group as well. So how has you know, Be the Bridge kind of come along to encourage you and provide information that has kind of changed over the past year?

Brian Kilde  35:52  

I would say for me, and I hate to keep using this event because I don’t want to be disrespectful in any way to George Floyd’s surviving family and friends. But unfortunately, like that was the cataclysmic moment for me of going, something’s not right. And something has not been right for a very long time. And I have clearly a lot of catch-up to do to figure out what the heck is going on. So fast forward to now, I would say Be the Bridge has been a primary resource for other resources, not just the ones it provides. But going on to other resources, even other racial justice activists like Jemar Tisby and Dominique Gilliard and Austin Channing Brown, and so on. And right, yeah, they’re fantastic. They’re just brilliant. And so I think there’s a sense now, I’m not afraid to ask a question that a year ago, I wouldn’t have even known to ask, I wouldn’t have even thought to ask, and the question is:  how racist am I? And it’s still scary, sure. But it’s safe with God to ask the question, “How racist am I?” If David can write a song that says, “Search me and know me, oh God, and see if there’s any offensive or anxious way in me,” then it has to be safe to ask any question. And not see that question as “Oh, somebody is trying to shame me and make me feel bad that I’m white, or that I should hate myself and I’m white.” No, the question like any other question of spiritual formation, is trying to get at the issue of sin, so that it can be confessed, so that it can be repented from so that it can be healed and redeemed and restored. And that reparation can can go forward. So to be able to go, “Hey, God, just like I would say, Show me how lustful I am. How insulting I am. How conceited I am. How dishonest I am. Would you also show me how racist I am? Would you show me how classist I am? Would just show me how sexist I am? Because I want to be able to see what you see. I want to be able to see where you want to change, where you want to heal, where you want to restore. Because I know we are called to be witnesses of your grace. And how can we be witnesses of your grace if we’re unwilling to, to let him point out the sin?”

Annie Banceu  38:34  

Yeah, yeah. For me, along those same lines, it was…Latasha your book is so generous and sweet. And like, it’s just, it kind of like woos us into these hard conversations and hard topics. And I think for me, like, you know, we’ve talked about all the resources you guys have offered, but the Seeing White podcast that’s part of the units was like, oh my gosh. Every word of that, I was like, I am seeing white now. Like, I see how white I am and how white, it’s almost like white barriers or white boundaries around what I was willing to see about myself. And so I’ve really got to like, have a lot more self awareness around that. Brian’s question works for him and it like makes me panic. And yet, and yet it’s like, yeah, that’s what it is. It’s like how do I…wow, God has made people all colors and all like this beautiful, and I always knew because I’ve done a lot of like, you know, we’re seminary educated, like, we’ve done spiritual formation things, we’ve led spiritual formation retreats, so I’ve always known that, like, I need to look people of color in the eye and like welcome them into, like, I’ve always had like a strategy. But it wasn’t like real. It wasn’t like, I don’t mean it wasn’t real. It wasn’t, it wasn’t, it didn’t take deep roots in my heart and in my soul to what, it didn’t, it felt like a strategy for something I knew I should do. And through Be the Bridge, and through all of the reading and the and the listening and what we’ve been doing, I’ve been like, “Whoa, people of color, leaders of color, pastors of color, like please, inform me, teach me, show me.” I want to like, I want to specifically learn from if I’m seeing white, do you know what I’m saying? That whole picture of like, all the white influence I have, and all the white boxes and white boundaries I’ve been stuck in, help me, help me see fuller God’s glory in imago dei.

Brian Kilde  41:03  

When I think about all of the guides, units, whatever Facebook is allowing you to call them now, I realize what an extensive awareness gets created around the legacy of white response, the impact of that response, and what would be helpful to do differently. Collectively, I think all of the guides can guide white people like myself through those three things. And I find that really, really helpful to be able to go, “Oh, right. This is how we’re known for responding.” And there’s nuances to that, that can all be categorized in one kind of sense of whiteness, whether it’s defensiveness or fragility or explaining away or justifying it, there’s rationalizing, it all is that, like it from…I’m hearing that from your perspective, it’s typical, it’s stereotypical, it’s predictable. And to go, “Well, it doesn’t work. We’re this far into it. And if this is our legacy, it’s not working.” So as a white person, I have to do something different. And especially then to hear about the impact, like, right, I’m not heard, I’m not saying I’m unnoticed, you’re thinking, you’re doing all the same things. And then I think one of the brilliant things that Be the Bridge does is it offers a different way, like, your 16 tips are so hard to read and so good. Like, you know, they’re just like, very uncomfortable. And yet, they’re also very simple. Like, believe the person who’s speaking. And you go, “Oh, right. In every other aspect of life, I practice that, but this one, I don’t.” So it’s embarrassing that I have to be told that, that I have to read that. And yet, it’s good. It’s what, like, I like reading through the 16 tips. It’s helpful. And so there’s a lot of stuff like that. I think that Be the Bridge just helps create extensive awareness. So that for those, like you said, who want to learn, truly can learn.

