Episode 77: The Color of Compromise – “Racism, Pentecostalism & the Early 20th Century”

Racism was not a problem strictly limited to the southern United States after the Civil War. During the period of southern reconstruction, northern racism remained relatively unchanged, keeping up with the times, and infecting churches in northern and newly forming western states. In this conversation, Susie, Libby and Eric discuss the first half of Chapter 7 in Jemar Tisby’s book The Color of Compromise, a historical account of the American church’s complicity with racism.

Episode 76: The Color of Compromise – “Grace, Justice and the KKK.”

Our discussion of the American church’s complicity with racism diverges in the following few episodes to explore how racism infected the church in different geographic regions of the United States during the period following the American Civil War.  Using Jemar Tisby’s book “The Color of Compromise”, the Antioch team converses about how the church in the southern United States was impacted by the Klu Klux Klan.  At its height, 40,000 ministers were member of the Klan, and its teaching infested the theology of the church and entire denominations as a result.  But this manifestation of racism was not limited to the South alone, as the KKK also operated in the north and in Canada.  In following episodes, the team discusses how racism manifested in additional ways in the Northern and Western states.

Episode 75: The Color of Compromise – “White Denominational Civil Wars.”

While both free and enslaved Africans in America uniformly denounced the institution of slavery as sin, white Christians in the United States were considerably less clear about the matter. Majority-white mainline denominations with congregations in both the North and the South were beset with finding ways to maintain church unity, and ultimately hit upon one of two solutions: don’t’ talk about slavery, or split the denomination along the Mason-Dixon line thereby forming two separate denominations so that each could stop fighting with the other. Note that neither approach was centered on the actual plight of African slaves in the US. Rather, their dilemma was instead centered on how to avoid conflicts with other white Christians, leaving slaves without advocates who might have some ability to change the economic system that kept them in perpetual bondage. Today, many churches composed of people of color talk about social justice in worship, and there are some predominantly white and multiethnic churches which do as well. However, the vast majority of white churches today continue to practice conflict avoidance with other whites when it comes to the topic of racial justice, creating worship spaces for themselves that don’t talk about these moral issues and focus instead on personal comfort and individual piety. We can look at the theological discussions leading up to the Civil War as a case study in how the results of conflict-avoidance, a characteristic of white institutional culture, unfolded – eventually resulting in the bloodiest war on US soil.

RESOURCES CITED:
Abram X Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

Episode 74: An Antioch Roundtable Episode – “Precaution, Pandemic and Privilege.”

This podcast was recorded on Friday, March 13, 2020. In Michigan, where we are, all schools have been closed and a new law went into effect making it a misdemeanor to gather in public spaces with more than 250 people in response to the Cover-19 epidemic. This has created a steep learning curve for churches to care for their congregations without potentially infecting congregants.

Several members of the Antioch Team were still able to record a conversation together discussing the article “How to tell if your privilege is showing amidst the Covid 19 pandemic” discussing how our response to Corona Virus is informed by a person’s race, class, age and health status.

Let’s listen to the conversation.

Works Cited:

MEDIUM: “How to tell if your privilege is showing amidst the Covid-19 epidemic.”

I Think You Are Wrong (But I’m Listening)

Episode 73: The Color of Compromise – “The Institutionalization of Race.”

In Episode 73 we resume our conversations about Jemar Tisby’s must-read history of racism in the American Church, The Color of Compromise. Susie, Libby, Reggie and I gathered around the microphones to talk about how slavery was made a permanent part of the American way of life legislatively, to institutionalize the “peculiar institution” of race-based slavery. But in the United States, we created a new kind of life-long slavery, known as “Chattel Slavery”, in which one’s status as a slave was inherited because of race and birth. The wicked and inescapable nature of US slavery was financially profitable for church institutions, whose financial support came from the tithes of slaveholders in the south and business owners in the North who made great profits off the sale of cotton products. Our multiethnic Antioch team discusses all this and more in today’s episode.

