Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker

S3 E3 | Our Different Stories Divide Us with Patricia Raybon

June 30, 2020 Patricia Raybon Season 3 Episode 3
Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker
S3 E3 | Our Different Stories Divide Us with Patricia Raybon
Chapters
Love Is Stronger Than Fear with Amy Julia Becker
S3 E3 | Our Different Stories Divide Us with Patricia Raybon
Jun 30, 2020 Season 3 Episode 3
Patricia Raybon

How do white parents talk with their children about race and racism? Why do white evangelical and Black Christians seem so socially and politically divided? How can we move towards one another in love even when we disagree? Author Patricia Raybon and Amy Julia discuss these questions and more in this conversation about race, books and reading, parenting, and faith. (Also, check back next week for a bonus episode where Amy Julia talks with her kids about what they’ve learned from talking about racism and injustice at home.)

Show Notes:

Patricia begins by talking a bit about her background. Go here to learn more about her career in journalism and as a professor of journalism.We mention my Patricia begins with talking a bit about her history. Go here to learn more about her writings and career in journalism and as a professor of journalism.

We talk about my essay series about racial healing on my Christianity Today blog and the connection to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Patricia wrote an article entitled “A White Cop and a Black Lady” that was published on my CT blog following this essay series.

We mention Brené Brown, Kelli Trujillo, and Howard Thurman.

We talk about mortgage discrimination, economic disparities, and white privilege.

Patricia recommends reading Alex Haley’s book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, as well as Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Patrician mentions an article she wrote entitled “Will We Judge Young Looters or Love Them?” 

Find Patrica Rabyon online: patriciaraybon.com. She also writes for Our Daily Bread Ministries, DaySpring’s (in)courage, Charles Stanley’s InTouch Ministries, and Christianity Today.

If you would like to read more from Patricia, she recommends starting with My First White Friend, and then reading I Told the Mountain to Move, which is a prequel to Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace. Two additional books that Patricia recommended to me but not mentioned in the podcast are: Born a Crime and Cry, the Beloved Country.

This podcast season is called White Picket Fences, and it is based on my book White Picket Fences: Turning Towards Love in a World Divided by Privilege. Learn more about White Picket Fences! Also check out free RESOURCES to accompany White Picket Fences—action guide, discussion guides—that are designed to help you respond.

Show Notes Transcript

How do white parents talk with their children about race and racism? Why do white evangelical and Black Christians seem so socially and politically divided? How can we move towards one another in love even when we disagree? Author Patricia Raybon and Amy Julia discuss these questions and more in this conversation about race, books and reading, parenting, and faith. (Also, check back next week for a bonus episode where Amy Julia talks with her kids about what they’ve learned from talking about racism and injustice at home.)

Show Notes:

Patricia begins by talking a bit about her background. Go here to learn more about her career in journalism and as a professor of journalism.We mention my Patricia begins with talking a bit about her history. Go here to learn more about her writings and career in journalism and as a professor of journalism.

We talk about my essay series about racial healing on my Christianity Today blog and the connection to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Patricia wrote an article entitled “A White Cop and a Black Lady” that was published on my CT blog following this essay series.

We mention Brené Brown, Kelli Trujillo, and Howard Thurman.

We talk about mortgage discrimination, economic disparities, and white privilege.

Patricia recommends reading Alex Haley’s book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, as well as Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Patrician mentions an article she wrote entitled “Will We Judge Young Looters or Love Them?” 

Find Patrica Rabyon online: patriciaraybon.com. She also writes for Our Daily Bread Ministries, DaySpring’s (in)courage, Charles Stanley’s InTouch Ministries, and Christianity Today.

If you would like to read more from Patricia, she recommends starting with My First White Friend, and then reading I Told the Mountain to Move, which is a prequel to Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace. Two additional books that Patricia recommended to me but not mentioned in the podcast are: Born a Crime and Cry, the Beloved Country.

This podcast season is called White Picket Fences, and it is based on my book White Picket Fences: Turning Towards Love in a World Divided by Privilege. Learn more about White Picket Fences! Also check out free RESOURCES to accompany White Picket Fences—action guide, discussion guides—that are designed to help you respond.