Annie Banceu  43:25  

Yeah. And it’s really encouraged me to look for Black pastors and reach out. Like I’m really good at making friends. And so it was so eye opening to go like, oh, you know, I’m going to call, I’m going to join the NAACP, I’m going to talk to people, I’m going to ask them like, “Hey, what do you think?” And, you know, one of the first things we did was the students actually wanted to do a car rally. And I contacted the NAACP and said, “Hey, what do you think we should do?” And she said, “Talk to this Black pastor.” And I was like, “Duh, what a great idea.” And you know, did that and he came and prayed. I mean, it was simple. Anyway. And then, can I say one more thing?

Latasha Morrison  44:10  

Yes, go ahead.

Annie Banceu  44:11  

Okay. So personally, as an individual, I’m an adoptive parent of a Mexican American child, and your transracial adoption curriculum, it blew me away. It was so, I can’t tell you how helpful it was, like extremely specifically for me and my daughter. Just to read through it and to go, and I always thought I was trying. And when I read it, I was like, “Oh my gosh, Noel. Is this how you feel?” Like she’s 14 now, and she was like, “Yeah.” 

Latasha Morrison  44:50  

Well go on Noel telling the truth. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  44:53  

I was like, “Noel, guess what? You are in a white family.”

Latasha Morrison  44:56  

Guess what? “Duh.” (laughter) Oh my gosh. That’s so good. I’m so glad. You know, what Be the Bridge tries to do is really look at what’s out there, look where we are, and what do people need to hear? Where do people need to grow? What are the gaps? Like, you know, where do people need a little more empathy? Where do we need to display a little more compassion? And I think when we are creating resources, that is a display of compassion and empathy for those groups of people that need that material. And so I know that was one that team has worked really hard on. But you know, you talked about some of your catalytic moment being that of George Floyd. I know for me, you know, I had always had these conversations, but with other people of color, specifically other Black people. And you know, but one of those catalytic moments for me seeing that, hey, we are looking through different lens, this is not a universal experience was Trayvon Martin for me. And so there are events that sometimes that were…I heard, you know, this lady said, like, there’s this thing about shame and guilt, and how really should lead us like towards this lament, this collective lament. But really, sometimes we bash, like, “You don’t make me feel guilty, or don’t make me feel ashamed.” But sometimes, like, it’s an alert to get our attention, to take us to move us towards more of a deep sorrow, where it brings about change. And one of the things that, as we talk about last year, but we can see just even a few months after, we’re a year into this, you know. So last year, this time, in August, there was just so many things that were brewing, there were a lot of marches, a lot of rallies, a lot of protests, a lot of stuff. I mean we’re polarized now, but it was even more polarization going into the election season. Just all these things were happening. And then today, I see us one year later, and we’re at this crossroads. And this crossroads of for some that was an awakening, that was a, I call it a semi awakening awakening, you know, it was like a semi awakening, but for some it moved you into action. Like for you guys, it moved you into action, and you haven’t looked back. I know it’s been hard. I know it’s been difficult, you know. It’s been very uncomfortable. Like, if you’re signing up for comfort, then you’re not going to sign up for this. And most people, they want to be comfortable, like anything. But just think about where in Scripture are any of God’s people comfortable? You know what I’m saying? So why do we think we’re going to be any different? And so you’re at this crossroads, and this is push to stop the conversation because it makes me uncomfortable, or you’re trying to shame and guilt me. Have you experienced this low tolerance of this discussion on race, like how I want to know, even from Mariah how it’s been in the group? And I want to know how it’s been in your congregation? And you know, and has this pushback been verbalized to you?

Mariah Humphries  48:51  

You know, we have seen, there are times where I can tell, like lately with this push to cease this conversation, that we tend to get quiet in the group. And it’s not a quiet of, “I have nothing to say. I no longer see this on my feed. So I’m just kind of inactive.” It’s this quiet of they just don’t know what to do. You know, there’s this push. And it’s for, you know, for people who are so focused on representing what the Bible talks about and sharing that from the side of a pulpit to be told you’re not doing this correctly, or what you’re sharing is anti-Christian or anti-gospel, I think it makes…I’m seeing it as you’re sitting back and reflecting, or you’re just how do I approach this now, because, you know, it’s a discussion that needs to happen, but you’re getting all of this pushback. And so there is some quietness in the group occasionally on that. And so I’ll do a poll every now and then when I see that it’s getting quiet. I’ll say, “Hey, what’s the temperature of the group? What are you struggling with? Are you not struggling?” And I’ll give some different options. And a lot of times, it’s, “Hey, things are going really well. Thanks for asking.” And, you know, people jump back in and get it engaged. And right now it is a, “I’m dealing with things personally. I’m struggling. And so I’m kind of sitting back and staying still, or I’m getting a lot of pushback from from my congregants, and I’m navigating how to have those conversations.” Because we so often, as you know, we’re all aware, we’re involved in church that there’s often there’s the money aspect as well, that comes into play, And so there’s this struggle, and I want to make sure that we acknowledge that in the group and talk about those things. And, you know, even though there’s different denominations represented in this group, and different ways to go about ministry, there are some of those foundational things that we do all have in common. And so we just try to address those. But it is a quiet time, I would say over the past month, you know, of just taking a breather. People are seeing it, they’re just not as engaged. And so that’s also a thing for me to be able to stick it a poll in there and just get a temperature of the group. And so I think people are reeling right now personally, and just dealing with some of this pushback that they’re receiving. So I mean, and Annie and Brian can talk to that. But as someone who’s on the outside looking in a group who’s focused on this, that’s what I’m seeing right now.

Annie Banceu  51:44  

Yeah. There’s quite a bit of pushback. And honestly, one of the Black pastors we talked to early on told us that that was going to happen. And I was like, “Oh, that’s probably not true.” (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  52:01  

Believe Black people. (laughter) We knew it was coming.

Annie Banceu  52:06  

I did not believe it. I was so, I mean, we were so, I don’t know, inspired and like, the Holy Spirit was very, very, very much directing and alive it within us. And we were like ready. And we were excited to be like, we’re gonna learn, we’re going to grow, we’re going to repent, we’re gonna change some things. And people were like, “Uhhhh.” (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  52:31  

Repent of what? (laughter)

Annie Banceu  52:35  

Of racism, of sin, of white supremacy. I said all those words early on. And now I’m like, whew.

Latasha Morrison  52:45  

They’re like, “Are you calling me a white supremist?” 

Annie Banceu  52:47  

Oh my gosh. White fragility is so real. And white centering. And I mean, I do it. So, yeah.

Latasha Morrison  52:53  

I see it every day. It’s like, yeah. It’s so funny. Because we were at these marches, and you know, we’re like, it felt good. And you’re like, okay, okay. But you know what’s coming. We know, I mean if you know history, you know it’s coming. And you’re like, okay, okay, you know, you’re like, yeah, at the marches like looking around. But it’s like, we know. And I remember even a guy who’s not even a Christian, and he was being interviewed, you know, after all of this was happening, and people, you know, books flying off the shelves. So just like this need to learn and to grow. And I remember him saying, like, you guys are gonna be surprised. Because he can be very, a little bit pessimistic a little bit. But I remember him saying, “I am hopeful.” And it gripped my heart because that that was foreign for him. Like he was feeling something and sensing something. And he, it was like, and I just have a heart for him, like I pray for him. Like, he I just have a heart for this author, and he was just, you know, and you can see it in his face like, “I don’t even know how to bring words, but this is beautiful.” And then to see, you know, like, what has happened. But this is the thing, this is not to undo, you’re always gonna have push back at everything. I mean, look at scripture, I mean, look at look at the who pushed back on Jesus. And so when we look at that we, you know, a part of that is, God still moves and works in the push back. And I think that’s what we’re seeing here and Be the Bridge and through this conversation with you. We’re not perfect, the work is not perfect, you’re not perfect, but God is still moving in the midst of the push back and at the crossroads. And so, but there’s a choice that you’re making to continue to go forward in the conversation. Or you can make a choice to say, “You know what, this isn’t worth it.” But then we have to examine our hearts and see, okay, we’ve created some idols somewhere. There’s some sense of where, if we can’t go forward in this conversation to me there’s some sin there where we care more about what people are going to think, or finances and all those things. Because it all comes with the loss, but then it also comes with the gain. So Brian, what have you since especially as, you know, person at the top of the food chain there?

Brian Kilde  55:41  

Yeah, yeah, no, we’ve had, we’ve had people leave our church, people that we dearly love. They say that we’re being too political, and then end up at churches that are known for telling you how to vote and who to vote for. And I still feel baffled by that as to how we’re the ones being political. Or, you know, I get lots of communications about scripture and what scripture says and how it says. And I naturally I, well, maybe not naturally, I don’t know, I feel defensive about that. I’m like, I know the Bible. I’ve been reading it a while. You’re not, you’re not showing me scriptures I’ve never looked at before. So you must and you start writing all of the negative stories, like, “You must think I don’t know the Bible.” You know?

Latasha Morrison  56:38  

Right, right.

Brian Kilde  56:40  

Or, you know, “Hey, just preach about Jesus.”

Annie Banceu  56:42  

“Just preach the gospel.” We are. (laughter)

Brian Kilde  56:42  

Yeah, just preach the gospel. And I’m like, I am reading my Bible. I’m seeing what Jesus did and said, and I don’t know how not to connect this. Yeah. I don’t know how not to. It seems so so clear to me. And when I do, then it’s, “Well, you’ve fallen into a narrative. You’ve fallen into a bias. You’ve fallen into… Why don’t you, you know, listen to other voices, are you open to listening to other voices?” And I’m like, for most of my life, I have listened to one voice and I’m finally now listening to other voices. So it’s a, the pushback is real. For sure. There was a wall street journal article, Mariah that you ended up recommending me for and the reporter was wanting to talk with me. And so I answered those questions. And we had a good conversation. And the day after the article was published, we got a voicemail on our church phone, from a guy in North Carolina, telling me that I that I just need to be preaching Jesus. I was like, who are you? (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  56:44  

On the other side of the country. (laughter)

Brian Kilde  57:31  

Right? I mean, I’m a nobody, man. I’m a nobody pastor at a nobody church in nowhere USA and this is nothing. I mean, nothing. It’s surreal. It’s weird. But it doesn’t, it doesn’t change anything for me. It’s like you said earlier, I can’t not see it now. In conversations, in relationships, in myself. There’s just, it’s a, the white normalizing the white centering, it’s real, it’s ingrained. And I think it gives new meaning to these Bible passages that talk about denying the sinful nature, or there’s an enriched breadth to love your neighbor as yourself. And realizing, yeah, white people we’re not loving our Black and Brown brothers and sisters well. We’re not loving them as ourselves, that’s not our legacy. And God, the kingdom of heaven, fortunately, has already written a new legacy to come. And as an act of faith, we are to live that out. We are to live that out now. And so yeah, it’s tough. I’ve gotten a taste of how tough it is.

Annie Banceu  59:38  

Yeah. We had one couple even…

Latasha Morrison  59:41  

Love your neighbor as yourself. Wow. I mean, when you think about that, just the, you know, the power of that and the selflessness of that – as your self. I mean, hopefully we love ourselves. Anything that I wouldn’t do for myself, I mean, think about that. Like that’s even another level, that’s beyond just loving your neighbor, but to love them as yourself?

Brian Kilde  1:00:06  

Yeah, that’s right.

Latasha Morrison  1:00:08  

You know, that’s, that’s a whole nother mindset. You know? And Annie you were about to say something. Oh, I’m sorry, who was, somebody was talking. I can’t see, I’m looking over my sound buffer thing. Sorry. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  1:00:27  

I was just gonna say something. It’s terrible. So I don’t know, but just that people’s responses. One that I thought I found it a little bit incredible was somebody was saying, “Hey, you guys really need to, you know dial back any of the racial justice stuff that you’re doing. And you should talk to these people that go to our church, you know, because they’ll tell you that racism doesn’t exist. Talk to these Black people that go to our church because they’ll tell you that racism doesn’t exist.” And it was just one of those moments where my jaw just hit the floor. Like I was just like, well, “We have talked to those people.” (laughter)

Brian Kilde  1:01:08  

And they gave us instance after instance of how they’ve experienced it in our church.