RESOURCES CITED:

White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun

Click to access okun_-_white_sup_culture.pdf

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
http://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300218664/they-were-her-property

Episode 72: Libby Huizenga – “Inside Out.”

We are taking a short break from the Color of Compromise to bring you a recent sermon by one of our team-members, resident theologian Libby Huizenga. Justice and righteousness, being the same word in Hebrew and Greek, is an intrinsic part of the gospel message. There is a link in the show notes to a great video by Pursuing God.org that explains this further: https://www.pursuegod.org/what-is-justice/

The New Testament book of Acts contains within it the stories of how the early church wrestled with how to live out this idea as the church went through a period of rapid change from a monoethnic religious group, to a multiethnic religious movement. In Acts Chapter 6, we find a fascinating story – often overlooked by majority-culture churches and theologians – about how the early church responded to the systemic injustice that happened when the majority-culture Christians were exclusively in charge of the distribution of aid to those with needs in their developing multiethnic following.

Come listen as Libby takes us into this fascinating story.

Episode 71: Story Table – “Withering, Weathering and Witnessing.”

This is a special Story Table episode of the Antioch Podcast. Story Table is an story-telling event developed by Dr. Penny Lyn Dykstra Pruim and regular Antioch Podcast team-member Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige at Calvin University as a way to promote intergroup civil dialogue. Modeled after similar events at Fuller Seminary, these storytelling events encourage participants and audience members to become more skillful at these kinds of conversations by first taking the initiative to listen. All the story-tellers sit around a table, telling their stories with the aid of the event facilitator. All the stories are curated around a theme. The theme of this event is “Withering, Weathering, and Witnessing Race and Racism.”

Episode 70: Melissa Stek – “Racism, Immigration and Advocacy.”

Melissa Stek is the Justice Mobilization Specialist for the Christian Reformed Church of North America. A part of this work is work to network and encourage justice seekers as they take next steps on their justice journeys. Melissa was a former Legislative Assistant to Representative Luis Gutierrez where she wrote sign-on letters, internal memoranda, and various materials for the Congressman’s work in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Calvin College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

In today’s conversation, Melissa talks with me about the importance of continued citizen advocacy as we come up on the one-year anniversary of the law known as the historically-unprecedented “Remain in Mexico” policy for people seeking asylum in the United States. We discuss the history of racism in American immigration policy from pre-colonial times until the present day, and close with some specific advocacy measures we can do to encourage American lawmakers to eliminate the racial disparities in immigration law.

Links:
PLAYING THE TRUMP CARD: THE ENDURING LEGACY OF RACISM IN IMMIGRATION LAW
David B. Oppenheimer, Swati Prakash, and Rachel Burns
https://www.immigrationresearch.org/system/files/playing_the_trump_card.pdf

Melissa Stek
mstek@crcna.org

Immigrants are a Blessing Not a Burden Campaign
http://justice.crcna.org/blessing-not-burden

Episode 69: The Color of Compromise – “The Great Almost Awakening.”

The Great Awakening of the mid 1700’s brought crowds of white and black Americans to revivals, where many people turned their lives over to following Jesus. For many white people, their eyes were opened to their individual sinfulness. Yet, this awakening did not awaken the white population to the sinfulness of institutional slavery, white supremacy, or racial discrimination. Even the religious celebrities of the day were not immune. George Whitefield supported his orphanage with slave labor. Jonathan Edwards, known as “America’s Greatest Theologian” also owned slaves. Segregated seating was the norm in houses of worship where free blacks and whites worshiped together. Two of the founding fathers of the black church, Rev. Richard Allen and Rev. Absalom Jones were forced out of a church for praying in the white section of the building. These two men went on to found Bethel African Church, the first predominantly black denomination in the United States. These historical events became a springboard for the conversation with the Antioch Team this week.

Episode 68: The Color of Compromise – “The Judgement of Jefferson.”

