Much More To Learn
“Why haven’t you done this before?” my husband asked me this morning as we were walking out the door. We were discussing the Come.Unity MLK Day gathering this Sunday and he could tell I was really looking forward to it. “Good question, honey. I actually have done this before, or something similar—a long time ago.”
Come with me to my first decade in Dallas. It’s the Friday before MLK Day at the award-winning DISD Middle School where my 8th grade English students are looking fancy. Women faculty members in stunning African dresses and headwraps drop off their contributions to the Faculty Potluck Lunch in the school library, where later they will rib me for passing by the crockpot of “chitlins” in the food line (as some of them pass it right along with me).
Our guest speaker at the special assembly is Dr. Tony Evans. He preaches (even in a public school!) the ministry of reconciliation in Jesus Christ at the heart of Dr. King’s life and work. Then the choir sings, far more gloriously than you might expect from a group of middle schoolers.
This day, I am aware that I am a minority here. The dignity of the day impacts me deeply, but most of the students in this 85% African-American school approach MLK Day with a much different context. Their grandparents tell civil rights stories firsthand. Their parents–a Dallas City Manager, a National PTA President, a Dallas City Council Member, a Presidential Campaign Manager among them–have different stories of the significance of this day. On this day, at this school, this teacher realizes how much she is learning, and how much more she has to learn.
Now, in 2017, I’m approaching MLK Day not as a teacher in an African-American community, but as a member of a church that has identified “Freedom in Reconciliation” as a core value worth seeking as we move together into the remarkable love of Jesus Christ. Out of that, I’m stirred in new ways to learn again, and to listen toward true understanding. There is so much more to hear.
If you agree—if you were stirred last Sunday in response to God’s Word or the panel discussion on racial reconciliation, here are some suggestions for possible next steps. (If you missed either, you can listen on the media page of our website soon.)
- Attend the Come.Unity gathering this Sunday.
- Invite someone of a different race to coffee or lunch.
- Go to the movies. See “Hidden Figures” or “Fences” and discuss them with a friend or co-worker who is African-American.
- Join a book discussion on the topic of racial reconciliation. We hope to start one or more of these soon and already have a number who are interested. Let us know if you’d like to be a part.