Annie Banceu  1:01:13  

In our church.

Latasha Morrison  1:01:14  

Right, right.

Annie Banceu  1:01:15  

So I was just like, you’re gonna use… Anyway, it’s so hard. We do love these people. They are very dear to us. And it’s heartbreaking. It’s really hard to be like, oh, boy. This is a big work.

Latasha Morrison  1:01:28  

Yeah, yeah. It is heartbreaking. And, you know, one of the things I realized is that everybody’s not going to get it. And some people remembering when also you didn’t get it.

Brian Kilde  1:01:30  

Right, yes.

Latasha Morrison  1:01:31  

And so remembering when you didn’t get it, and how something happened. And I think what I, when I know, it’s a good work, and it’s a deep work, and that you’re not going to be tossed by every wind or every pushback is when it becomes conviction for you. And what I’m sensing and hearing is that this is a conviction. And when I talk to pastors, and when I talked to leaders, even churches that I’ve been apart of, when it’s not a conviction, I know that the moment that a naysayer, or someone comes, you know, they’re like, “Okay, I’m doing this because I know I should, or saying this, because I know I should.” But not we’re willing to put in the work, but it hasn’t become a deep conviction. When it becomes a deep conviction, that’s the thing that drives everything else. And I think when you lead that way, God is gonna bless. And it may be blessing in other ways, you may have to lose people to gain people. And so, those are some of the things that, that I’ve seen, you know, shift the mindset of people, when this becomes not just what’s happening in the culture now, but this becomes, “I am convicted by all of this. This is disturbing. There is a holy discontent here, and I can’t go back to this way of thinking. I can’t unsee the scriptures. Words are jumping out at me, scenarios, things that jumped out at me, I’m reading scripture like I’ve never seen it before.” And, you know, and I think that’s the thing, so keep pushing, keep moving. But then also remember, those people that can’t see, that you were also someone that can’t see. Because then sometimes we can have this self righteous posture where “look at them,” you know, and just five years ago, like you were in the same place. You have to try to remember that. And the way that you all, in like any discipleship when your discipling people into. And I saw this other thing where it was saying, you know, people say, “Well, talking about race, makes you more racist. And all we’re doing is creating more division.” But do we say that about any other sin? Like you know what I’m saying? So is talking about lying going to create more liars?

Annie Banceu  1:04:16  

No! It’s ridiculous.

Latasha Morrison  1:04:19  

So think about that. The arguments really make no sense. Especially when you say, okay, you know, “This is all sin.” Okay, so if you’re saying that, then how do we deal with sin? And so I think that’s just, that’s really important for that. Mariah, so I know this group has been a respite for people. And when I hear these stories, I’m like, you know, as people like yourselves this is why we do what we do the way we do it. For people to get it and to start that journey because the lives that you’re touching, the people that you affirming, that is gonna go on. There’s someone that’s going to be taught something in your church or learn something from their church that they may teach their children, that they may teach their community, like the gift of this continues to reproduce itself. And to really change the communities that we’re intersecting with. Like you guys are in Vancouver, Washington. I just recently found out that it wasn’t Canada! (laughter) Nah, I’m just playing.

Brian Kilde  1:04:47  

Very common! Very common. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  1:05:47  

So I’m just saying, you know, I spoke to a pastor from North Dakota. I was like, I don’t know anyone from North Dakota. This stuff is happening. God is at work, and God is moving. 

Annie Banceu  1:06:06  

Yes. So good.

Latasha Morrison  1:06:03  

God has His people. And I just, my heart goes out to people who will miss this, the people who are blind. But I think one of the things, I was just talking to a friend is that we’re seeing this is definitely spiritual blindness. Where even some of the arguments you see like, this is, like people can’t see. So it’s almost you have to have like this empathy, also. But I’m glad it’s people like yourselves that are on the front lines of this that are digging in and doing some of the hard work so that, you know, people like Mariah, myself, BIPOC people, people of color are not having to do all of this. I love it when white people handle white people. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  1:06:09  

That’s right. We’ve learned that from you guys. White people talk to your white people! (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  1:06:53  

