The full episode transcript is below.
Latasha Morrison 0:05
[Intro] How you guys doing today? This is exciting!
Each week, Be the Bridge podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture, with the goal of bringing understanding.
Latasha Morrison 0:16
[Intro] …but I’m gonna do it in the spirit of love.
We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society, but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end!
Latasha Morrison 0:51
It’s funny because while I’m sitting here talking to you, it feels like I know you but it’s like…
Beth Moore 0:57
I feel the same.
Latasha Morrison 0:58
But we’ve only met one time, right?
Beth Moore 1:00
I know! But something happens when you listen to voices and when you read a work—when you read a work, you’ve actually spent hours with that person.
Latasha Morrison 1:10
Yeah. Yes, that’s what it is. Because I feel like—it was like, “I feel like I know you!”
[Voiceover] So tell me this, isn’t it awesome and yet kind of eerie, how you can meet someone just once and you have a bond with them like you’ve known them your entire lives? Well that happened to me! The voice you heard earlier was that of one of my newest friends Beth Moore. Beth is a bestselling author, evangelist, and Bible teacher who is the leader and founder of Living Proof Ministries. Living Proof Ministries is based out of Houston, Texas.
Today, we’re going to once again deal with the core topic that we continue to work through as an organization in our efforts as racial bridge builders. That topic is racial reconciliation. Our summation of Biblical principle of reconciliation is the reordering of God’s original plan for the restoration and flourishing of all people. We’re going to get to that. But before we start, you may have noticed that I did not share the mission statement of Living Proof Ministries, which originally focused on women primarily. So let’s start here with Beth as she lets you know, what are the changes to that mission statement and why? Her answer beautifully led us into today’s discussion. Check it out.
Beth Moore 2:32
For real, I am so happy. Tasha, I have to tell you something I think you might appreciate! I changed that mission statement. Probably about 10 years ago in the very beginning, it was: “To encourage women to get to know Jesus Christ in the study of his word.” And then you don’t—you grow up and get more exposure to the world. And I thought, you know, we need to emphasize truly the point of Bible study. Yeah, to actually love Jesus and not just get a head full of knowledge. There’s got to be a collision there of heart and mind or it doesn’t mean anything. So every time I hear someone read that I always, I sort of want to lift my face to the heavens and wink, because I remember well when I changed it. I had no idea that you could study that hard and be as mean as a snake. It is possible because I see it all the time!
Latasha Morrison 3:37
Yeah, you see it. And I mean, just think about, even with some of the work that we do…like the people, you know, great heroes of faith that owned slaves and that were a part of segregation! Like all of that where—it’s so important, even in the work that we do when we start talking about racial justice and racial reconciliation, that it’s not just head knowledge but it’s heart. You’re putting action to it because it’s in your heart. I think that’s just key in all of this. So that is true, where you see this so much, and I think that’s the thing—when I always say that Jesus needs new PR! I’m like, oh my goodness, like what Bible are we reading? What scriptures are we reading?
[Voiceover] As I said earlier, Be the Bridge’s efforts to usher in reconciliation are founded in Biblical based principles. Listen as Beth took note of something simple her daughter said that led our discussion into an awesome direction.
Beth Moore 4:40
Exactly. You know, I love to quote [my daughter] Melissa and she said, “Mother, you know, you have to be careful where you quote me on that…” and I said, “I know baby, but I just love to do it.” She says to me every now and then, she says, “You know, Mother, you just keep making the same mistake over and over,” and I always know what she’s gonna say. Because she says, “You assume people are actually reading their Bibles!”
Latasha Morrison 5:03
Exactly! Or you know what I think it is, Beth? Some of it is that we read the Bible—you know, just within the last few years, I think there’s things and scriptures that have been illuminated—because we also read the Bible through our cultural lens, you know?
Beth Moore 5:21
Yes, we do.
Latasha Morrison 5:22
And then when you start understanding…I go to a church where they really interpret the scriptures also like, what was happening during that time? What did this mean in Eastern culture? Like, especially when you’re reading Genesis, you know, and it starts, like, illuminating stuff for you. And I think sometimes the way we read the Bible, we try to read it literally, you know, and it’s like—you have to approach it in a different way. And I think that’s how—because there’s no way in the world that we can kind of, you can get “this” from “that,” you know, sometimes…
Beth Moore 5:57
Well, that’s right. And here’s the other thing that I keep saying over and over. Of course Melissa is exaggerating on that, there are people that read, but one of the things that that I have a very, very strong passion about is that we not just read and re-read the same scriptures we’ve always read. You know, we all have our Cliff Note version of the Scriptures and some people will just go, “Because it’s in there, it’s in the scriptures, and if it says it [then] I believe it!” It’s like, that’s not all it says. You’re gonna have to widen your reading horizon!
