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I remember the first time my mom ever had my brother and I sit down and watch Eyes On The Prize during black history month.

If I’m being honest, I felt a little corny piled onto her bed watching the old documentary. I knew about the Civil Rights movement, knew about my history. I didn’t need to be lectured.

And then the story of Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old who was brutally murdered after flirting with a white woman, flooded the television screen.

We were the same age, Emmett Till and I, and yet there I sat safe at home crying over his death, and here I sit, ten years later, afforded a safety he never had.

Trillia speaks of a similar experience in Chapter 3 of United:

“I was angry. I was angry that America had allowed slavery to be a catalyst for such evil and hate. I was angry that anyone would feel justified in doing something so horrific to such a young boy… and even now, as I think about it, my eyes begin to water with tears and my heart grows heavy.”

The quest for diversity in our local congregations and in our relationships often begins with a heavy heart. As we look at the history that has so often marred and divided, we are justifiably heartbroken over the pains of the past.

But we don’t stay there.

The blood of Christ calls us from complacent sorrow or destructive anger to vibrant unity. This unity is built on the foundation of who we are as a family of faith and nurtured by a willingness to be vulnerable about our past struggles and future hopes in this area.

This unity begins, foremost, with prayer. And as we pray, as the Lord opens up opportunities for us to reach outside of our comfort zones, we make headway.

  1. How important do you think it is to discuss America’s past as we seek reconciliation and diversity?
  2. Are these conversations that you find yourself dreading our looking forward to?
  3. How have your experiences shaped your desire for diversity within the local church?

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