“I think this has hit a nerve” were the words I heard this morning from Perry Fields, our 84 year-old African-American brother and Teleios board member; referring to killing of George Floyd and the country’s visceral response. When a nerve is working, it feels both pleasure and pain.
The events of these past weeks have really hit a painful nerve in me, challenging me again to reflect on my own privilege as a white man and my areas of blindness. This nerve has helped me reflect on the implicit systems of racism in our culture and the need for change.
My relationship with Marvin Charles, founder of DADS (Divine Alternatives for Dads Services), these past 18 years has been an organic learning, rooted in friendship. With all the ups and downs of friendship, it continues to hit a nerve of joy & deep pleasure for me. Marvin, an African-American, continues to teach me and connect me with so many of his friends. At times we see things differently, but our unity and brotherhood in the love of Christ keep us in a deepening friendship.
My hope and prayer for our Teleios fellowship (and for our nation) is that we will also be able to have a new way of seeing and a being with each other; that we would have new “eyes to see”. My prayer is for the power of the Holy Spirit to tenderize our hearts toward the other, who is my brother. I hope that we can have courageous discussions around privilege, bias, and racism in our groups. I think this is one part of the teleios of Teleios- that it is spiritual work and part of “working out our salvation”.
This is at the heart of the gospel, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two” (Eph 2-14, 15). My challenge to all of us is to not let this moment pass us by, but make time to pray, think, ponder, confess, read, & discuss these issues and face how we might better love our brother on an individual and community level. I am convinced that the foundation of our identity is in the love of Christ, that transcends ethnicity, gender, class, age. Jesus upends and redefines all that separates us and is calling us into his “new humanity”!
Grateful for each of you- let’s keep growing!
- Marvin and I were a part of a panel discussion on June 10th, that might be an encouragement to you: “What We Can’t Do Alone, We Can Do Together”
- A recommended book that might help us in this journey: