This week, we watched a video to teach and guide us on how to have a fun discussion about race with people that don’t look like us.
After the discussion guide video, some of the Rock Church campus pastors demonstrated the conversation by answering some of the discussion questions. They are getting together to model unity.
The Third Option comes down to honor.
Each campus pastor introduced themselves. Esli Medrano is the Microsites campus pastor. Jason Meyer is the campus pastor at Rock Church San Marcos. Greg Hendricks is the campus pastor at our East County campus, and Marcus Preciado is the Point Loma campus pastor.
Jason Mayer lays out the framework for this discussion. He references Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” That word stir may say prod or poke in some translations, but it invites this idea of instigation, of challenging one another. This sort of speaks to where we should be with these conversations because we shouldn’t be content with where we are.
- 1. Introduce yourself, single/married? Children? Where you’re from, and greatest fear?
- Pastor Greg answers this question. He was born and raised in San Diego, but he is half Black and half Mexican. He grew up in a Mexican household, but he mostly hung out with black people. So he had a combination of different ethnicities in his upbringing.
He references John 4 and the woman at the well. When Jesus encounted the woman at the well, you’re dealing with sexism because men weren’t supposed to talk to women, with classism because she was a poor woman, and with racism because Jews weren’t supposed to talk to Samaritans at the time. But Jesus took the time to speak to her. If you want to know somebody, take time to talk to them.
2. Pastor Jason had the question: What race or ethnicity are you, and how do you identify? He said this may come as a surprise to some people, but, well, he’s white. He took one of the DNA tests and found out that he was completely white.
- Pastor Esli explains that she is full Mexican and grew up in Mexico in a household that spoke both English and Spanish.
- Pastor Marcus tells us that he sort of struggles with this question because he was born in Panama on a military base, so he’s always been American, yet Latino. He dad is Mexican, his mom is Panamanian and her dad was Black. So Marcus is Mexican, Panamanian, Puerto Rican and Black, and yet, American. He said he feels comfortable in any environment because he was born in Panama, moved to North Carolina, and went to high school in Santa Barbara. So he has a different experience than a lot of people because he didn’t just grow up in one place.
3. Describe the first time you were conscious of your ethnicity and that it communicated to you about yourself, your family, and others in your group.
- Pastor Esli answered with the first time she realized she was Mexican. She was in the US and didn’t really think too much about her really being any different than the people in America. God had given her an assignment to do something and so she went to talk to her pastor to get guidance and advice with how to execute it. So she ended up going to the coalition with many pastors and explaining this outreach opportunity and nobody was paying attention to her. Finally, one of the men pulled her aside later on that day and he said, “This is great and all, but you know this probably isn’t going to happen.”
- “Well, why not?” she responded.
- “Well, you’re a woman, and you’re Mexican.” This was a town with many rich, white farmers and so the pastor had told her they wouldn’t accept her in that role. That is when she realized that her ethnicity communicated something about her to other people.
- 4. Pastor Jason was asked, “What did you learn about other ethnicities or races from the stories that those in your group just told?
- He references a shooting in San Diego that happened 2 years prior between a White police officer and a Black young man. As a result of that, our church was involved in ministering to people and interacting with the police chief. After this happened, the pastors were having a conversation and one of them shared that he had to make sure to have a conversation with his college-age son about what to do and not to do when pulled over by the police. As he said this, Jason said that he never would have thought that there would be a circumstance where he would need to share that with his young daughter. In that moment, he realized that he had such a limited understanding in regards to other people’s experiences when it comes to that topic and that he has been given other priveleges because of the color of his skin. It opened his eyes that he could no longer be naïve to other people’s experiences. He said that if he wants to love and honor others, he needs to get into their shoes.
- 5. Pastor Greg talks about the greatest thing he feels God has been challenging him in is to engage. Engage the person that’s in front of you. The Bible says in Revelation 12 that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. That word accuser in Greek is kategoros, that’s where we get the term categorize. When you categorize somebody, you’re doing what the devil is being accused of. But when Jesus engaged the woman at the well, he spoke to her and saw her for who she really was. So we need to simply engage with people and truly get to know them.
- Pastor Jason shares to not let comfort get in the way of holiness. If you want to receive love, you have to be willing to love others. If you want to receive honor, you have to be willing to honor others.
Pastor Esli said that if she could tell herself something, it would be that if you’re struggling because you were put aside, just know you’re being prepared. Also, that if you were pushed aside because of the way you look or who you are, be encouraged to love those people and don’t put them aside just because they did that to you.
- Pastor Marcus said that the word that has been jumping out at him is the word identity.That’s been tricky for him. He remembered being a teacher and in school seeing all of the different groups of people. And it was so important for all these kids to have their identity in these groups. But God has been sharing with him that his identity is in Christ. That as believers, our identity is a child of God!
Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…