It is an undisputable fact that many of the founding fathers of the United States owned slaves.  But before they agreed to commit lives and resources to revolt against Great Britain, they wanted assurances that any future government would permit them to continue to amass personal fortunes off these privately-held unpaid labor forces.  To accomplish this, Thomas Jefferson, who was himself a slave-owner, became the person tasked with crafting the initial draft of the document now known as the Declaration of Independence.

But Thomas Jefferson was a complex and even contradictory man.  In this episode of the Antioch Podcast, we discuss the person, philosophy, theology of Thomas Jefferson, and how his views continue to affect race relations in the United States even today.

Episode 67: The Color of Compromise – “The Making of Race in Colonial America.”

The date was 1609.  Jamestown Colony was established in what some day would be known as the state of Virginia on the Atlantic Coast of North America.  Wihin a few years of the colony’s founding, tobacco was introduced to the colony, and indentured servants from England supplied most of the field labor as a way to pay off their debts.  In 1619, 20-30 enslaved Africans were traded to the Jamestown colonists in return for supplies .  Records are unclear as to whether all these kidnapped Africans were treated as the other indentured servants or if they were kept as slaves.  But this moment 400 years ago was the beginning of slavery in North America.

At first, the distinctions between who was and was not a slave was unclear.  But in time, the various colonies, each with their own laws, developed “slave codes” to determine who could be a slave, and legal statutes were created to define what rights slaves and slave owners had. During the decades and generations while these laws were being created, the colonies began to have some commonalities between their slave codes.  One was that slavery was lifelong in nature, and that children of slave mothers were also slaves themselves.  This was known as chattel slavery, meaning essentially “property slavery”.  These slaves were the property of the slave owner, who could do with them what he (or she) wished.  The second characteristic of North American slavery was that it was based on a new idea: race (as distinguished by skin color).  But this idea had to be invented, and once it was established, it came to shape the experience of every person who lived in America until the present day.

In this Episode, Dr. Reggie Smith is joined by special guest Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, who also is the assistant Pastor at Angel Community Church in Muskegon, Michigan. 

Episode 66: Libby Huizenga – “Grace and the Messiness of White Anti-Racism.”

God has called all Christians, regardless of race, to engage in the work of anti-racism. At a minimum, we all must continually engage in self-examination, rooting out our biases about ourselves and others, scrutinizing them for the common sin-patterns that beset all of humanity. We need to see how these sin-patterns manifest themselves collectively in our laws and institutional policies, and address inequities that affect our brothers and sisters. We do this, because we value and cherish our brothers and sisters, made in the image of God, as our co-equals who steward this world. We do this, because this is what God has called all Christians to do.

White people have a role in this work. In the history of the United States, the creation of the legal category of “whiteness” itself, as we will see in Episode 67, was a unique manifestation of human sinfulness in the United States. Essentially, using skin color as a signifier of superiority, European colonists over time created a new way to divide humanity that went beyond ethnicity, class and gender by creating a new idea: race. If you live in the United States, like I do, we are the inheritors of this system of thinking, and we daily live lives which are heavily impacted by the numerous assumptions, biases, policies and laws built on these ideas during the past 400+ years. In most every case, whiteness and the cultural values held by its members, are systemically advantaged. While to some this is a controversial statement, we will not get into the details of the many studies pointing to the validity of this conclusion.

White people have a role in the work of addressing these inequities, both individually and systemically. But this is messy work. Because to be white, as I am, means that we have difficulty perceiving how our whiteness is advantageous. To be white, as I am, means that we don’t know many of the things we need to know to address these inequities. To be white, as I am, means that by necessity, we need to be guided in this work by people more knowledgeable about the problem than we are.

In this episode, regular Antioch contributor Libby Huizenga and I talk 1:1 about our approaches to trying to live anti-racist lives. These are the kinds of conversations we have in caucus groups, the kinds of caucus groups discussed in Episode 63. Usually these are messy, imperfect, and vulnerable conversations – and typically we would NOT have microphones running. But the whole point of this podcast is to model the kinds of conversations we believe Christians need to have to learn how to understand and submit out of love to one another so that we can worship well together. A part of this work, therefore, is for white people to learn how to talk with other white people, about whiteness.

