by Brandon Lemons
Are there topics that are difficult for you to discuss with others? Perhaps it’s because the topic is so controversial that dialogue quickly degrades into disputing. Perhaps it’s because you’re having a difficult time getting your own mind around the topic, and you’re worried that if you open your mouth, you’ll expose your ignorance. Perhaps you’re worried about offending others, or it’s such a personal issue that you don’t think others will understand.
One of today’s controversial, complex topics is race. Recent events involving law enforcement, the ensuing protests and riots, and the influence of media and social media, have put America on edge when it comes to racial topics. There is a lot of anger and fear swirling around these issues.
It is important that Christians learn how to handle tricky issues well. As the apostle Paul says in Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” This doesn’t mean we will always have all the answers, but it does mean that our conversations and the stances we take are intentionally shaped by the Gospel.
This is why Friedens is offering a book study on Oneness Embraced by Tony Evans. Tony Evans is a black pastor who is well-known for providing rich Bible teaching. In Oneness Embraced, Dr. Evans addresses racial topics from a biblical perspective. I believe he does so in a balanced manner that keeps us focused on God’s Kingdom while providing a healthy way forward through the tensions America is facing. He calls the church to be at the forefront of building healthy relationships among people of different races and ethnicities.
For a taste of what is in this book, please watch the video below. This six-week book study will read most, but not all, of the book. Books are provided free-of-charge to participants. Update: sign-up period is closed. Groups will meet once a week for six weeks in October and November.
The goal of this book study is to equip us to handle the tricky subject of race well – in a way that honors Christ and grows us in loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).