My original interest in racial reconciliation was sparked while listening to the podcast Seeing White and participating in a small group study at my church of Daniel Hill’s book White Awake. I have been interested and excited about Be the Bridge since I first heard about it a few years ago. At first, I approached mainly with curiosity, wondering if this might be a place for me to belong or learn or grow. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but bridge-building is so invitational I couldn’t look away.
What started as curiosity quickly grew into a hunger for deeper understanding and knowledge about the history of our nation and the heartbreaking truth of our inhumanity to man. I have lived a long time with concern for the way our white privilege and blatant racism have impacted Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), but I honestly didn’t have a clue about the vastness of the atrocities, the systems that put this all into place, the impact of white nationalism and the evangelical church’s complicity.
Obviously, I don’t have language that clearly states what my heart feels – and has felt – for many years. But the truth is I have always cared but done very little about changing things, short of the men and women I have voted for, both locally and nationally. Be the Bridge helped give me hope as I turned to a place where it wasn’t about me, but about how I could support my brothers and sisters who have truly suffered under the policies our government has perpetuated.
It’s strange to feel like a novice at age 66, yet my heart is hungry for healing and change.
Understanding that I can’t go back and fix what has been, I want to learn how to build bridges and make way for a change in the landscape. I love the charge that it is not up to my Black sisters to teach me what to do, but I do feel that it is my responsibility to listen to the hard, the ugly, the uncomfortable, the disturbing, the sickening and shameful experiences of BIPOC, for as long as a listening and compassionate heart is needed.
So, I’m on a journey. My church started a Be the Bridge group a few years ago, and that is one place where I will continue to grow and learn. The BTB Podcast is also a great way to learn, as are the numerous resources on the website or in the Facebook group. It’s strange to feel like a novice at age 66, yet my heart is hungry for healing and change. I’ve had younger people say to me, “Why do you care? You are old.” And I respond with: God’s image bearers matter, and the atrocious history of our nation needs to be reconciled. Plus I have children and grandchildren, and being a bridge into a new way of being with people who are “different” than me matters, and it is the way of Jesus.