Very likely this recorded conversation will reveal our own limited thinking, incomplete or inaccurate conclusions, or even simply wrong ideas in places. We aren’t holding ourselves up as examples of people who have correct thinking. In fact, likely we have problematic, messy thinking because we are in the process of learning and are continuing to grow. But we do want to offer ourselves up merely as examples of people willing to have the conversation out loud, and encourage all of us – especially our white listeners, to find people with whom you can have these kinds of conversations as well, as we daily work to become more and more Christlike in thought, word, and deed.

Episode 65: The Color of Compromise – “Pastoring John Newton.”

Today is the second episode in what will be a chapter-by-chapter book study by the Antioch team of Jemar Tisby’s must-read history of the American church The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.  These recorded conversations of our book study are examples of the kinds of dialogue we hope happen more and more often in today’s multiethnic world, the kinds of conversations which must be at the foundation of our relationships so we can in time truly worship diversely together.

In this episode, we discuss the first parts of Chapter 2: Making Race in the Colonial Era, looking at the history, theology and the roots of what would become American racism in the early American colonies. In Episode 66, we will continue with this discussion with an in-depth examination of how the idea of race was codified in the American colonies.

Episode 64: The Color of Compromise – “Complicity, Courage and Confrontation.”

Today is the first episode in what will be a chapter-by-chapter book study by the Antioch team of Jemar Tisby’s must-read history of the American church The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism. Every episode, the multi-racial Antioch team gathers around a table, turns on the mics, and talk about the topics in each chapter. All the members of the Antioch team are devout Christians and committed anti-racists, approaching faith and justice from each of our unique perspectives – shaped by our intersectional identities, personal histories, and professional backgrounds and education. We believe that the New Testament church, starting at the church in Antioch, learned to have these kinds of conversations as Christianity transformed from a monoethnic community to a multiethnic one. These recorded conversations are examples of the kinds of dialogue we hope happen more and more often in today’s multiethnic world, the kinds of conversations which must be at the foundation of our relationships so we can in time truly worship diversely together.

Bonus Resources:
This is the article written by Pastor Reggie, referenced in the episode: Baptism and the Fear of Uncertainty

Episode 63: Eric Nykamp – What Does It Mean to “Do the Work of Anti-Racism?”

From time to time, those of us on the Antioch Podcast may share something from our individual professional lives: perhaps a speech, an article, or a story that has relevance to Biblical Anti-Racism. Today, is one of those episodes where this time I am going to share something. This is an article I’ve been writing called “What Does It Mean to Do the Work of Anti-Racism.” It describes Anti-Racism caucusing, a tool that has been very helpful for me as a staff member at a multi-ethnic church. Take a listen!

Episode 62: An Antioch Encore – “Moving the Furniture in the House of God.”

The staff at Madison Church regularly share articles with each other about diversity and the church. These articles shape conversations about how the church is run and how decisions are made. One article that church staff have continued to talk about ran in the May 2016 issue of Christianity Today entitled “Can People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?” by Kathy Tuan-Maclean.

The central premise of the article is that there is a difference between feeling like an invited guest, and being an owner, when it comes to having the power to impact change in an organization like a church. She uses the metaphor of being invited into a house, but not always sensing that she has the power to move the furniture, to explain what it feels like to be a racial minority in a multi-ethnic (but predominantly white) Christian organization. Like many multi-ethnic churches, Madison Church also continues to wrestle with examining what roles both scripture and our cultures play in how we make decisions, conduct worship services, and live life together as the body of Christ. These conversations often take place in the context of safe friendships where individuals can speak truthfully to one another. For this episode, the members of the Antioch cast gathered around the microphone to discuss this article as friends, and invite you to listen in.

Episode 61: Susie Dixon – “What Started Your Anti-Racist Journey?”

