In episode 12 I talk to Tee and Erica Uzoigwe about racial reconciliation. Tee and Erica have been married for 11 years and have been serving in college ministry for 6 ½ years in Pine Bluff, AR at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff BCM. Erica grew up in Eldorado, AR and was saved right before she married Tee. Tee grew up in Little Rock, AR during one of the most dangerous times during the late 90’s when gangs were very dangerous. He was saved by the same pastor, whom he calls grandpa, that led Erica to Jesus. They have 3 beautiful children: Avaria who is 7, Jon who is 5, and Titus who is 3. They hope to adopt in the near future. I know Tee and Erica through the BCM network, and I was super blessed for the opportunity to sit down and talk with them.
Racial Reconciliation is a topic I’ve wanted to cover for a while, but it weighed heavily on my heart with all that has happened lately. It’s sometimes an uncomfortable topic to discuss because of its history in our culture and because of our own personal history. I wanted to take this time to let Tee and Erica share their personal experiences and what God has taught them. With a topic like this it’s important to respect a person’s experience, even if it’s different from yours. Please take the time to reflect on what we discuss in this episode, find the truths God is revealing to you through their story. Let’s be grateful for the opportunity to learn from each other.
What does the Bible say about racial reconciliation? - Speaking of the need for the conversation - “Where there is no dialog, there is no relationship.”; Jesus came for all (Acts 10:9-16 the story of Peter's vision); We all came from the same place. The separation came from sin; Racism is a form of hate; James 2:1 - "My brothers,show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory."; Story of Pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) - thinking “I am better than the next man.”; Story of good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37); This is a sin problem; Ephesians 2:16 - "and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility."
How do we reconcile the idea that God told the Israelites to be separate? - Be in the world but don’t be of the world; God wanted to keep the bloodline pure; History has shown us that we can misinterpret Scripture for our own purpose; It’s really about sin/holiness vs righteousness; It wasn’t about race/nationality but about being set apart; The problem is not skin, it’s sin. The good news is grace, not race; Preserving the line shows how God keeps his promises, he fights for his kids, and he loves his people. This is a reassuring picture that we can trust God; Galatians 3:28 - no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female since “you are all one in Christ Jesus” (and Colossians 3:11)
How has the church messed this up? - Voddie Baucham - on split in church deciding what to do with slaves; Church hasn’t understood that Christ has already broken down the dividing walls; in 1968 - only 11% of SBC churches allowed black members. Today, they may allow black members, but their hearts haven’t actually changed; Slave Bible - didn’t want actual freedom (Epic by Tim Challies); We have to deal with the sin in our heart. This keeps going because your heart hasn’t changed. We have to ask God to remove the hate and/or the unforgiveness. We forgive because God first forgave us (Ephesians 4:23) ; 2 Timothy 3:2 - "people will be lovers of self"; Romans 1:16 - We have a movement. The great commission is our movement. Churches are failing to take the movement to their people and the people who look different from them. It’s the gospel that breaks down the dividing walls; “We want the benefits of Jesus, we just don’t want to live like him.”
Personal experience - Going from a black church to a predominantly white church - Writing people off before we even know them. Had to give them a chance; Tee’s white "grandparents" - started a mission and loved him. Taught him how to navigate the landmines; Not being allowed to be baptized in a white church.
Why did you choose the church you’re at? - All major decision have come from where God has been leading us to go, even if they didn’t make sense to the people around us. Sometimes they didn’t even make sense to us; Sanctify us morel; Good Bible teaching pastor, helping others, good friends; God has called us to be missionaries of a sort to white people because of our background; God is using it to bridge the gap.
What do people mean by the phrase “I’m colorblind” and what does it mean to you? - They’re trying to say they love everyone.; You miss some of the beauty of God’s creation. And you miss part of someone’s culture; To not see color, you don’t see that person. Maybe you have selfish relationship with that person; God plastered the world with color; Jesus kept pressing on - speak the truth in love, love covers a multitude in sins; When we offended Jesus he actually moved in closer; What you meant for evil, God meant for good (Genesis 50:20) - he submitted to circumstances God allowed.
What can we be doing to pursue racial reconciliation? - You can’t do anything without the Lord. Pick up a daily regimen of reading the word and praying. (not only reading it but obeying it); God wants to help you...but you can’t choose how he helps you; Romans 12:1 - being a living sacrifice (how to truly love people like Jesus)' Head knowledge vs getting into the game; "People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care"; We are paralyzed with fear so God can’t steer us; Keep this in mind, you’re going to mess up. You’re going to fail. Anything we attempt to do for the Lord, we can mess up, but the Holy Spirit can come behind and fix.
How can we relate this to our kids? - What is your end goal for your kids; This is not a special box - it has to be through a Christ-centered view.; Teach them they’re fearfully and wonderfully made and God has placed them where they’re at. God has made you to bring Him glory; Teach them the Bible; Teach them a grace centered view of privilege (make sure you look up); Show them what it looks like to be missional to all people; "You may teach what you know, but people reproduce who you are"; Know their parents community by 3 or 4 so put a variety of people in their life so they don’t think they’re superior; Practice these things in your own life; Matthew 25:32 - "Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."
How does the idea of racial reconciliation relate to the gospel? - It is the gospel; I’m going to humble myself because this is not my life; "Look at the cross, not for what you can get out of it, but for who you can be out of it."; It’s the gospel, it’s been done, just walk in it; 2 Corinthians 5 (vs 18 - "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation"); We may not be able to change the whole world, but I can change mine; Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38 - 42) - Mary was at peace because she was sitting at the feet of Jesus.
What We're Reading
How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit - AW Tozer
The Fruitful Wife - Hayley DiMarco
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family - Paul David Tripp
I Can’t Believe You Just Said That - Ginger Hubbard
The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life - Rick Warren
The Scarlet Thread - Francine Rivers
Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture - Lesslie Newbigin
Prayer - Tim Keller
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself - Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
Passions of the Heart: Biblical Counsel for Stubborn Sexual Sins - John D. Street
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell
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