Latasha Morrison 6:38
Right! And it’s so key because I think if we really teach the Word, you know, like the work that you’re doing is so key because it helps illuminate the truth of who God is to people who are searching. And I think that’s just really key in this work. And then we have like, one of the things I think is really good and it’s like where you talk about MJ (we were talking about Michael Jordan), but even as we talk about ourselves, like how you’ve grown in your work and in your ministry. And how you shifted your mission statement to reflect that—we’ve done the same thing with Be the Bridge, it was just so wide, we wanted it to really be narrow and specific. And so we grow as individuals, in the same way that we grow, you know, in our spiritual development and our walking in our sanctification. And so, I think it’s just important, just as one of the things that I’ve been watching over the last couple years or so, where you’ve always used your voice. You’ve always had to knock down barriers and obstacles and all those different things, but I think this thing that’s really standing out a lot in our community is watching you really use your voice as a leader as it relates to lifting up, you know, Gospel issues, you know? All Gospel issues, not just one Gospel issue!
Beth Moore 8:20
I can tell you what the difference was there. It took me a while, you have to get past a little bit and look back. But I have been bold within my sphere of influence, on certain subjects throughout…
Latasha Morrison 8:39
[Voiceover] Boldness. Beth brings up one step in our quest for reconciliation. And that point again is boldness. There’s a calling we have to be bold, which leads us as reconcilers, or bridge builders, to speak up. I love what she says here.
Beth Moore 8:55
…That when he did, and has called upon me, to be really outspoken, it is usually something I believe so much to my bones that I can bear the backlash. It’s like, it’s so important to me that what comes of it is just part of it. You know, I don’t enjoy it, I don’t like it. But every single time it’s been something that was—I mean a core belief that it was just no—there was not a single time that I have been really outspoken that I would have told you that I was going back on whether or not I should say it. It would have been that I could not have kept from it. And if that’s the case, then I can be at peace there. When I am not at peace, I’ve done this countless times, is when I rashly said something that was not necessarily—you know, I just said it because that’s sort of my opinion—instead of one of my core convictions, and I didn’t know what I’m talking about. And then, you know, you get yourself in a lot of trouble. But some of the things that you’re talking about were so core, so in the marrow of the bone, that I could not have kept from it. And so that has been, that’s been a blessing to me. Because when I go back and think…I’ve been asked so many times, do you regret this or that? On those occasions, I’m able to go, “You know, 100 times out of 100 I would have had to do it that same way!”
Latasha Morrison 10:41
Beth Moore 10:42
I don’t know why—I don’t know! Sometimes I don’t know. Am I right? Am I wrong? Have I lost my mind?!
Latasha Morrison 10:50
It’s a conviction, yeah.
Beth Moore 10:51
All I know is 100 times out of 100, I still would have reacted the same way.
Latasha Morrison 10:58
Another step in our quest for reconciliation is compassion. As reconcilers, developing the humility to move beyond just being sympathetic to becoming more empathetic, we can’t help but develop compassion. Listen to where our discussion goes from here.
Beth Moore 11:16
I’d be an idiot not to have humility about it, because I have been part of the problem. So for me to disengage myself from that and cast stones at my own house, do you know what I’m saying? And listen, you better believe I have compassion, right? I get it, but it still is the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Oh, man, I am…
Latasha Morrison 11:50
So because of your growth and because of you know, where you’ve missed it, there’s an understanding where, “I have to have compassion because someone had compassion for me and someone was patient with me.” So as a leader, that’s raising your voice, that’s remembering that road that you’ve also traveled, where you didn’t have all the information. You didn’t know, so you approach others with humility.
Beth Moore 12:17
You know, I would tell you that I have been on this journey my whole life long (and that’s another story and I’m not sure we have time for it.) But I was raised in Arkansas in the 60s. So I have a very long history (journey) through the subject that we’re talking about and rampant racism and injustice. So it’s been a lifelong process, but I will always see things in my own life as sort of “before and after” my crash course. And my real crash course has come in the last, I would say four years. And I spoke—I would have spoken on it way back when I wrote “Breaking Free.”
Latasha Morrison 13:14
Once again, Beth is showing her humility. That humility leads us to yet another step we must take in our quest for reconciliation. And that step being the daunting step of recognizing blind spots.