Last episode we introduced Libby Huizenga as a new member of the Antioch Roundtable, and this episode I want to introduce another new member to the table, Susie Dixon. Susie carries title of Director of Reaching In at Madison Church’s Square Campus, a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and also is a member of Madison Church’s Anti-Racism Team. She also is a passionate justice advocate with a pastor’s heart. In this interview, Susie shares her story of what got her started on her Biblical anti-racism journey.

We are recording these episodes in the summer when it has been difficult for the entire Antioch Team to all gather at the same time, and so we are introducing the new members to the table one by one so you can associate names and voices once we begin our regular discussions this fall of Jemar Tisby’s book The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.

Sound Credits:
“UI, Mechanical, Notification, 01, FX.wav” by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.org

Episode 60: An Antioch Roundtable: “What Started Your Anti-Racist Journey?”

I’ve heard it said that commitment to anti-racism is like a conversion experience. For white people, the conversion often is a lengthy process of re-examining the internalized narratives we have learned from history and society that tell us that we are superior, and a commitment to be taught by – and advocate in partnership with – people of color for a more just and equitable world. For people of color, the anti-racist conversion takes a different path. This path is often deeply internal, a process of gradually recognizing and uprooting layers of internalized lies about one’s inferiority, as well as realizing one’s agency and potential to advocate for change. For the Christian anti-racist, this journey also becomes a deeply theological one, a path that concludes with a lived practice of lovingly advocating for equity for all the members of the body of Christ.

Today’s episode is the beginning of what is to be a regular feature of the Antioch Podcast – the roundtable discussion. During the City Within a City series, Pastor Reggie and I held many 1:1 conversations about historic and contemporary racism. We now are expanding the seats at the table, and our intention is to be a table where in each episode, a number of antiracism trainers and advocates gather to have discussions about books, articles, ideas, and theology through the lens of Biblical antiracism. And when we can’t get together, we will continue to bring you interviews with Christian thought leaders in the growing Biblical Antiracism movement.

Today Pastor Reggie and I welcome a new regular member of the podcast team, Libby Huizinga, a theologian and anti-racism trainer, who is one of the new voices we hope you become very familiar with in the coming episodes.

Episode 59: An Antioch Encore: Sam Salguero – “When Deportation Affects Children’s Worship”

This encore edition of the Antioch Podcast was originally recorded in 2016, though the introductory essay was updated for this 2019 release.

Sam Salguero is a children’s worship leader at a small Spanish-speaking church in the West Michigan area. In this interview, she shares about the multi-ethnic worship culture of her Hispanic congregation, sharing about coritos, a genera of Latin worship music, which she describes as her congregation’s musical “sense of home.” Later, Sam describes how the Trump administration’s heightened focus on searching for and arresting undocumented immigrants, is now affecting the children of her congregation and challenging their understanding of the sovereignty of God.

Music Credits:

Cuan Grande Es Dios

Dia feliz (happy day)

Episode 58: Adam Edgerly & Viviana Cornejo – “Third Culture Kingdom” & “The Immigrant’s Creed.”

A few episoes back, episode 51 to be exact, we heard from Adam Edgerly, the pastor of Newsong LA with his sermon Third Culture People delivered at Madison Church’s North Campus. This is a follow up message, shared at Madison Church’s Square Campus, builds on the heels of this precious message, with the title of this next sermon being Third Culture Kingdom.

So if you haven’t listened to Episode 51, hit pause and go back and listen to episode 51 before listening in on this message where Pastor Adam theologizes further about the clear thread of reconciliation which is inseparably baked into the narrative of scripture.

_______________ [ bonus podcast segment ] _______________

This episode of the Antioch podcast is being released a little earlier than usual to ask you, the listener, to pray over the weekend. According to major news outlets, on Thursday, July 11th, 2019, President Donald Trump announced that this weekend he has authorized a resumption of the arrests of undocumented immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement forces. He is specifically focusing on 10 major US cities, including in Los Angeles, where Pastor Edgerly’s church is located. This announcement has brought fear to those members of the immigrant community, who are disproportionately black and brown. This announcement is being made during a week where President Trump’s efforts to include an immigration question on the upcoming US Census was struck down days earlier in the courts, which was widely seen as a victory for the immigrant community. In addition, immigrants seeking asylum in the United States continue being placed in overcrowded cages in US detention facilities, with children being forcibly removed against their will from their parents. Memories of Boarding Schools, Internment Camps, reservations and historic mistreatment of black and brown people are easily triggered by the images seen in the media pertaining to these events.

In anticipation of the expected events of the weekend, I spoke with Viviana Cornejo at the Christian Reformed Church of North America, where she is employed as an advocate at the CRC’s Office of Race Relations. As an immigrant herself from Chile in 1995, she has worked with immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and people from the indigenous nations of the United States as part of her work with the Christian Reformed Church.

I began my time with Vivi (as she likes to be called) listening to her read the Immigrant’s Creed, a paraphrase of the Apostle’s Creed, before we talked about why the proposed events of this weekend are especially on her mind. For those who are curious, the Immigrant’s Creed was developed originally by the Presbyterian Church, and used by permission. Links to the Immigrant’s Creed are in the shownotes of this episode. Here is Viviana Cornejo, reading the Immigrant’s Creed:

“The Immigrants’ Creed” is excerpted from The Book of Common Worship: 2018 Edition. © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press.
https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/the-immigrants-creed/

Episode 57: An Antioch Encore – “Institutional Reconciliation.”

This Encore episode of the Antioch Podcast goes back to our first years when we were known as the Antioch Worship Leadership Podcast. It was during this time that we came to the realization that justice and anti-racist principals are intrinsic aspects of leadership in multiethnic communities, religious or otherwise.

In this episode, Dr. John Lee returns to join the Antioch team around the table. to discuss the phrase “Institutional Reconciliation”. Our team invented the phrase “Institutional Reconciliation” to describe principals of governance and decision-making which stand in contrast to the often unexamined organizational processes which then keep Institutional Racism intact. If Socrates was right when he said “the unexamined life is not worth living”, by extension the unexamined multi-ethnic church may not be a place where people can live. Throughout the hour, the team delves into scriptural themes drawn from the prophets and the church in Antioch for ideas of how to model the Biblical, multi-ethnic “new communities” like the early churches of the New Testament. This round-table discussion is packed with humor and thoughtful discussion of what often are thorny issues that multi-ethnic churches in particular must skillfully learn to talk about.

Episode 56: Jan & Dan Bays – “A Lifetime Loving Chinese Christians.”

This is a long-overdue episode of the Antioch Podcast, in memory of my recently departed friend and Historian of Chinese Christianity, Daniel H. Bays, PhD.

Dan was one of the preeminent Asia scholars in the United States, specializing in the Church in China. After he earned his BA in history from Stanford, Bays would go on to earn an MA in far Eastern studies (China) and a PhD in the history of modern China from the University of Michigan. China would become an “intellectual fascination” (as Bays would say), a research focus, as well as a place to explore the intersection of faith and culture.

Bays, a voracious learner, dedicated scholar, and professor emeritus of history at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away Thursday, May 9, at age 77, following his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

This was the side of Professor Bays that many in the academic world knew: Daniel H. Bays, author and editor of six books on the history of Chinese Christianity, including his seminal work, published in 2012 – the climax of a life of learning about the Chinese church titled – A New History of Christianity in China, one of the Blackwell Guides to Global Christianity.

Revered in the United States and in Asia as one of only a handful of top scholars in his field, Dan was nonetheless a humble and unassuming man. He and his wife met my wife and I in 1999, shortly after we were married. Having just relocated to teach History at Calvin College, Dan and his wife Jan “adopted” my wife and I as their Grand Rapids family. We spent the next decade meeting multiple times every week as part of a church small group, and gathering around their dining-room table for weeknight dinners with our small children. My wife, being from Hong Kong, affectionately felt like their “Chinese Daughter.” The Bays, thoroughly familiar with Chinese culture, because like a third set of parents to us, and we spent many, many evenings together.

Dan had Parkinson’s Disease, which he continued to fight as they moved to be with their children in Missouri and Kansas after Dan retired from teaching at Calvin College. Our families stayed in touch, and as Dan’s heath continued to decline, we would make trips to St. Louis where they lived to visit often. On one of those trips, I was preparing to launch what was to become the Antioch Podcast, and had taken along some recording equipment. I asked Dan and Jan if I could practice doing an interview with them, as I had never interviewed anyone in a formal capacity before. They graciously obliged, and so one August afternoon in 2016, we sat down together in their apartment at a senior living facility where they lived, and we recorded this first interview.

This was the first time I heard my own voice on recording, and I was convinced that I was not a good interviewer. Truly, there is a lot to be desired with the sound quality and balance of the audio. I saved the recording, but did not want to listen to it again, because all I heard were the errors and imperfections.

But today I dug out this interview from my old MacBook, wanting to hear Dan’s voice again … and in retrospect I felt the interview was moving and I wanted to share it all with you.

A couple things to note. This recording was made in 2016. Dan was struggling with Parkinson’s, and it was difficult for him to sit upright and project his voice. I notice now that he was getting tired doing the interview, which I think he did because he loved me and was being kind in letting me practice interviewing with him. But as the interview wears on, it becomes more and more difficult to hear what Dan is saying. Because of this, I boosted the volume of some parts of the dialogue. You may notice a change in the volume of the background noise and recording hiss because of this.

There are also a couple of times during the interview when Dan or Jan refer to “Madison”. Madison Church is the church who sponsors this podcast, and is the church where we all met in 1999 and worshiped together for 17 years. At the time of this recording, it was two years after Michael Brown was shot in Furgeson, Missouri, a suburb near the part of St. Louis where we were recording. Like many cities, but particularly true in St. Louis, there are not many multiethnic churches for Christians to attend. Jan bemoans this fact in the interview, as she and Dan needed to attend the church service in the care facility where they were living because of Dan’s restricted mobility issues due to the symptoms of his Parkinson’s Disease.

I hope you enjoy this tribute to Dan and Jan Bays.

Episode 55: “A City Within a City” – Listener Questions.

Today’s episode Pastor Reggie and I try to answer listener questions that some of you emailed us about the City Within a City series. But before we get to those, we have a couple of announcements to make:

First, if you haven’t rated and reviewed us on Facebook and Apple Podcasts, would you take a moment to do so now? Literally, hit pause on the podcast and write us a review. This will help people who are looking for podcasts with this kind of content, wrestling with issues of race and culture through the lens of faith.

Our second announcement is that we will be starting a second book study soon. The next book we will be going through (hopefully with a couple of new people joining us at the table) is Jemar Tisby’s recent book “The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.” If you enjoyed the historical narrative of City Within a City, you will love the Color of Compromise. This book should be required reading for every Christian, as it tells the history of racism in the United States through the church. So… go get yourself a copy if you don’t already have one. We will announce our start-date for the series soon!

Episode 54: “A City Within A City” – Where Do We Go From Here?

This episode of the Antioch Podcast is a continuation of our discussion of the book “A City Within a City: the Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan.” This episode, entitled “Where do we go from here?” contrasts the responses of three influential African Americans to the uproar over integration of the Public Schools in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The stories of Ella Sims, the continued story of Paul Phillips, and the story of Grand Rapid’s first African-American Mayor, Lyman Parks illustrate three distinct approaches each of these players took in coping with the white backlash against the Black community. All three of these individuals navigate the racial climate of the time, with each focusing on, and addressing, different aspects of the problem of racism within the city.

Episode 53: “A City Within A City” – A Black Child’s Burden

With this episode we are returning to the City Within A City series which chronicles the black freedom struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This episode, entitled “A Black Child’s Burden”, tells the story of how busing was implemented and resisted, in the attempt to achieve a racial balance in Grand Rapids Public Schools. Pastor Reggie and I discuss this chapter from Dr. Todd Robinson’s book, as well as look at the role theology and the church played during this period in the history of Grand Rapids, known as the city of churches.