Note: This transcript is generated using speech recognition software and does contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Speaker 0 (0s): Hi, I'm Amy, Julia Becker. And I'm your host for the love is stronger than fear podcast. This is our white picket fences season. And today I get to talk with Patricia Rayvon. Patricia wrote the foreword to white picket fences, and it is in some ways a conversation, our conversation today, but also the conversation we have through the pages of the book are also an example of what I think 

Speaker 1 (27s): Both of us hope will be happening across America, where white and black people will have honest, gentle, gracious, but not holding back conversations about what it means to be black and to be white in America. What our experiences have been, how we can learn from one another, how we can grow together. I'm so grateful for Patricia, for the honest stories that she shares here about her own life. I'm so grateful that she has felt a call from God to be a minister of peace and reconciliation in a broken world. 

And I'm so glad that you are going to get to hear from her and listen to her today. I am here with my friend, Patricia Rayvon, and I'm so glad to see you today. I get to see you on zoom, even though our listeners, just get to hear what we say. And I would love for you to introduce yourself and your work, which is a large body of work at this point, but just give us some of the highlights of who you are and what you care about and what you've written and what you speak about and all of those great things. 

Speaker 2 (1m 33s): Well, thank you. And thank you to everybody who's listening. I love calling you my friend. So I'll start here. I'm grateful that that's what's happened over the years. Work-wise I write? And the impetus to write is so curious to me, Emmy Julian, because I grew up with parents who knew I wanted to do that, but never said that's the most impractical thing I've ever heard. You know, they supported that idea. 

So I started what I do as a newspaper reporter, because that was the one place I could. I figured out I can make a living while I did what I love to do, which is write through journalism. And, and, and then when I have enough work years and enough, enough birthday, years to officially retire, I did bat. But since then, I've been working, writing full time for audiences of faith. 

Speaker 1 (2m 35s): Yeah. And it's funny, cause I know that piece of you most that piece of writing for audiences of faith, I guess in your full time retirement, where I know you work very hard. And I think that we knew of each other as writers before we actually met in person. And I think that we encountered each other through my blog when it was at Christianity today. And I remembered this. You, I think just pitched an essay to me when I was blogging over there. 

So Ferguson had happened when Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson that summer, but before even he was shot, I of course not knowing this was going to happen, had started a series on my blog on the idea of racial healing and reconciliation within the church. And then in the middle of that series, he was shot, which just amplified the attention to this series. And I remember, cause I interviewed John Perkins as a part of that. 

And there were all these different writers who were willing to contribute and it was really beautiful. And then I think in the heels of that, you sent me this essay or it was, you were redirected to me. And the name of the essay is a white cop and a black lady. And when I went back and reread that essay, especially in light of some of the recent events that we have been all paying attention to as a nation and around the world, it made me think, gosh, I wish that we did not have recent events that made this essay really relevant, but we do. 

And so I did want to start, even though we're going to talk about like children's books and raising kids and things like that in this interview, I want to start here to just ask you to just talk about that essay and that encounter that you described in that essay as well as like, how do you read that now? And how do you think about the conversation that you had with a white cop six years ago in light of where we are now as well? 

Speaker 2 (4m 34s): Well, it's almost scary how current that piece is. If somebody could run it today and it would sound completely timely. I was at a marketing conference at the Broadmoor hotel. I live in Colorado and I've been a session. Police thought Fritz was there. I didn't know he was back cause he was wearing a kilt because he that's kind of his persona. And he had a business. He was there to learn how to market his business, which was to help police officers who have financial problems. 

And so he was talking about that. And then at the end of his comments during the discussion time, he said something about, and besides cops only trust cops, the comment caught my attention and I couldn't stop thinking about it. So at the end of the conference, I happened to see him and I walked up to him and ask him, could we talk? And I asked him about what he said because I was an African American, you know, right away when he said cops only trust hops. That affirmed my experience with police officers. 

I didn't find them open hearted and warm to me as a person of color. 

Speaker 1 (5m 47s): I want to, before we talk, because I want to go there next, but I just want to say the other thing in that essay that you talk about is that you did not entirely change his mind and he did not, you know, get you entirely to his side, but you had a human encounter where you saw each other and you listened to each other and it did do some shifting in both of your hearts, especially when you discovered you were also both people of faith. And that to me is the hopeful aspect of that essay. 

Is that in those encounters, it's not, Oh, all of a sudden I could see the world completely differently. And I agree with you on all points it's but at the same time, I can start to see you as not just a fellow human being, but a person to understand even a little bit of where you're coming from. And he certainly was. I think you help him see more of the human dimensions of what, a comment like that, how that would affect someone who felt like, Oh, there's no way you could ever trust me. 

What does that say for my safety? And anyway, I just, I love the way you approached that encounter and wrote about it. And then from there we met in person at a conference we've been able to be in a writer's group together. But I think back on these past six years and the work that has happened in my life and in our family, and I really will say, I'm not sure it would have happened without your gentle, but persistent willingness to have a voice in my life to ask those same types of questions about, well, why is that a, your assumption or what will you say a little bit more about that? 