Beth Moore 13:29
One of the best ways I know to describe it is you just took a puzzle, and opened the box of a puzzle, and just pitched it all over the place. And then so you’ve got a couple of those pieces that have come together and you’re doing, you know, you’re responding to what colors and shapes are in those few pieces. And you’re responding to that. And I would say that closer to about four years ago, you know when you say that you’ve seen things you can’t unsee? That there’s no way [indistinguishable]…I felt that we hit such a terrifying place of going—the potential to move violently backward instead of forward. Not just not to make progress, but to move back. And I saw it in several realms, I also saw in the areas of misogyny where I thought, oh my goodness, it is not just a matter of women not being able to keep ground that we’ve made, it is a matter of losing ground we thought we had!
Latasha Morrison 14:49
Right, it’s fragile. It’s fragile.
Beth Moore 14:51
It truly was. And it was so blatant, and suddenly I could look across the floor…It puts emotion in my throat even to talk about the mental picture of it. I suddenly could look across the floor and see all of those [puzzle] pieces. And all of them starting to move together and what enormity it had, and how invasive in absolutely everything it was. And how we in the church were not only participating in it, but in certain respects, leading out. And it was horrifying. It was one of those things where you go, “Don’t tell me you don’t see it.” Do not tell me! And I still feel that way today. I just, how do you mean you can’t see it?
Many stop at recognizing blind spots, but then there is another step—and that is waking up. Facing the reality that we can’t remain asleep to areas that are congruent to our faith as believers. This becomes sticky, because waking up sometimes bleeds into waking up to what is happening politically. This can also cause a domino effect that may put your morality against your political leanings. As a reminder, faith should shape our politics, not our politics shaping our faith. Put on your seat belts for what Beth says here.
My alarm came with Trumpism. And I’d like to explain what I mean by that, and I’ve tried to get people to understand this and I hope some of our listeners can hear the nuance in this.
Our listeners are there too. They’re traveling the same journey with you.
Okay. Well, here’s my thing. I expected Donald Trump to be Donald Trump. And so I need somebody to understand it. Because I honestly, I expect worldly people to be worldly people. Like, you know, I don’t have the—where my alarm came in is with Christian leaders getting so wrapped up in it. And so much triumphalism in it. That’s where I started getting extremely undone and extremely worried. But it was in the crowds and rallies, as I watched on the screen, and I felt this…this is so dangerous.
This kind of…the best word I know to call it is just triumphalism. What does it mean? What does greatness mean? This whole feeling of going—wait a second, going backwards instead of forward? And oh my goodness, what you need to know is, I never did think, it wasn’t a matter of somebody that cast a vote for this candidate or that candidate. I didn’t vote for either candidate. Tasha, I didn’t care for either one of them. And that’s just me. And I do realize there are a lot of drawbacks to that kind of a philosophy, but I was, I was completely caught in order to stay with my convictions. I did not have any way to go there, and I went third party. But I will tell you, it was the whole tone of it that was so scary to me. And it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been in everyone that cast a vote a particular way—it was in the swell. It wasn’t just about the voting booth, it was in this swell of popularity and almost near—I mean it was nearly messianic to me! And what I felt as I looked and saw the tone of it and all, and not just from him, but surrounding it—that’s where my crash course began. I saw someone say on Twitter not too long ago that you can’t…that if you’re going to be a Christian, you have to be a Republican. There’s no other choice for you. And you know, here I am thinking, you know, you know what I’m going to tell you right now? Is that I am going to neither one of your parties. I am a Jesus follower.
Okay. Those of us in the trenches of this movement that we know as racial reconciliation, know that our biggest hurdle can be the thinking of the body of Christ, otherwise known as capital ‘C’ Church. So let’s hear Beth’s thoughts on what should be the Church’s course correction.
I’m talking about the church at large. We have stripped Christianity of Christlikeness.
We have a whole politic that is pro-Christian, that has been separated entirely from what is actually Christlike. And so when you pull Jesus out of it, and we are no longer imitating…He says in his Word, “As he was in this world we are to be in this world.” When we no longer imitate the Christ of the Gospels, where we see him in action, we know what he was like. We can see it! We can see it. We see it all over the scriptures, but it’s so clear to us in the Gospels. This is what he cared about, these were the margins that he went to, this was what turned him on his ear, this is what turned the tables over. We can see what he was like! And so when we have this thing of, that we are going to do what lifts us up, instead of what puts the cross in our hands to carry, we have upset the entire thing. We traded our prophetic witness for power, we have exploited the scriptures to serve our camp’s interests, we have confused divine favor with being on top. We got an idolatry problem! We got nationalism, we got misogyny…I mean it just goes on and on. From separating out, we’ve somehow, I don’t know how—I don’t know where we came up with it. When in the early church they were emulating, there’s even this scene where Peter is used by God in a little girl’s life, to bring her back. And he is literally even taking on the way—you see him imitating even exactly how Christ did it. They were trying so hard. “As he lives, we live.” We’re like him, his spirit lives within us. We have to recapture that.