Talk to your people! I get people all the time, I tell Elizabeth who works with us, I’m like, “Elizabeth get your people.” She’s like, “What they doing? What they doing now?” I mean in this work, sometimes you have to laugh, you know, sometimes to keep from crying in this. But learning, you know, a lot of people say, “Tasha, you’re the most optimistic person that I know. You are so hopeful. You are so encouraging.” I said, “I have to be hopeful to stay the course.” And that hope isn’t necessarily in people, but it’s what God does through people and seeing what God is doing in your hearts. Seeing how God has used Mariah to step up and do this work within Be the Bridge, that gives me hope. That lets me know that we’re not going to convince everyone, we’re not going to convince everyone I know that. I wish we could. We’re not going to convince everyone, Jesus didn’t convince everyone. Paul didn’t convince everyone. Timothy didn’t convince everyone. Stephen, I mean, look what they did to Stephen. Stephen, he was still lighting them up. They were throwing and he was still bringing it down, “I see the Lord!” (laughter) And so, I know it’s not gonna be everyone, but there’s gonna be a remnant. And we’re here because a faithful 12. I think about that this thing started with 12. And here we are on a different continent talking about the message of Jesus. And so we just keep going and pushing and knowing that it’s gonna be hard and doing this not for our glory but God’s glory. And so, these are the conversations that give me hope. So I hope that someone that’s out there listening would hear this and they would want to lean into the conversation. Now this is the thing, this is not a group if you’re trying to come in here and try to say there’s no systemic racism, this is not a group for you. Be the Bridge is not for you. We want you to do some other work on the other side of this first. But once you come to that acknowledgement, where, “You know what, oh my goodness, I never saw this before.” Then we got something to work with, you know. And so this is for those who need that courageous space, that brave space to dig a little deeper. And then also be in alignment with people who are doing some of the same things that you’re doing where pastors can support other pastors and churches can support churches and leaders can support leaders in this work when you know you’re not alone. I know that there’s a guy, that’s in the group, he’s like from New Zealand, that found comfort and help and support and his ministry grew to be able to do what he’s doing in New Zealand, y’all, because he’s able to connect to say, “I’m not alone in this.” And so, that’s what I hope our environments create, is to let people know that this is a community, and you’re not alone in this. And so Mariah, what do you…someone’s listening to this now, why should they be a part of this conversation? And why do you feel like churches and pastors should continue to lean into this conversation even if they’re getting the pushback?

Mariah Humphries  1:10:55  

I think that one of the things that in ministry is, especially if you’re on staff or you’re senior leadership, is you ultimately have the accountability for the direction of the church and what the church is representing. Maybe not the broader Church, but your individual congregation. And so we do need…this isn’t just an individual process, we do need our leadership to be able to come forward into this very awkward conversation. I mean, no one is saying that this conversation is not awkward and comfortable. But we need pastoral leaders to really take this on. And the ones who get it, you know, Brian and Annie are representation of this of this group and so many in here and so many across the U.S…and I keep volunteering to go to New Zealand to visit our pastor there. But no one’s taking me up on that yet. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  1:11:58  

We’re gonna go. We are going to go.

Annie Banceu  1:12:00  

I’ll come with you! I want to get in on this. (laughter)

Mariah Humphries  1:12:03  

Feet on the ground, we need to make sure everything’s going well in New Zealand.

Latasha Morrison  1:12:06  

Yeah, we need to check it out.

Mariah Humphries  1:12:08  

So it’s my heart and my passion for the church to take on a rightful place in this conversation and not be reactive but be proactive, because this is such gospel work. And we know this. And so this group is specifically for those who want to take that hard conversation forward. It’s definitely not for those who are going to come in and cause division. Because I’ve just made that very clear from the get go, we’ve set that up to where this will not be the group for you, and we’re fine with you leaving this group, if that division is going to be caused. And it hasn’t. I think that the remnant, which I think is really important to focus on, is I would take that 50. I mean, if it would have just been that 50, I would have been so excited about that. Because in church work, even though so many churches do focus on numbers, it really is about the faithful. And so the same goes with this group, you know, even the group of Be the Bridge, Tasha does not focus on numbers. She does not like, she has been very adamant about closing that group up at 10,000, at 5,000, and then said, ” At 20,000 we got to cut it off.” I’m like, “Well, there’s still people coming in.” She’s like, “That’s it.” You know.

Latasha Morrison  1:13:26  

Now I’m saying 100,000. (laughter)

Mariah Humphries  1:13:27  

 At 100,000 we are turning this thing off.

Annie Banceu  1:13:30  

Because of your compassion. Honestly. That’s so helpful to us. Yes.