We reflect a little more deeply. I read your book, which is called my first white friend, a book that came out now 20 years ago. It will be 25 years in print next year. Oh wow. Okay. I didn't even realize that. That's amazing. And I loved that book. I loved your honesty. I loved your writing. I think it too just is something that has stood the test of time. Having looked at it recently, but I also realized that it's not just that I had met a black woman who was a good writer, but that also she was older and wiser than me as a Christian and as a writer. 

And so I've just been appreciative of you as a mentor and your graciousness throughout that time. So I am grateful for all of that. And I want to bring us into this chapter in white picket fences, which is a chapter two, it's called mirrors and doors. You feature prominently in it. Because when I realized as a mom of young children, that I was only reading chapter books with white kids or animals as main characters, I looked at our bookshelf and I thought, huh, I don't want to only have books that are mirrors, right? 

That only reflect our experience as a family of white people in a predominantly white town out in the country. I want to have doors. I want our books to be doorways into other times, other places, other people. And so I said, I'm going to go find some books that have diverse array of characters. And this will be pretty easy. What I discovered was twofold. One that the history of children's literature has not been a history of representation of the wide array of Americans when it comes to race and ethnicity. 

So I couldn't go back and find like, Oh, these are the hundreds of books that I've just missed as a white person. They just weren't many of them were not published over the years. But then the ones that I did told stories of racial injustice of hardship, usually it involved death, certainly some measure of really hard stuff. And I thought, well, shouldn't I protect my kids from that. I don't want to expose my kids to that. And I didn't realize that there was another way to see it altogether. 

So I remember thinking, Oh, well, I'm sure that my friend Patricia has experienced this in reading to her children. She's older and wiser than me. I'll reach out and ask. And so I want to bring us to that moment when I just asked you as a friend, how did you, what did, what books did you read to your kids and how did you talk with your kids and grandkids about violence and about the struggle in American history? I'd love to hear just what your response was to me and how you, how you did do that in your own life. 

Speaker 2 (10m 17s): Well, it was in your question to me was so interesting. And Amy, Julia, it was before the idea of privilege as we've been discussing it in recent years, had really heated up that whole debate. But to put words on it, that's what that was my first thought. When I read your question was that it was coming from a place of privilege that even to ask, gee, what do you tell children about what's going on? 

And I remember in trying to answer your, I was trying to say for children of color, there's never not a time when they don't know that this is happening. Because part of being part of living in a dominant culture, that's not yours has to do with no understanding it so you can survive it. So however, parents of color articulate that even to young children, it's always in the atmosphere. 

And then as preschoolers, they encounter bigotry and meaning things because of who they are ethnically. And so even before kindergarten, if children are in a book and Brown children are in a room with white children, then likelihood of them encountering racism. I mean, encountering prejudice is sky high. So already the conversation has started. Yeah. And so we, you know, I think we, I was trying to say that to you, but then there's something else that I've been thinking about more recently and that is that kids care a lot about right. 

And wrong and about people being good and fair. And so I think their heart and little hearts are very open to knowing about what's going on in the world, in our country with regard to race relations. And so a white parent may say, you know, do you know any Brown people because that's how children think that way. And in terms of naming people by color and may may say, yeah, a lot of us, sometimes they may not, but if you courage them, they say, Oh yeah, I'm not. 

So and so, and then you can just enter the, know what happens to people who have, who look like that. And then you can just have, I don't think we, as, depending on a child's age, I heard a psychologist say this recently, you know, you wouldn't tell a three year old, but the brutal details of lynching, but even a three or four year old understands right. And wrong and fairness. 

Speaker 1 (12m 56s): Yeah. Can you talk about that a little bit? I think that's a great example as far as lynching, as like a significant aspect of American history and of course of African American history. And yet also one that as you just said is filled with brutal details. And so for you as a parent, as a grand parent, who is wanting to both protect your children and grandchildren, so they know how to go out into the world and be, and operate safely in a white dominated society. 

So you want to give them information that will actually protect them, but you also want to protect their hearts from some of the horrors, especially in terms of traumatizing them with stories at such a young age. How, I don't know if you have a specific example or even just a general way of thinking about that balance. 

Speaker 2 (13m 46s): I think once you're into the conversation, then, then it becomes one of reminding them or asking them, how would you, if you saw somebody being bad to are being mean to, you know, such and such friend in your school, how could you help that friend feel better so that, you know, we bring it down to their level and allow them to wrestle with what they would do, but not to say anything at all. It leaves their children totally unprepared and incompetent with regard to thinking about race, which is race relations, which is baked into our culture. 

And so I, you know, I think about as a, as a writer, Amy Juliet, I always am aware of not wanting to write down or talk down to people. And so I think that's, we can think about children in the same way. They're very smart and bake is there to know what's going on. And that is necessarily mean trotting out all the horror and brutality, but they're part of this culture too. And they deserve to know what's going on. 

Speaker 1 (14m 55s): Do you know the book, the book, the story of Ruby bridges, it's a children's book. And you know, it tells the story of Ruby bridges, but that was a book that was really helpful for me because the little girl Ruby is six years old and there's a lot that is mean and hateful that happens in that book, but there is not brutal violence, but it was a way into, as you just said, for my children as white children to say like, what do you mean they wouldn't go to school with her because of the color of her skin and because of her family and, you know, and that was, I think a book that helped us have a conversation along the lines of what you're talking about that led it then connected when they got a little bit older and we did go and learn about lynching and actually see some of those more horrific things. 

There was some preparation for that in terms of how our history has worked itself out. It wasn't just this totally shocking now that I'm older, but actually that's in keeping with what I was already learning. 

Speaker 2 (15m 58s): I also think that it helps our children understand that our history and our country is complicated. History is complicated. And so, you know, a lot of my white friends, a lot of it because of the way education is set up, you've heard the term whitewashed. So a lot of people have that whitewashed history. So this saves our children from the simplistic idea of nationhood and how it plays out. 

And it also affirms their ability to understand their right to know and understand the world that they live in. Yeah. 

Speaker 1 (16m 37s): Well, it's interesting. Cause you're talking about both the big picture, like moral and ethical issues of just fairness, which can play themselves out when it comes to race relations and history, but they also, it plays itself out in sibling rivalry. It plays on all these different levels. And so it's this combination of having some ethical and moral framework, as well as having some historical framework, even if it's not linked to all of the details of all of the things that have happened. 

And when you put those things together, kids I think are able to enter into their context appropriately and pull from the stories plus the conversations and what they've learned in the past. I'm want to move, go back just for a second. Cause you said racism at one point and then corrected yourself and said prejudice. And you and I were talking about this before we even started that understanding a difference between prejudice and racism is something that's getting, I think really confused right now in our culture, the language we use. 

Would you just say a little bit about that? Because I think for me, that's been really helpful to try to distinguish between prejudice and racism and the way the word racism being used in different contexts in our culture. Right now. 

Speaker 2 (17m 53s): It's so important to think about that because a lot of people use the word racism when they mean prejudice, right? Which we all have in different areas. Racism, as I understand it is about power and it's about policy and it's about the people have the power to make the policy. And so you'll hear people say, well, black people are racist too. Well, we don't have any power. We don't have any power in this culture. 

And so to encourage ourselves to sit down for a minute and make sure that when we're talking about these things, we're using the right terms. I often will say bigotry when I'm talking about prejudice, but reserve the word racism for where it really applies and Mattson systems. And there's not a system in the country that's not impacted you and I were talking about the real estate housing industry until the fair housing act was passed in 1968. 

I think it was banks would not write mortgages for African Americans, even if they had the money for neighborhoods where the home values would escalate. And so the only place you could get a mortgage was, you know, in a crumbling red line community remaining that the, the wealth that accumulates so beautifully for middle class white Americans who were able to get mortgage was not available to millions and millions of African Americans think about, you know, the, the asset wealth of white Americans at this point is 11, 11 and a half times that what it is for African Americans and a lot of that's tied to real estate. 

Sure. Yeah. 

Speaker 1 (19m 43s): Real estate and generational wealth because when a house gets passed to the next generation, it's all, even if they don't keep the house, but sell it, there's a generational wealth that gets passed along. 

Speaker 2 (19m 56s): So that's just one element, you know, and for people who doubt that, if it take five minutes and Google the words of discrimination in, and then co Pitt pick any one element of our society, education, the environment, healthcare, the armed forces, and in five minutes, you'll have thousand examples of how that has happened and it's still happening now. Right? So doing our homework is something that is vital to having conversations about race. 