This leads us into another step in our racial reconciliation journey. And that is the step of seeking repentance. I love what Beth says here.
There is no shame in repentance. And I want to say that to someone. We act like we are ashamed to repent. There is nothing, there is no greater gift that the Gospel has given us besides the indwelling spirit of Christ himself, and the privilege to repent. What does it hurt us to go, “Oh, my lord in heaven, I was wrong!” Which one of us has never been wrong? Which one of us has never been wrong about something huge and something that hurt people? To just go, “Man, I got this turned upside down. I had been on the wrong side of this.” What shame does that bring us just to go, “Man, I was deceived!” I just believe that our relief would be in our repentance. Our rest would be in our repentance. And just to be willing to do what it takes to just own up and go, okay, we have moved so far from Christlikeness in the Church. And listen, I want to say this too, Tasha. The only reason we’re recognizing this is because of the mercy and grace of God showing us. So why can’t we go, “Glory hallelujah, we are beginning to see it.” So let’s just go ahead and move with Christ and go forward.
There are some messages that are best received when communicated by someone of a similar race and/or cultural background. As a white woman, Beth has some very poignant thoughts she feels compelled to express to other white people. Take a listen.
For my white brothers and sisters, our mouth cannot overshoot our heart or our duplicity is going to be exposed.
Did y’all catch that? Beth said…
Our mouth cannot overshoot our heart, or our duplicity is going to be exposed.
I love First Peter, chapter one—I think I have it written down, verse 13, that says, “Therefore get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be revealed to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” The grace that will be brought to you. And I love it because it just says get your minds ready for action. I’m going to say this, I want to say it very, very upfront because my cost has been this much. There have been people that have paid dearly. And so I don’t put myself even in the same—I wouldn’t put myself in the same room with them. But it has cost a lot in comparison to the rest of my ministry. So you understand what I’m trying to say to you? For my experience, and for my journey, it doesn’t compare to others that have paid much higher costs, but it has been jarring in our very real consequences in the ministry. And personally, I mean, truly financial, social, familial. And I’m so thankful to say I’m not talking about—one of the greatest gifts that I have is that I have two daughters. We are very much three individuals, very very different from one another, but this is a place where we completely see eye to eye. We have different nuances on it and different nuances on politics, whatever that may be. But where this is concerned, girl, we’re all together. But yes in my extended family and all? Yeah. And it’s been something else. It’s not a joke. It’s not a joke in any way. But we accept our place in our lineage of faith. We want to know when we have finished up, all that’s gonna matter when we’re there [in heaven], that we did the will of Christ Jesus, that we were courageous in it and bold in it. There’s this verse when I memorized James, that just stuck out to me. James chapter five, and it says, “As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name,” (this is the part that gets me) “think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured.” It’s so poetic and so rhythmic, we almost miss it. But let me say it again. “Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured.” In other words, we’re going to read all those biographies. We’re going to love those movies. We’re going to see something like “Just Mercy” and we are going to get to the end of it, we’re going to go “Golly, I mean oh my gosh, that was so powerful.” And what James is saying is, think about that. If you think that you regard as blessed those who had that…be one of them! What’s keeping you? If that’s what you look at, and you go “Man, I admire that,” why don’t you become someone that someone could look to and go, “Man, they were courageous. I can be courageous too”?
As much as Beth was speaking at the moment to white Christians, I think that bit of wisdom she shared should lay across every nationality and cultural group. Those steps are: Boldness, compassion, recognition of blind spots, waking up, and seeking repentance. Of course, we know these are not all the steps, but it’s a good start. I can’t tell you how much I loved talking to author, evangelist, and leader Beth Moore. I hope our conversation sparks more conversations among you and others to advance the journey toward true racial reconciliation. Beth’s books, Bible studies and podcasts can be found on most streaming and retail platforms as well as in bookstores. I really hope you enjoyed today’s conversation. Until next time, let’s build bridges and not walls.
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’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 Trayvon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, GA. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the senior producer. Brittany Prescott was our transcriber. Please join us next time! This has been a Be the Bridge production.