Mariah Humphries  1:13:36  

It is. I think one of the things that is just on the heart for us is, especially since we’re foundationally just very Christian, in our leadership are people of faith. And that is something that we recognize that is the foundation of this work for us. And so for our leaders in those spaces to come alongside, and to say, “I also need to lead in this space,” is the ultimate encouragement for for us. And for me, being in this group and seeing the faces and seeing where they are. And we have people all over the place that are in this group, and they’re learning and they’re making mistakes too, but they’re learning and they’re reaching out. And they’re sharing articles that touched them or books. And I’m seeing them now kind of be a little bit more active in the main group just a little bit, which is also encouraging because that is like your congregation kind of setting. You know, these are the people that you are leading. So I just think it’s an encouraging space, in number it’s great, but just the the mindset that has developed in there that is so Spirit led. And I think that’s really one of the things I can recognize the most is that the Spirit is just within that group, guiding these people. Because it could have just been a dumpster fire in this group to have people from across denominations. I mean, we have rabbis in this group. So we have people from all over the religious spectrum, but we’re coming together in this unified way that is so Christ based. And I think that’s what’s important. And I would take the remnant over the multitude any day of the week. And I think that’s how things start. And I think if we can just have these churches, no matter what size, no matter what location they’re in, where they are regionally, denominationally, to be able to take that step forward and to recognize that the Church should be leading in this conversation instead of reacting to the society that’s putting the pressure on them, but recognize our role in this and be able to move forward as the Church is my goal within this space to be able to have this happen, no matter how long it takes. And just seeing these little movements forward, just like you know with your lived experience that you’re sharing with us today, is so encouraging. It lets us know that we are also on the right track. And we can do some tweaks here and there, but the work is doing a good thing. So.

Latasha Morrison  1:16:16  

Yeah. And we’re also, one of the, I think, another tool that’s going to be really helpful for this ministry group is the Be the Bridge book is being made into a curriculum, a gospel centered curriculum. And so, I think that’s going to be another tool for the Church as we as we move forward. And I know God will use us to kind of help in this space, because it is definitely dear to our hearts. With Mariah in this space and currently in this space, and then also me having birthed Be the Bridge out of the Church, you know, I mean, this is everything. If it wasn’t for my work in the church, I wouldn’t be doing this. So yeah, so it’s good to be able to continue this work of discipleship and formation. Which I think this is. And just think about that with anything that we’re discipling people through and all of that. So, yeah.

Annie Banceu  1:17:34  

We have seriously thought of you as our discipler, Latasha. As we’ve read through your book, we’re like, “What can we learn from this person discipling us?” And then when we started our own Be the Bridge group, we said, “Hey, everybody,” kind of like what you guys are saying, like we said, “we’re not going to argue. We are going to listen to what this woman is saying. And we are going to learn from her. And if you don’t want to do that, that’s okay. This is not the group for you. But we are being discipled by Latasha Morrison, if you would like to do that with us, come do that with us.” (laughter) You’re pastoring us. It’s really really great.

Latasha Morrison  1:18:15  

Oh that is so good. That is so good. I’m grateful for that. And I’ll just remember you guys all as I am embarking through seminary.

Annie Banceu  1:18:28  

Wow. Really? Congratulations! That’s exciting.

Latasha Morrison  1:18:32  

Yeah, yeah. So it starts this month.

Brian Kilde  1:18:34  

Wow. That’s great.

Latasha Morrison  1:18:35  

And it’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be good.

Annie Banceu  1:18:40  

That’s really cool. 

Latasha Morrison  1:18:41  

Yeah, getting my Master’s in Theology.

Annie Banceu  1:18:43  

Awesome.

Right on.

Latasha Morrison  1:18:45  

Oh, wait a minute. I meant to stop recording. (laughter) Hey, Travon, cut that out. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  1:18:49  

She’s like, delete. Delete that part! (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  1:18:53  

Delete, delete. Thank you guys so much for joining us today. Mariah, thank you for all the work that you’re doing. And, you know, hey, we want other people to step up in that group and help you. Because the one thing I said it takes a team to do all of these things. And so we’re grateful that you guys are there and it’s nice to meet you. So if I’m ever back on that side of the country again, I will make sure that I know that Vancouver, Washington is just over the bridge. (laughter)

Annie Banceu  1:19:29  

I will buy you coffee!