Cause a lot of people know that just that discrimination happens, but they don't know much more than that. Well, and I think a lot of, I think there are two things, a lot of white people grow up with. One is a sense that being racist is bad. And so 

Speaker 1 (20m 47s): To have a conversation about racism 

Speaker 2 (20m 49s): And certainly to see myself as being implicated in it is to say I'm a bad person. I'm morally decrepit, you know, and, and that's really hard. And so I think that's one barrier. Another is that when we are talking about racist attitudes and actions of saying something hateful, or even consciously feeling something hateful that if that's racism, then I can put it in a box that doesn't apply to me because I don't feel or say those things. 

Right. And what you're talking about is something much broader and deeper. And it's really important for us all to understand that and recognize the ways we participate in it, but it takes some, both cognitive. And again, actually like ethical work, I think to get there and some human work of just like knowing people and hearing stories. So there's kind of this like head piece and a heart piece to it, especially if you're a person who benefits from the system the way it is, you know, if you're, if you have white privilege, whether a person acknowledges that or not, why would you want to change it? 

It works really well for people who are on the benefits side. And so, you know, that's probably operating too. I, I think 

Speaker 1 (22m 13s): You're right. I mean, obviously you're right that on this and not just on the surface, I think there in terms of just those basic needs being met, obviously there is a level of just wealth and security, like psychological security that you need as a human being and white people are far more likely to have those things. But I also think, and this obviously is so much of what white picket fence is, is about like the reason for white people to care about this outside of just like ethics and morality in an abstract sense is how much it is harming everyone for us to continue to operate that like injustice harms us all, certainly in terms of just those human relationships of being cut off from one another, but also in the fear and anger and grief and loss that we experience. 

I think the other thing that I think is remarkable about you in all of this is that you are able to hold all of this knowledge and a lifetime of experiences of racism and of prejudice. So both those individual moments of being singled out negatively for your racial identity, but also this broader sense of what it means to be a black person in America. And what you often do is graciously honor, white people and connect in, especially as a person of faith, that's been so much of your work and your writing and putting out there again and again, writing a book called my first white friend, talking about your own sense of prejudice and what it took for you to love out of that. 

So I'd love to just talk about you as a Christian specifically in this space, which obviously is important to so many African Americans in our country. The not just personal faith, but actually the long history of the African American church in America. And I would just love to hear a little bit about how you came to faith, your, what it was like growing up in the church, what it means for you now to have faith shaped the way you think about race justice healing. 

So I'd love just a little picture of who you are as a woman of faith. 

Speaker 2 (24m 29s): Well, I think the question lets me describe my own upbringing, but also the way sort of black theology or how in this country, African Americans who are believers experience God. And so if I, if I don't cover both of those things, bring me back. But first I did grow up on a Pew, you know, 98% of African Americans when I'm going to up, my family were active in their church. And so I spent every Sunday and Sunday school and listening to sermons, listening to black preaching and black gospel music and loved nothing better. 

And the sanctuary of that, you know, it's not coincidence that there were so many bombings of black churches, you know, that was a place where people found agency and affirmation and education and acceptance and love. And so that's, that was that I grew up in that and I consider it a priceless gift that my parents provided that for me. 

Yeah. Because not only did I make lifelong friends and you know, all the things that go and found affirmation, but I was able to experience God in a way that I'm not sure, I don't know, you can correct me. I'm not sure that people who don't have their back against the wall is how a third one would say, experience the divine. And so the theology of the African American is that God is liberated and that Jesus is a disruptor. 

And so that's theologically, even if we don't articulate it that way, that's an exciting way to understand the God you serve and then to live in that and walk in that. Yeah. Somebody on a Facebook and inter action recently said to me, it's a white man who was trying to change my mind said, well, what do you think Jesus would say? And I said, well, as a middle Eastern Jew with Brown skin, he probably would have said, you know, the spirit of the Lord is upon me. 

He's anointed me to free those who are oppressed and set at Liberty. And so goodness to the poor. And so I'm, I that's, you know, I think not that we don't African Americans don't experience Jesus as the good shepherd and you know, those kind of softer, benign Jesus on the church pants with the blonde hair and the blood. Yeah, because of our need for daily safety, we interface with Jesus in a very different way. 

And so in terms of being able to be gracious to people, it's an understanding through Christ that he came because everybody needed him. And when people are being unkind, they're one of those people. And then the other part for me, you know, my, I have a low conflict personality. And so it's not my nature to just be in people's face and, you know, being, having that kind of confrontation all the time. The other thing is that I'm introspective. 

And so I'm always curious to know where people are coming from. Even if they're saying something ugly, you know, hurt people, hurt people. So, you know, I'm willing, I guess, by faith to try to learn more about somebody who's coming at me that way. 

Speaker 1 (28m 19s): Well, I'm really grateful because you've certainly done that with me as far as just a willingness to ask questions and to hang in there when I've said insensitive things or just ignorant made ignorant remarks or questions. And I know you've done that with many, many other people I do want to ask because I've felt really grieved. This is true in general, but really in the past couple of weeks, I would say about the sense of division between white evangelicals and white, progressive Christians and black Christians. 

Like the sense of we have so much that we share as far as a common scripture acromion, even what you just said in terms of Jesus as a liberator, I think white evangelicals might often interpret that in a more interior way and not in a political systems way, but there's still so much there. So many places where I feel like there could be connection and learning and growth. And so I'm just wondering what you think, divides white evangelicals and black Christians. And I know we're speaking in really broad terms and they're wonderful, beautiful examples where there's not a divide, but on a general sense. 

And is there hope for healing and where do we find that hope? 

Speaker 2 (29m 32s): Well, what divides, this is our different stories. We have different stories. I taught at the right conference one time. And then they actually the university itself, I don't think put the conference on actually Brian, Elaine. Yeah. But on the comp yeah. Anyway, it was at, on that campus. And there was a young lady in one of my workshops writing about racial healing. And she, at one point I know she was crying. And so I asked her if she would tell us why. 

And she said, I grew up in evangelical church and for her, it was in California in Sunday school and church every Sunday. And she said, you know, for 18 years, until she went off to college and she said, I never heard a sermon on racism. And I never heard anything about maybe a biz. And then, you know, she went off to college and felt that she had realized with the silo in which he lived in and raised. 

And then the, the story that in which she was walking, didn't match up at all with what other people have experienced. And so for me, as I guess, because I'm the storyteller, I tried to be. The thing that I see first is people trying to talk across their different narratives. One group is saying, make America great again. Or if this is, we want to support our, our brave police officers and found that for a great flag and you have another people group whose story doesn't line up with that thinking at all. 

So how do we then meet each other across those different narratives? And for me, it happens well, when we are willing to do it, I love what Bernay Brown says. It's hard to hate people up close because of the tenants of our faith, their opportunities. Well, and we have tons of coffee. So to do, to do what Jesus did so beautifully, which is table ministry, just in terms of how to fix this is for people of faith, but who have different racial backgrounds to sit down at the table and just meet each other. 

Maybe not even first about race. Right. But just to say, hello, what if every, even one church in every American city did back on a certain day, you know, come to the table day and just meet over coffee. I've been in a lot of evangelical churches over the years and people just seem so glad and that opportunity just to meet. So I could, I guess, attempt Amy Julia to answer that question in a more sophisticated or academic way, but looking to Jesus, you know, the author and finisher, I'm just so struck at his willingness to just meet people and ask a question. 

Can you see anything? I, that question, he asked them a blind man. Right. And so he has set the model and we're our invitation is to, to follow it. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. How does that strike you? Do you think that sounds 

Speaker 1 (32m 54s): No. I think so. I've been thinking about this both in terms of churches and in terms of education and the ways in which I'm actually spoke in a different podcast interview with my friend, David Bailey about collaborative spaces, which is a little more like formal version. I think of what you're talking about, but having, especially when you have a shared purpose, even if that shared purpose is following Jesus, right? Like, gosh, how can we create a space where it is safe for everyone involved to have a conversation that builds relationship? 

And that potentially even does something like, Hey, let's go build a house together or let's pray together about violence in our communities, or let's study the Bible together. I mean, how interesting would it be for a group of, from a predominantly black church in a predominantly white church to say, we're going to do a joint Bible study because what am I going to hear? I'm going to hear that when you read this parable, you read it with a very different lens and I'm going to say, Oh my gosh, I never saw it that way. I mean, and, and then from there, maybe that makes me more open to you seeing politics or government differently and listening to that and wondering where God might be in that encounter. 

So I think there's a tremendous amount of hope in that, but it will take those courageous efforts. And honestly, just some like time and organizing, because we are so disassociated from each other in terms of neighborhoods, for all sorts of reasons, we don't need to go into so that we don't have those just more natural encounters on the playground or on the, you know, in the supermarket or even in our church pews. And so, but I do think we can, what I've found as similarly, I'm not a conflict person. 

I don't think of myself as like an activist. I'm also very introspective and just the like smallest gestures that I have made, especially towards people of faith. Because again, we have that shared bond who are different from me have been received. I mean, far too graciously, I would say in terms of what I deserve, but it's led to these like beautiful friendships that again have gotten me to say, Hey, I'm not totally convinced that this privilege thing is actually a benefit because I've missed out. 

I have missed out on all of you, you know, so, and I know that I don't mean to discount the ways in which privilege has benefited me. I just mean that living in a homogenous world in the church and in my neighborhood and in my growing up did cut me off from a tremendous amount of beauty and from the expansiveness of who God is and how I can get to know him and be a part of the work he's doing in love. So I agree. And the Bible is such a great point of contact. 

I just finished a piece for Kelly Trujillo at Christianity today, a Bible engagement among African Americans, which is highest and any group in the country. So if you, you know, if somebody says to black believers, we want to do a Bible study together, it's church to church. They're there, we're there. Yeah. My friend Ann Spang there, I don't know if you know, and she's an author. 

She wrote women of the Bible, the first woman of the Bible book, when, when published by mail publishers were saying, who's gonna read this. So, but anyway, she's still active and she's doing a, an online bubbles Bible study on Hagar and <inaudible>. And so the panelist, she's invited a, a diverse panelists to wrestle over those books. And so that what you're talking about, and I believe that Zondervan is going to help sponsor that. 

Awesome. So your idea about Bible engagement across race, it's so exciting to me because it does happen to this resource that we all love so much. Right? Right. Absolutely. So, well, I, another faith question I have for you is just, I feel like as again, as a white Christian, I did not grow up with experiences of lament, which is certainly a biblical type of prayer. And I also did not grow up with an understanding of how to pray and express righteous anger. 

But I have been learning from my black Christian friends about both limitation and anger. And I'm curious to hear from you, what is causing you to lament? Where do you feel angry, but also what do you do with those feelings and experiences as a person of faith? 

Speaker 2 (37m 43s): Well, my limits before I mentioned, you know, Amy, Julia, that I'm a huge Howard Thurman thing I do. And so he says, there's something he says about asking God to bless fellows who are working for a friendly world of friendly people under a friendly sky. Actually, he said friendly men, but I think today he would say friendly people. But the idea is one that I love that isn't here yet, but I am grateful, but prayerfully, I can ask God, keep asking God for that because he can accomplish anything. 

So I find that personally, I don't spend a lot of time chronological time in that set in sad areas, as you know, they make me feel, but I do almost every day, I asked the Lord to help us as a nation, be a friendly, you know, I heard Martin Luther King son the other day say, you know, what, if America was a place where everybody had a chance to be their best and not be judged and walk freely. 

And you know, he was naming all these, these positives and the way he described it, you know, I thought, yeah, that's really weird. Aren't we trying to get to that? Yeah. I pray for that in terms of anger, my anger would be against our spiritual enemy because, you know, I see that we're all under attack. Yeah. But, but God, you know, African Americans have a, but God theology, you know? Yeah. This is going on, but God, Hey man, I love that. 

That's my answer. 

Speaker 1 (39m 36s): I'd love to bring us back to books for just a minute, because again, a lot of our relationship started because I was trying to find books to read with my kids and I didn't know how to do it. And it's interesting because as an adult, because I was an African American studies minor in college and I really just loved African American literature for whatever reason as an adult, I was reading a lot of books that actually were both from the Canon of African American literature, as well as some nonfiction. But I still wanted to end our conversation just by asking for people, white people, especially who haven't had a lot of exposure to African American literature and history or white people who would like to expand their library with their children. 

Are there any books that you would recommend people look up or start with maybe some that aren't currently on the bestseller list because amazingly the bestseller list right now is filled with these types of books, which is awesome. But I'm still curious just from your experience, what you'd recommend. 

Speaker 2 (40m 35s): Well, a book I always forget to remind people about is Alex Haley's roots, which, you know, in the seventies, when it was dramatized and serialized on ABC imagery, it was a TV moment. You know, that was before cable. 

Speaker 1 (40m 52s): Remember my parents watching it. It's interesting. They, they would not let me watch it because they were worried. I would be, you know what I mean? Just back to our conversation. But I remember that they were like, get out of the room, we're watching roots, you know, so yes, I know about that. 

Speaker 2 (41m 10s): Well, you know, for people who might not want to struggle through Tony Morrison and I don't mean that in a negative way, so she was one of your professors, but you know, Bruce is, well-written, it's just the subtitle is I believe something about the story of an American family. And so it really gives people a deep dive into slavery and through the eyes of one family and the writing is assessable, but it's also, well, I as well done. 

And so it would be for the summer, a great summer reading for a family to read together. And then you can maybe look at a couple of the episodes on TV. Right? Cool. Thank you. And then in terms of looting, which seems to obsess a lot of men and that certain corners of Eva, I was, I wrote a piece recently that I submitted to my, one of my writing clients, but looting, it was called well, we judge young looters or love them. 

And so in that, writing about that reminded me of laying this Victor Hugo's novel. And of course, Hugo offers as a main character. John Valdon, who's been in jail for 19 years because he stole a loaf of bread and they help sisters to feed his sisters starving child. And then the first night he is free, a kind of Bishop gives him a meal and a place to sleep, but he's a jungle, John steel, silver from the church. 

And when he, the gendarmerie police fringe beliefs bring him back to the Bishop. The Bishop does an amazing redemptive thing. He, he says, Oh no, that's silver was a gift freely given. And then he says, Oh, I'm here to candlesticks, but he forgot to take that moment becomes a turning point, a, of tr of redemption and transformation in the life that he's drawn bounced, Sean, who been offers the same kind of redemption and transformation to other people in the story. 

Right? And for people who don't want to plow through like reading, you know, you can sit down and watch the movie, but it offers really compelling context. We have a whole conversation that people are having about loading, because the other part of that, the backs of sub theme in that book of course, is social arrest. Right? And you know, Amy, Julia, a young white writer, young evangelical writer was arguing with me recently on mine or somewhere about looting. 

And I had said, I had quoted Martin Luther King, the earth riot is the language of the unheard. Right? And she said, no, a riot is the language. You have a mob it's wrong. And so I said to her, well, what do you say about the French revolution or the July revolution in France or the Russian revolution or the American revolution? You know, the British described the Americans as unruly mops, right? 

So we see from where we sit, right? And so lately, ms is, you know, is that it's not current, but at arms length, it gives us who are open to it a way to think about, you know, how disruption in a society makes people make hard choices and maybe they will steal a loaf of bread. And what that, that Bishop understands is that the bigger theft was the 19 years from Sean Bell, John's wife. 

So anyway, so that's on a, that's a recommends. Awesome. 

Speaker 1 (45m 8s): I love that. Thank you so much, Patricia. I also want to make sure that people, because I feel like I could just talk to you for hours. We're not going to do that, but I would love for people to be able to find you online and in bookstores or online bookstores as we're mostly shopping these days. So could you just give us point us in your direction? Where can we find you? 

Speaker 2 (45m 27s): Sure. I'm at Patricia rayvon.com. I also write for our daily bread ministries and a lot, a lot of people read those devotionals. I write for day Springs, women's blog, which is called encourage. And I also write from time to time for in touch ministries. That's the Charles Stanley and then some of, sometimes for Christianity today and other places. But if people want to actually get more involved in being involved, following me, my websites, the first place, 

Speaker 1 (46m 3s): And then just as far as your books are concerned, cause I know you've written multiple. Where would you start? Where would you encourage people? Who've heard this conversation and want to read more and what book would you have them start with? 

Speaker 2 (46m 16s): Oh, thank you. Yeah. I would say dive in and start with my first white friend. I would say that too. I highly recommend it. And then go to my reflection on prayer is called. I told the mountain to moon, it's a memoir, it's a memoir. I told them the mountain to move. And it's a prequel actually to my book that I wrote with my daughter called I'm divided a Christian, a Muslim daughter, her Christian mother, their path to peace. 

Speaker 0 (46m 49s): Love it. Thank you for the work that you have done and are doing. You are a blessing to the world and I am grateful to know you and I'm glad we got to have this conversation today. Thank you so much. Thank you, Amy. Julia, thanks so much for listening to this episode and please do check the show notes for some great links to Patricia's work as well as to some of the books and other resources that she mentioned. I will also ask that you share this conversation with people who might find it useful, tell people about it on social media, go ahead and rate and review the podcast so that it becomes more visible when people are searching for these types of, in this moment, we want to bring grace and peace and light and hope into the world. 

We want to demonstrate that love is stronger than fear and you can be a part of that. So please help us out by doing that. And you can also visit Amy Julia becker.com. If you want more information about white picket fences, about the resources that go along with the book, I will mention one more time that Patricia wrote the forward and she comes up a lot in chapter two, but also later on in the book. And I'll also let you know that next week I get to talk with my friend Natasha Sistrunk Robinson she's the author of us are journeyers truth, which is another beautiful memoir by a black woman and another beautiful memoir with a foreword from Patricia Rayvon. 

So tune in next week and you'll get to hear all about it. Thanks so much for listening. 

Speaker 3 (48m 22s): <inaudible>.