Becoming a reconciler vs. an activist

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Communication styles, hope, politics, actionable items, the gospel, and more. These topics surfaced as Bryan Loritts, Grant Skeldon, and Todd Wilson teamed up for a candid conversation on race in the church.

Loritts serves as a Teaching Pastor at The Summit Church in Durham, NC, and as the president of The Kainos Movement, an organization committed to seeing the multiethnic church become the new normal in our world.

Speaking to the broader church, Loritts explains, “We must have white evangelicals but go to war with ‘white evangelicalism.’” Loritts called listeners to thoughtful conversation and action.

Loritts’ book, Insider Outsider: My Journey as a Stranger in White Evangelicalism and Hope for Us All, provides readers an account of one minority person’s experience and some practical help for those wanting to see their relationships become more diverse.

Loritts reflected on the book: “I was reacting to the deep division that had come to the surface of our culture in the fall of 2016. I wanted to share my experience as a thematic memoir of my life immersed in white evangelicalism.”

He recognized the political tension that is wrapped up in our experience of race and racial reconciliation. He highlighted the words and warnings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who wrote his famous Letter from A Birmingham Jail to “white moderates” in the church. Loritts’ own book, Letters to A Birmingham Jail, provides a responsive reflection on King’s words and dream. Loritts pleaded with listeners, “The one place that Dr. King’s dream should be a reality is the church.”

Loritts left the Exponential community with seven major takeaways:

  1. “I want to be a reconciler, not an activist.”
    Loritts explained that activists are concerned about the what. Reconcilers are concerned about the who and the how.
  2. “Unhelpful terms cut off whole groups of people.”
    Loritts pointed out the power of our words and the call to use language carefully. With a shift of language, Loritts advances the ministry of reconciliation.
  3. “Sometimes we need to feel with someone before we can look at the facts with them.”
    Lorrits explained the five levels of communication which he details in his book Insider Outsider. He suggested that Christians from different races often miss each other as we’re processing an experience at different levels.
  4. “Let your gravitational pull towards justice always be the Gospel.”
    Loritts celebrated the growing concern for justice. However, he warned that without the substantive center of the Gospel, efforts will fall short.
  5. “Immerse yourself in the community of the ethnically other.”
    Loritts highlighted the importance of relationships and looked to Bonhoeffer’s immersion in an African American church community. Loritts reflected, “We need that. It’s core curriculum to the Christian life.”
  6. “Preach a holistic Gospel.”
    Loritts called Christians to strive to be an Ephesians 2 Christian, noting both the vertical reconciliation in verses 1 through 10 and the horizontal reconciliation in the rest of the chapter.
  7. “I’m always going to be hopeful.”
    Lorrits encouraged Christians to be hopeful as we look to Christ, advance the kingdom of God, and work for the pursuit of gospel-centered justice.

Watch the replay here with Bryan Loritts.

We are better together!

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:22-23

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