Latasha Morrison  1:19:35  

We will have to do that. I think I’ve been to Washington…oh, I was in Washington when we were doing some things with Facebook. I was actually in Washington before. So I’ve been to Washington state I think twice. I can’t remember. I think I was in Seattle though. 

Annie Banceu  1:19:56  

Yeah, probably Seattle.

Latasha Morrison  1:19:58  

How far are you from Seattle?

Annie Banceu  1:19:58  

We’re like two and a half hours from Seattle.

Latasha Morrison  1:19:59  

Oh, yeah. Oh. You see, I am horrible with directions. (laughter) I’m like, okay, so how are you closer to Oregon?

Annie Banceu  1:20:06  

Yeah, we are. We’re five minutes from Oregon. (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  1:20:08  

But it was beautiful. It was beautiful up that way. So thank you guys so much for joining us, thank you for continuing to lean into this conversation. And continue to do this good work, continue to do this good work, continue to push. And it’s great that you guys have each other and you have other people on your staff that are thinking the same way. I think that’s key to doing that. And the other thing that’s also key is getting your board or all your elders to think in the same way. So think about that as it relates to leadership in the church, as you change, make sure that that shift happens all the way up the ladder. Because sometimes I see pastors really doing this, and then elders get involved and it just goes, it can become messy. So I’m praying for you guys, as you do this, that everyone that sits in power would be able to hear and to receive and that God would…what you’ve lost, that you would gain. So that is my prayer for you today. Mariah, thank you so much. Do you have any parting words?

Mariah Humphries  1:21:31  

No, I just, I’m excited for you guys. When Tasha was like, “Hey, who in the ministry group is, you know, who can we talk to?” I was like, “Well, Brian.” Because we did recommend him for the Wall Street Journal article about the one year post George Floyd. And they wanted to talk to Be the Bridge. And I was like, “Oh, yeah, and Annie’s in there.” And so I thought that was really important. We have several people in there who have staff that are in there. But I think that’s so important. Because I think you see the difference between those pastors who are alone in this work, and those who have brought their staff in, and they’re taking it on as a as a group within their church, which is important. And as opposed to like that one voice in their church, it is very difficult.

Latasha Morrison  1:22:23  

And staff that has your back where they’re like, “Hey, listen, you need to go uncheck that.” (laughter)

Brian Kilde  1:22:28  

Yes, that’s right. Yeah. Uh huh.

Latasha Morrison  1:22:31  

They’re not out here letting you look crazy in these streets. (laughter)

Mariah Humphries  1:22:34  

I did notice you liked that. And I was like, maybe he’s just one of those people who likes it just to acknowledge that it exists. (laughter)

No, he’s not one of those people. That’s why I knew it was a mistake. (laughter) I was like, “Brian. Uncheck that.” I was like, “I would have hacked your Facebook to unlike it.”

Latasha Morrison  1:22:53  

That is so funny. But you keep looking out, Annie.

Mariah Humphries  1:22:57  

I know. She’s like the mom of the group.

Latasha Morrison  1:22:59  

And, Brian, you make sure you read the full context. (laughter)

Brian Kilde  1:23:03  

Yeah, whew.

Mariah Humphries  1:23:05  

Now that I know that you did that, I’ll have to comment and be like, “Hey, Brian, this is not likable, this is not a likable comment.”

Annie Banceu  1:23:10  

Yeah, yeah, you can tell him. He’ll be like, “Shoot, I read that wrong.” 

Latasha Morrison  1:23:15  

But it can happen. It can happen. Sometimes I’ve done that. Like you read and you’re like wait a minute, wait a minute. So, yeah, so that happens. So, hey. That’s the thing, you’re gonna mess up. So we have to give space for the mess ups. It takes a special person to disciple a group like we have in the ministry group. And so Mariah, we’re thankful for you, too. And we’re thankful as Be the Bridge that we can continue to create resources and spaces for people to grow toward the work of racial justice, racial equity, and racial reconciliation. So thank you for joining us on the Be the Bridge podcast.

Brian Kilde  1:23:56  

Thanks for having us.

Latasha Morrison  1:23:58  

Yes! So you can find us on all the social media channels. And you guys have a great remainder of the day.

Tandria Potts  1:24:06  

[Voiceover] Go to the donors table if you’d like to hear the unedited version of this podcast.

Narrator  1:24:14  

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.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai