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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Surviving White Evangelical Racism

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The Roys Report
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Surviving White Evangelical Racism
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Why can’t people get over talking about race?

Ever heard that line? Or, how about: We live in a post-racial world. We’ve even had a black president!

If racism doesn’t exist, then we don’t have to deal with it. Yet racism, sadly, is alive and well—not just in our culture, but within the church.

On this edition of The Roys Report (TRR), Dr. Lainna Callentine—an educator, pediatrician, and former evangelical faith leader—delivers a powerful talk from our recent Restore Conference.

Lainna has walked an incredibly difficult and painful journey as a Black woman in the evangelical church. This is a journey that white evangelicals often don’t acknowledge. And it’s an experience that Julie Roys, TRR founder and a friend of Lainna’s, admits that she once didn’t believe or affirm.

But, just as Julie’s eyes have been opened to abuse and corruption in the church, the past few years have given her a new awareness of racism in the church, as you’ll hear in Julie’s introduction of Lainna’s talk.

Lainna’s talk, which is rich with history and personal anecdotes, has the power to open the eyes of many others. Please listen with a heart and mind open to what Lainna and the Holy Spirit have to say.

Guests

Lainna Callentine, M.D., M.Ed.

Lainna Callentine, M.D., M.Ed., is a pediatrician, former homeschool mother, master’s trained educator, and creator of curriculum program, Sciexperience. Dr. Callentine received her B.A. from Northwestern University and completed her M.D. at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. She has taught all levels from early childhood to postgraduate students. Learn more at sciexperience.com.

Show Transcript

SPEAKERS
Julie Roys, LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D.

Julie Roys  00:04
Why can’t people just get over talking about race? Ever heard that line? Or how about, we live in a post racial world, we even had a black president. Of course, if racism doesn’t exist, then we don’t have to deal with it. But as you’re about to hear racism, sadly is alive and well, not just in our culture, but within the church. Welcome to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And on this podcast, you’re about to hear a powerful talk from our RESTORE conference by Dr. Lainna CALLENTINE Lainna is a pediatrician and an educator and a former faith leader in the evangelical church. But she’s also a friend of mine who’s walked an incredibly difficult and painful journey as a black woman in the white Evangelical Church. This is a journey that white evangelicals often don’t acknowledge. And as you’ll hear, it’s an experience I once didn’t believe or affirm. But just like I’ve had my eyes opened to abuse and corruption in the church, the past few years have opened my eyes to racism in the church as well. And coming to terms with this reality has been hard because I’ve had to deal with my own ignorance and indifference. And I’ve had to acknowledge my complicity with a sinful system that treats persons of color as less than full bearers of the image of God. But what Lainna did, coming into a predominantly white space and delivering this message was even harder. And I think that’s something I haven’t realized until recently as well. So many of our Black, Hispanic, Asian, and indigenous brothers and sisters have been profoundly wounded and traumatized by white Christians. And they have every reason to expect that when they speak to us, they’ll be minimized, dismissed, and traumatized again. I’m grateful that didn’t happen at RESTORE and I hope like the audience at RESTORE, you’ll open your heart and your mind to receive this important message from Dr. Lainna Callentine on surviving white evangelical racism.

 

Julie Roys  01:57

But before we hear from Lena, I’d like to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University and Marquardt of Barrington if you’re looking for a top ranked Christian University, providing a caring community and an excellent college experience, Judson University is for you. Judson is located on 90 acres just 40 miles west of Chicago in Elgin, Illinois. The school offers more than 60 majors, great leadership opportunities, and strong financial aid. Plus, you can take classes online as well as in person. Judson University is shaping lives that shaped the world. For more information, just go to JUDSONU.EDU. Also, if you’re looking for a quality new or used car, I highly recommend my friends at Marquardt of Barrington. Marquardt is a Buick GMC dealership where you can expect honesty, integrity, and transparency. That’s because the owners there Dan and Kurt Marquardt are men of integrity. To check them out, just go to BUYACAR123.COM

 

Julie Roys  03:01

Well, again, you’re about to hear a talk by Dr. Lainna Callentine on surviving and thriving beyond white evangelical racism. I’ve also included in this podcast a portion of my introduction of Lainna at RESTORE, which includes an important apology. For time sake, I’ve had to remove my description of how my eyes were opened to racism in the church, while investigating what happened at Bethlehem Baptist Church, the Church John Piper pastored for three decades. But I encourage you if you want to understand more about the covert nature of racism in the evangelical church, go back and listen to our two-part podcast on what happened at Bethlehem Baptist Church when you’re finished with Lainna’s talk. But now here’s Lainna’s powerful talk at RESTORE 2023 with a short introduction and apology by me.

 

Julie Roys  03:49

So, three weeks ago, our next guest and I got together at her request, and we talked for about four hours. And she said, Julie, I just don’t know if I can do this talk. And she said this is what normally happens when I come into a predominantly white audience, and I talk about the trauma I’ve experienced as an African American woman in the church. So, I go out there and I bleed,  I bare my soul, and then they look at me with eyes of disbelief., and they just go on their way. And I mostly listened because I really didn’t have a lot to say, and I just needed to hear. And then she reminded me about how we had gotten together because our next guest is a friend of mine. In fact, she was my daughter’s 11th grade biology teacher. And she reminded me of a time we got together in a coffee house, and she shared her, really bared her soul to me, about all the racism that she had experienced. And she said, Julie, I didn’t feel like you believed me either. And the truth is six, seven, however, many years ago, this was I didn’t really believe it. I mean, I believe there was probably some racism in the church. It really wasn’t until I did the investigation on Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper’s church, and I got to know these people who had persons of color that had gotten together, had a dinner for the first time where it was just them. And they shared some of their experiences. And out of that, they decided that they wanted to put together a committee and address why is it that we have so few persons of color on our elder board? And then what happened with this committee is that then they spent, I forget how many months, a lot of months working on this, and then they gave their findings. And you know, it’s kind of death in committee. They gave their findings, that was it, nothing happened. Every single member of that committee ended up leaving the church.

 

Julie Roys  06:22

And so, it kind of opened my eyes to how this is done. And it’s kind of a covert thing. And I had to say to Lainna, you know what? I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t see that. And I’m sure that hurt you. And that was wrong of me. And I also told her that you guys are different. And when you’ve had enough bad experiences with white people, it’s hard to say this group is different. But I said, one, this group knows about believing victims, about believing survivors, and believing their stories. And we also know that when you get up and you bleed, when you tell your story, we get the cost. It’s like re traumatizing. And if you’re going to do that, and nothing’s going to happen. It’s like it happened again. Right? And so, I know you guys, I believe in you guys, or I wouldn’t have asked my friend to come, who I care about deeply. And It’s my prayer that this will be a healing experience for all of us. But especially for persons of color who have been hurt profoundly in the church. Just to tell you a little bit about Lainna’s credentials. She’s a pediatrician, who completed her MD at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. She’s also a former homeschool mother, Master’s trained educator, a creative curriculum program called SCI Experience. And then she served on a whole bunch of different Christian organizations that we would recognize, although she said to make sure that I say she was the former, or formerly served on the Physician Resource Council at Focus on the Family. But I love Lainna dearly. And I’ll just warn you, she doesn’t mince words. I have no idea what she’s gonna say. Let’s welcome Lainna.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 08:38

Thanks, Julie, for your words, and your apology is very heartfelt. Thank you. One of the things you need to know that I’m just traumatized being in this space speaking to you. Okay? And I know that as we prayed for all of you this morning, how coming into a church space listening to some of the songs that we’re singing, how traumatizing that is to you. And I hold that in my heart and understand that pain. As I’ve walked through evangelical spaces there are many things that have been said to me. These are just a few in the fine collection of lines that have been delivered to me with good intentions. I don’t see color. You are so articulate. You’re playing the race card that I’m doing reverse discrimination and racism. Why can’t people get over talking about race? I don’t even care if you’re black, white, or purple. I’m not sure. Only purple people I’ve seen are dead. But one of my best friends is black. We live in a post racial world. We’ve had a black president, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan. My family did not own slaves, and All Lives Matter. So, these are a few things. These are just a few of the sophomoric, unhelpful, and lacking insight retorts that I’ve received from my white brothers and sisters in Christ when discussing race with them. I’ve questioned myself over and over again, why am I here today? Up to this morning. I really didn’t think I could be here. A few months ago, as Julie said, when she asked me to speak at the RESTORE conference, I have struggled and questioned my need and your need to hear me speak. I have not spoken in front of a large audience since 2019. I swore off speaking in front of white Christian-like audiences, like someone giving up chocolate for Lent. I have been successful up until today to keep that pledge.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 11:08

This is a bit of a public coming out for me. Authentically, being myself, you’re the first people to see this. In the words of Maya Angelou. I no longer are beholding to the white gaze. I must have sat down 1000 times to write some kind of speech for you. I’ve struggled to share intimate parts of me, potentially to an audience and community like those in the past that caused me so much pain. It was then I was a respectable model Negro who provided a limited colorism to their homogeneity, I allowed myself to be squashed and to be strategically unassuming, as I would not convey the angry black woman or intimidate the fragility of the individuals around race. Now, I do not have the motivation or desire to wrap up this in joining into a neat tidy package sprinkled with various Bible verses and then joining hands to sing a rendition of Kumbaya making all feel comfortable with my threatening presence as an educated black woman. I’m going to be completely honest with you; discussing racial trauma in white evangelical spaces to me, as Julie was talking about, is like slitting my wrists for white folks to see me bleed as a bizarre form of curiosity and entertainment, while giving them the power to determine if my blood is red, debate the merits of the tool of my infliction and determine the depth of my wound and the level of pain I may be experiencing. All of this is based on their intellectualized bystander observations and their limited personal experiences. I’m tired of being treated when I talk about race, racism, unfair, unjust practices, and white Christian spaces as not being a credible witness. Being divisive and unloving in some way, my race disqualifies me, because I have a conflicted interest in my blackness, and that only white folks have the power to be the judge in jury in such matters.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 13:37

Julie assured me that this audience would be different. I told Julie, there is a great difference between white folk who have been hurt by the church and by the figures in Christian organizations, than the pain of being black in overwhelming Christian space. There are many nuances. Yes, Julie, they feel pain, isolation, and loss. But here’s the key difference. You see, Julie, you all were part of the family. You and they belonged until you didn’t. Me, however, while I was never part of the family, I was allowed to be in those spaces, tolerated as long as I did not upset the fragile balance or to critique or speak of the lack of people of color, in leadership or in lowly position in that space. I was to be unseen and unheard, and I was allowed to enjoy the delicious morsels that fell from the table where no seat was available for me. I felt a little bit like Charlie Brown ready to kick a football, getting into position to swing my leg, and Lucy quickly going from holding the ball and snatching it away again, and my landing square into my backside. I am so tired of not being believed, watching white folks finding no compelling reason to address the issue, feeling like they will lose something or be subjugated to the evils in demonic treatments that blacks have experienced. As if those like myself want to pay back every horror on white bodies that have been inflicted on us. I’ve watched white folks actively and complicitly be antithetical to the Gospel, denying the Imago Dei in all people. I’m tired of racism being viewed by white folk as a political issue outside the realm of the gospel and being chastised that we are one human race in a story.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 16:04

I hear God whispering, do you love me? A piece of me dies a bit, and my heart hardens repetitively, telling the story even if later a person starts to believe perhaps my story might be slightly credible. I have paid the price over and over. I feel God holding my hand,  will you trust me? I’ll be rejected and dismissed once again God. You are my child and so are they. But they hurt me so much. Look at all that I have lost. I have been hurt and othered all my life in predominantly white spaces. I have lost so much. I do not believe racism will ever go away. It is deeply rooted into the fabric and foundations and the DNA of this country.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 17:04

God can I really love these people? Proximity and the hugging it out doesn’t work. I fought this issue in the world and within my own home. I had no reprieve. I’ve got you, fall back into my arms. I will bear this. God, it’s so hard. But you have sent friends who have done the same who are not the same pigmentation of me. And many of them are here in this audience. They have borne with me the pain and loss that I’ve endured over the last several years. They have shown up with meals, encouragement, and prayer, sat beside me and held my hand on some of the darkest nights. They have listened to my disappointment and even my anger. They have been the hands and feet of Christ. Yes, Lord, I can love them. Because as I look around this room, I see so many of my friends. Although the pain is still there, hope has not been extinguished. I trust you, God, please stay by my side and walk with me and protect me.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 18:30

So, with that, I’m going to tell you a little bit about my story. But I can say something I couldn’t even say 72 hours ago. I love you guys. I have been hurt, but I still have hope. And I want to tell a little bit you know in this time. I’m like, How can I tell a hard story like this in 40 minutes? So, I’m gonna share a little bit about my story. I think parts of it that are  pertinent to this particular audience and my titular brothers and sisters. Unlike most African Americans, I’ve never been in an all-black space. I’ve never been part of a black church. I’ve always lived in white communities. And no, I was not adopted. Okay. So, growing up in white spaces, I also have had and continue to have education, because I just seem not to get enough. Right now, I’m getting a fourth degree from Wheaton College in evangelism and leadership. I decided to go there to see what white people were learning. And I got that done and knew in two weeks what was happening but dang I signed up for a three-year degree. That wasn’t well thought out. In my 30 years of formal education, I’ve only had two black instructors. A total of 12 weeks of those 30 years. I’ve learned to study white people learning to code switch and adapt in order to assimilate and be unassuming. My success depended on knowing how to operate in spaces. Their success I’ve learned culturally in medical school. And there have been times in my life where I was on the brink of wanting to join the Black Panther group and forever being away from white people, not black people, because Lord knows I haven’t been around them. So, I had an amazing mentor by the name of Dr. J. Hirsch, in medical school, he was a traditional Jewish man, amazing man. Had an incredible command of an audience. So, he was a child psychiatrist. And he always did the greeting at UIC, where I went to medical school for the incoming medical first year class. And he had a way that he could capture an audience. And I would be sitting in the audience with over 400 of my colleagues, and make you feel like you were the only one in that auditorium. And I was like, I don’t know what that is, but I want that. And one day he was offering, understanding the family as a patient. Anytime you treat a patient, you’re treating the whole family. And so, I decided I need to go to that class for this mysterious man. And I got into his class, it was just a four-week class. And one day I was walking down the hallway, and I was at that time, engaged to my white husband at the time. So, no one knew about that. We kept it kind of secret  I hung out with many of the black students, he came up to me and asked me if I would allow him to be my mentor. I looked at him like, really? I’m  like, I’m gonna have to think about this. I said, give me some time to think about this, and I walked off. I’m glad to report that I did take him up on his offer. And it was the most amazing time. Actually, my second child is named after Dr. J. Hirsch. He became my academic father; he used his privilege to stand beside me. I didn’t come from a whole line of doctors. I do have a brother that’s a doctor. And that’s something my parents instilled in us. But it wasn’t my background. And there were many times I struggled during medical school where I was close to being kicked out of medical school for academic failure. And he never did my work. I didn’t even know how to write a letter on my behalf. He would make me I would write it, he would edit it, he would make me write it over and over again until I got it right. And at one point, it was so bad that anytime I was called into the dean’s office for academic struggling, he would come with me. Didn’t say a word. I remember one time we were in the elevator, the doors closed, and I was exhausted, I was done. I was like,  I can’t fight anymore. And I remember when the doors close, that man took his fist and slammed it against the elevator door and let out a swear word that they better not eff with me. And at that point, his anger overwhelmed me. He freaked me out, oh, like, Man, this guy’s crazy. He wants it worse than I do. And he stood by my side. And that brought me to the brink of  going to the dark side.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 23:40

I spoke nationally in homeschool conferences all over the country. And I have a publisher that is, just Google my name, you’ll find out who it is. Who I worked with, who has my books. And I thought we believed the same thing. I was walking in any of these really big conservative organizations, even though I wasn’t up front or seen, I believed in the vision and mission. And as I watched the things that my children went through, and I watched my boys who were cute little biracial boys grow up to start looking like men, watching that they suddenly became dangerous. And I watched how I was treated in the world. And about five or six years ago, I said something’s wrong. So, I began to start speaking out about the racism and exclusion of people of color in leadership and the messaging of predominantly national organizations, ones that may have centered on white families using stock photos of black people to colorize their messaging to give the illusion that they were interested in diversity. I think the last thing that brought me back besides my great family from Tov that Julie spoke of, I’m part of that group of our Tov family, was I was bewildered just like you were. And I was like, these people’s orthodoxy do not match their orthopraxy. And I kept talking out, and I found myself at a conference called liberating. And check this. I did not put this on Facebook, liberating evangelism. decentering whiteness, okay. It’s like, what the heck is decentering whiteness? I don’t even know what that means. And so, I went into this conference., and at the time, I was already being kind of, excuse the pun, blacklisted in the evangelical circles. And I went into this conference, and I knew that no one that I associated would ever find themselves there. So, I walked into the hotel conference room, peeked my head in there, and a third of the people were white. I think I gasped out loud. And I stepped back, and I looked at the sign on the door. Yep. Liberating evangelism. decentering whiteness, why are there white people here?

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 26:20

And it was bizarre to me. And because no one in my evangelical circles would have been caught dead there. And so, I was fascinated as I watched the pulpit be shared by people of color of various nationalities. Now, this is the first time I was at a conference that I didn’t see a white male be a keynote speaker. And what I saw from the indigenous to Latinos, and Asians and other people that did it, it had a different flavor. So I was out of my mind, like observing this really weird world. And I asked one of the white individuals, why are you here? And they looked at me like I was asking a trick question. And they’re like, What do you mean? I said, “Did you not read my lips? Let me try this again. Why are you here? And they said, because the Bible says we should love our brother. And I like, seriously? Do you really believe that? Like, yeah, what else would that mean? And it was that adventure that I went into. And as I started sharing my circles, no one in this circle that I was at, had any idea really of Focus on the Family, or any of these organizations I associated in the homeschool world. And I’m like, Don’t you know who they are? I was like, kind of proud., because I was name dropping all those people. They’re like, I don’t know who these people are. And I was like, really? Because they told me they’re the center of Christianity. But you guys say you’re Christians, but you don’t know those people? They’re like, nope, no clue. And so, after I would introduce myself, people would look at me at the conference like, and when those ASPCA commercials, you know, with the little dog in the cage shaking, they would look at me like really pathetically like, Oh, bless her heart, look at her. And I didn’t understand it at the time. And so, after one of the meetings, I was sitting on the couch just bewildered because I had not the language to describe what I was experiencing in the white evangelical space. And, lo Behold, this is how God works, a white woman stood and sat beside me. I was in my thoughts. She put her hand on my shoulder, and she goes, I know from which you come. And it’s just like, God, you know, and I was like, Oh, my gosh. And she’s like, Oh, I know all the people you’re talking about. I’m like you do because I was feeling kind of crazy. Like they didn’t really exist. And she goes, Yes, I’m a homeschool mom. I’m from Florida but I live in Philadelphia. And I traveled here because my husband gave me this gift. And I have two little boys, the woman was white, and I vow that I won’t raise them in the stuff that I was raised in. I was like, wow, this is a whole new world. And she goes, Well, where are you staying tonight? I’m like, I don’t know, this hotel is kind of expensive. I’ll find somewhere else to stay. She’s like, why don’t you stay with me? I said seriously, in your hotel room? I’m like It’s been a while since I’ve been in college and stuff. But so, I said, Okay, this is crazy, but I’ll stay in your room.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 29:40

So over two nights, this white woman mentored me. She’s like, and she didn’t chastise me. She’s like, okay, Lainna, you need a little help here. So, get a notepad out. Okay. And she’s like, let me give you names of some podcasts and some authors. She’s giving me black authors and other things, all the stuff that was taboo, and evangelical will start discovering James Cohn. And I started discovering the real Malcolm X and the real Martin Luther King. I started reading all these things. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t even know about James Baldwin. Nothing in my education had prepared me for this stuff. And she bandaged my wounds that night and brought me from the brink of hate. So, I share that, in that she was willing to step into space with me and walk with me.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 30:39

And my third story of where my friends have come, the last three years, I have had a new friend group. They don’t know they just laugh when I tell them where I’ve been. And these organizations that I have served, and they’re like, that doesn’t sound like the Lainna we know. Like, I know, I’m kind of a different person now. And the way that they’ve come beside me, and the love that I’ve been shown has been unprecedented. So, I can’t thank my friends enough. One of the things that has been really grounding into me is I had the opportunity to go to Ghana this summer. It was life changing, I will never be the same. I am so grounded now. I went on something called a Sankofa. It’s called and Sankofa is from the language A Twi from Ghana, and it means loosely, go back, and get it. And so the whole idea, and this is me sitting on underneath a Sankofa is the bird is facing forward, its neck is backwards. And as it’s going forward, it has the ability to look back. So, the idea is to retrieve things of value from knowledge of the past, you have to go back to move forward. And living in a country where they’re trying to ban all black history as if it’s alternative American history. I have grown up in a world that has told me my people were nothing; that we were savages until we had the unfortunate issue of slavery. And well, that was kind of a bummer. But now we’ve had the opportunity to be civilized. There is no history that we’ve done anything significant in this country or anything. So, I’ve always felt lost. I felt I couldn’t understand who I was. And so, when I went to Africa, I felt an incredible grounding, and a sense of pride. I couldn’t find it here. But I found it there. I learned about my ancestry, that I’m the descendant of kings and queens, where the European Christianity is not nearly as old as the African Christianity. So, I’m learning all these things I never had an opportunity, and it has been life changing. So, I went to for the first time in my life to be in a place where people look like me. Okay? I get lost in the crowd. I’ve never had that happen to me before. And so, we were able to be entertained by African chiefs. And actually, one of the chiefs reminded me of my father. I’ve never been in a group where I could actually see me, and I saw this man, and he resembles my father. Both my parents died of COVID, a couple of years ago, two weeks apart. And I’m going to tell you a little bit about that in a moment. But to see this man, I just welled up in tears and crying because I could see myself for the first time.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 34:08

So going to Ghana, I’d never seen all these billboards with black folk. Okay? I think I saw one billboard with one white person, but everything from their leaders to their celebration to everything else, I saw me. But the interesting thing in Ghana, there’s no such thing as a black person. And so that kind of understanding that their race is invisible, helped me to understand how white people see their race as being invisible. So, to be able to relish in the joys of being a part of a community where people looked at me, looked like me was incredible.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 34:50

I also had the opportunity to visit the Cape Coast and the Gold Coast. And I went into two castles that housed my ancestors when they were stolen raped and taken from their homes. And these castles are on the Cape Coast, Elmira and a Cape Coast Castle. And these were built in the 1400s. This one, particularly by the Portuguese was a trading post that later became a place for black cargo. So, to walk in these buildings and these castles to try to embody and feel the pain of my ancestors was overwhelming. And as I walked through one of the uncommon things that you wouldn’t imagine belief, do you guys know what that is? This is in the middle of one of the castles. It’s a church. There were churches where white people would come while the suffering and horror happened in the same space. And this was very formative to me. At one point, we were merged with a group of white tourists. And it was interesting to watch the white tourists posture. Believe it or not, our whole group from Wheaton College was black. I don’t know how that happened. But all of us were black that were on the trip. And we were merged with the white group. And as we walked solemnly through the sacred places, we watched our white brothers and sisters act like they were on a field trip. They would push to get in the front to get a better view. As they talked about the carnage that was happening in the space, I remember, we went up to the governors quarters. And they were telling us in the space that the governor’s quarters was, it would house up to nine people. That same space down below, would house over 300 of enslaved Africans in the space, without food, any kind of hygiene. Everything happened in that space. And what did my white brothers and sisters say, as they were in that space? They were looking out the windows and talking about what a beautiful view there was. So, at that point, I was like, I’m done. I can’t be around this. And I was sitting next to one of the cannons that protected the castle, kind of reflecting on it and someone kind of caught that picture of me at the time. This is one of the things on the castle. It reads an everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors. May those who died Rest in peace, May those who returned find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We the living vow to uphold this. So, my whole talk is supposed to be about surviving and thriving. I know about surviving; I have been in survival mode for some time. I’ve had in the last four years I’ve had a total knee replacement as a former athlete along with many health challenges, I’ve ventured into spiritual wilderness teasing out the Jesus of the Bible, versus the twisted Jesus that had no concern for justice. Those who have been harmed in the church, who were unable to refuse to see the imago Dei and all people. I navigated racial unrest and the silence of my white Christian friends and my former circles, who always had something to say about black bleeding and dying bodies laying the street about their character and had nothing to say about the character of a yellow haired man with a bad comb over sitting in the Oval Office. I lost my 30-year marriage to a white man. I haven’t gone public. My divorce was finalized about six months ago. And had a lot to do with this issue. My family has been shattered. I’m watching the politicization of mass while millions die across the world from COVID. And those last being considered expendable. Watching my dad die over FaceTime, due to COVID and not being able to hold his hand or be present as he drew in his last breath,. No funeral and then there’d have to be my mom who died two weeks later. This is just a few of the things that I’ve had to survive over the last four years. I’ve survived a predominantly white churches where my pain and the pain of others who look like me were ignored so that my brighten brothers and sisters could remain comfortable without self-examination.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 39:49

I understand surviving. Surviving is remaining alive. Some days, that was all I could do. It’s continuing to exist after coming close to dying and being destroyed. surviving is holding up holding on and enduring when very little is left in your tank. I know all of you guys understand that. At times surviving is all that we can do. God carried and continues to carry me and you through this. God brought friends into my life who bandaged my wounds and lifted me up when I had no strength on my own.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 40:28

So, I want to get a little geeky, I want to show you something about healing. So, you know, I’m a doctor, and I kind of like that science thing and stuff. So, I’m going to talk about healing by secondary intention. So, this is like a medical picture. So, bear with me, maybe you can see the analogy here is, there are two ways of healing, there’s called first intention versus second intention. So, when a surgeon goes in to repair something, and they make that clean cut, after they repair it, they bring the edges nicely together and sew things up. That leaves a minimal scar. Okay? I feel like what we’re all going through is healing by second intention. And what that is, is when you have a gaping wound, and let’s say it’s been open for some time, or it gets pulled open several times. After about six to eight hours, for more as close to six, we as physicians can’t sew that wound up because of the concern of infection. So, you let that wound stay open. And with that open wound, you have to care for that wound. A lot of times we have antibiotics, and we’ll pack that antibiotic in that wound that the dressings have to get changed often. And as that wound is going through the healing, it actually heals from the bottom up, okay? From the inside, out. And I see us kind of like that secondary intention, as that wounding first we have to start that healing inside of us as we work it out. And then, of course, the scarring from second intention healing is much greater. There’s much scarring, but it’s been restored in a new way. And I feel that a lot of what we’re going through is similar to that secondary healing.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 42:21

So, we talked about surviving, what about thriving? I started looking through this whole idea, what does it mean to be thriving? Am I thriving? I do feel like I have a little more. The fact that I’m here is a big testimony that I’m starting to feel God’s healing presence, and it’s working. And thriving means growing and developing, having resilience. It means you’re comfortable with yourself, you’re able to take control of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. And there’s an increased optimism for the future. Ah, I think I’m starting to thrive. It’s not that the pain is not there. It’s not even that I believe that this world will ever get better. But I know as we walk and take our wounds, and we heal from them, the power that GOD can do with us through our thriving. So, we have a thriving we have flourishing. Like how is thriving and flourishing different? And Acts 2:42-47, If you read that when it talks about the hospitality, it’s a place of a joyous community, where there’s a festival friends. And there are five domains in flourishing; one, happiness and satisfaction that’s gonna look a little different for each of us. It is having the mental and physical health, having meaning and purpose in your life, and character and virtue. Now I know we’ve had a lot of character training in evangelical spaces. So, this will sound bizarre, but that character in virtue cannot be fully embodied unless you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Okay? And most churches and evangelical spaces talk about God, Jesus, and the Holy Bible, because Lord, we won’t get close to the Holy Spirit because that gets a little radical and out of control. And that doesn’t go in our 20-minute sermon series that we’re trying to do. Okay? So, in order to have good character and virtue it has to be nurtured through the Holy Spirit. And lastly, close relationships, close good social relationships. And finally, how do we get there? Okay. In 2019, as I was swearing off white evangelical spaces like chocolate I feel like God laid four words on my heart about this and it seems to apply to all these hard circumstances and prior speakers have spoke of this. So, the four words, the first one is lament. This is not feeling sorry, this is not God created you white. It’s a beautiful thing. No one’s asking you to be anything else than what you’ve been graded. But understanding that hearing these issues, no one wants pity. It’s a legitimate lament, it’s not a sadness. It’s not an Oh! that’s so sad. A lament is a deep longing in pain and sorrow for something. Unless you can lament, you can’t move forward. So, it is a spotty window that someone has talked about that embodying it.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 45:45

The second word he sent me was liberate. Oh my gosh, this seems out of touch. Because of all that stuff I hear an evangelical word about liberating means once Jesus comes, then we’ll be good. No, this means as soon as you see the problem, you have to liberate that issue. You don’t wait till Jesus comes. I lament, there’s a problem, it needs to be corrected now. I love how we like use time; I was told this at a prominent school, Christian school, you know, Lainna, you’re just trying to rush us too much. We’re just going to need a little more time to change hearts. Like seriously? Wait, your Bible says, When you see something wrong, you correct it. How does racism take time? So, you have to liberate.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 46:37

Third thing is to reclaim because Lord knows, you have to, like clean that space out. And you have to reclaim it for Christ because of the distortion and the evilness that’s been pervaded there, that space has to be reclaimed, or that mess comes back. And lastly, you have to reimagine. This is not a little tweaking of systems, you know, like finding a couple more chocolate chips to put into  your little organization to try to give the issue that you have reformed yourself. This is a whole reimagining. It’s a whole reimagining of systems and purposes of what you’ve done. You can’t tweak something that’s already distorted, tainted and evil. So, wow, I’m doing good, it’s only 49 seconds. Yes. Okay, so I didn’t think I could do this.

 

LAINNA CALLENTINE M.Ed., M.D. 47:40

So, I just want to leave you I have a little bit of I don’t know if you guys know this book, I didn’t write it. Darn! I wasn’t thinking – I should have brought my own books and should have been holding them up like this. But this is not one  I wrote. But it’s by Kate Bowler and it’s The Lives We Actually Have. And I thought something and it’s 100 blessings for imperfect days. And there was a perfect blessing that I want to leave with you. It’s called for when you’ve been hurt by the church. God saw me walk away. I had to, for what was supposed to have been a refuge, a community of hope and purpose, mutual encouragement, distorted all I understand you to be. Oh God, lead me to the heart of love so I might find the healing I need and protect the reverence I have for you. For you do not consume, but rather feed, you do not destroy but build up. You do not abandon your little ones but insist that they belong in your arms. Enfolded here, I see you now. The God who loves us to the end. For though I walked away, you didn’t. You found me and will lead me. Let’s now find the others. Thank you.

 

Julie Roys  49:17

Will again that’s Dr.Lainna Callentine speaking at RESTORE 2023 and Lainna, thank you so much for sacrificing yourself on our behalf to bring this message. And as you explained, there is no quick fix to racism. We need to lament deeply. We need to totally reimagine our systems and our purposes. And that’s something we’re committed to doing at The Roys Report. And I don’t know exactly what that entails, but I am confident that the Holy Spirit does. And we are committed to listening to the Spirit and to following the spirit. So please pray for us as we continue to take Lainna’s message to heart. And as we continue to discern how to practically walk out our conviction that every human being is a bearer of God’s image and worthy of equal respect and love. And I hope you’ll do the same. There’s so much to process in what Lainna said. But dealing with racism is not optional. Any more than following Christ command to love each other is optional. So, let’s commit to doing that together. And again, thank you so much for listening and supporting our podcasts and our mission here at The Roys Report. As I’ve noted before, we don’t have any big donors or advertisers, we simply have you, the people who care about abuse and corruption in the church and want to expose it. So, if you’re able, would you please consider giving a gift to support our ministry? And this month when you donate $30 or more, we’ll send you a copy of The Great DeChurching. This is a great resource exploring what’s causing the current exodus out of the church, and what can be done to stop the bleed. To donate and to get the book just go to JULIEROYS.COM/DONATE. Also, just a quick reminder to subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or Spotify. That way you won’t miss any of these episodes. And while you’re at it, I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us spread the word about the podcast by leaving a review. And then please share the podcast on social media so more people can hear about this great content. Again, thanks so much for joining me today. Hope you’re blessed and encouraged.

 

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58 Responses

  1. While I acknowledge that some amount of wrong thinking about race still exists within evangelical circles, but I have yet to encounter anything, in the 50 years I have worked among non-denominational and denominational churches and para-church orgs, that indicates that racism is as prevalent as is being claimed by several on the public stage today.
    In fact, my experience includes a number of city-wide worship events in which African Americans did not want to take part, though welcomed and invited to play major roles.
    We as a worldwide body, always have room to improve, and must always be willing to ask ourselves the hard questions, and repent when needed.

    1. I respect your experience, Barry. However, we must be careful with weighting such “I haven’t seen or experienced it” as little more than one’s personal experience; it is from a data point of ONE.
      I don’t say that to belittle your experience; I say that because “that’s not MY experience” is the same logic used to deny or invalidate claims of abuse (and racism is a form of abuse). How many times have we heard an abuser defended with “he/she wasn’t that way with me” or “I always found him/her to be a faithful believer and wonderful man/woman of God”? How many times have we seen people “shocked” when hearing about the arrest or indictment of an abuser because “he/she was always so kind to me”? We must remember our perspective is just that – our own experience.
      Furthermore, we must realize that racism is a sneaky tool of the devil because it manifests in many different ways. It’s not always through a racial slur, symbol, or inappropriate joke. Given that those are deemed culturally unacceptable (now), human nature has found other clandestine ways to demonstrate racial preferences or feelings of racial superiority. But as scripture says, there must not even be a HINT of immorality among us, so we must stay on guard through listening, addressing and eradicating all signs of racism.

    2. Barry, I haven’t seen or experienced racism in the American church either. But! I am a white woman in mostly white areas. My Latina/Hispanic friends have told me some horror stories about the racism they’ve experienced in these same areas. I believe the people who say they’ve experienced discrimination in the church. It’s easy to miss the arrows when I’m not the target.

    3. Please tell me more of the theology of Cone, Baldwin, King, and Malcom X. I suspect there is much more to the story here.

    1. Thank you for sharing your wounds, Dr. L. Callentine. You have paid a tremendous price. I can definitely relate to your pain after homeschooling my five children and raising them in white evangelical spaces. God is healing my heart in very unusual ways. May He continue to restore you in ways you cannot imagine as we Reimagine the way forward together.

      1. Hi Audrey , your comment about homeschooling is about the 6-7th have heard in maybe a year. Would you care to elaborate? I don’t have children so I’m in the dark with respect to what is going on in that space. Many people in my church home school and I have heard comments but never really felt comfortable prying for more info about what they meant.

        1. Hello Randy,

          I’m uncertain about the current happenings in the space, so I’m not familiar with what the people in your church are talking about. I homeschooled from 1998 to 2013, and those years were incredible. However, I do have some regrets. The curriculum we used solely reflected a white Christian heritage perspective, which, at best, was biased and, at worst, exhibited racism in its portrayal of this nation and other cultures. Thanks so much for asking me to clarify.

          1. Thank you. I did experience a bit of that many years ago in a Christian high school . Mainly Bob Jones Press history books and some Abeka . Once I read about Bob jones University vs United States and learned more about both institutions it all made sense, unfortunately . I hope very few home school folks are using neither of these “ resources “.

    2. Thank you for speaking Dr. Callentine! You are right, as a white person I did belong in evangelical circles until I didn’t. I had no idea that others never do. I am sorry for the way you have been treated.

  2. Please interview Lainna again; I gather that she has much more to share than time allowed. And we have much more to learn from her.

  3. Thank you for speaking out. I am also a well educated black woman in white evangelical spaces and the last few years have been incredibly painful. The political environment, the killing of George Floyd, and COVID seemed to bring to a head racial tensions that had been simmering beneath the surface. I had learned to go along and keep my mouth shut for the sake of unity in body and the genuine desire to love my white brothers and sisters even if there were areas I disagreed with them but I found myself unable to go along anymore. While I have not been outspoken, I now refuse to be part of a church where I am disrespected and indirectly disparaged from the pulpit and the talk around me. We have had to find a new church in the last couple or so years but up to now I have not friend a single person on social media and I I find it hard to make close friends simply because I am afraid to discover that people I love and respect and do life with can turn into racist monsters on social media. I am still navigating church hurt. Just like you said Lainna, the place that was supposed to be a refuge became the most hateful space and I had to begin to do the work of separating the real Jesus from the white evangelical one.

  4. Dr. Callentine, thank you for your courage. I don’t think many of us can fully understand what this cost you.

  5. Another person playing the victim card and needing attention. Racism works both ways. As a pastor myself, I have had black pastors literally turn their back on me and look the other way as if I wasn’t there. I tried to work with a black pastor to form a pastor’s gathering in the town I lived in – and he totally shunned me. I have attended a black Church – as a new person – and being the only white guy in the building – I was left sitting by myself. God – in His omniscience decided Lainna Callentine should be a black woman – and so she should enjoy it! You are not a victim of ”racism”. You – just like the rest of us – are a victim of living in a fallen world filled with sinful people that do sinful things. But we cannot forget that even though we are all victims living in a fallen world- each one of us as individuals – have contributed to the corruption in the world.

    1. Vince –
      When can we talk about racism without such mean-spirited, condescending accusations or “what about me” attitudes? THIS is how we respond to hearing about racism AS BELIEVERS? THIS is setting a Christlike example? Lord, help us.

      It’s ironic you accuse Lainna or “playing the victim card” and “needing attention” for calling out her experiences with racism, yet you respond by calling out your own experiences with racism – so aren’t YOU playing the victim and needing attention as well? It sounds like you just wanted to find a way to make HER experience about YOU. No one said you haven’t experienced racism. No one said anything about you at all (but one could say that in being “the only white person in the room” you had ONE moment of experiencing what minorities experience EVERY day, but instead of growing in empathy, you grew in resentment). Yet you somehow needed to place yourself at the center of HER experience. Again, ironic, given your accusation.

      This response was just lacking in kindness and compassion, and is at the center of why we aren’t moving along. NO ONE of ANY race deserves to experience the isolating hurt of racism – ESPECIALLY within the body of Christ, where we are all sinners at the foot of the cross. And when people are hurt by racism within the body, they deserve to be heard with MUCH more compassion and kindness than this.
      Apologies to you, Lainna.

    2. This simple quote from a larger poem hung on a plaque in my grandma’s house, really made an impact on me:

      “Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in (her) moccasins”
      (Poem by Mary Lathrap)

      It’s from a poem but scriptural in spirit in that we are to have compassion and consideration even if we haven’t experienced the same pain and challenges of others.

      I’m white like you.
      I CAN’T simply imagine what it is like to be black or other minority, I will surely be wrong.
      I CAN listen when someone shares their experience. And then care for them and increase my awareness so I do not participate in any way with hurtful words or actions.
      I SHOULD NOT accuse the person who is sharing of being a victim when they have shared something painful in their experience.

    3. One question. Did you bother to listen to the entire podcast or read the transcript? If so what specific disagreements did you have?

    4. Racism does go both ways. I have been the target of racism perpetrated by people of color. Why is this unacceptable to admit or talk about? What about all of the people who are losing access to jobs, simply because they are white, in favor of those who are people of color.? Anti-white sentiments and practices are becoming institutionalized in the West, so I’m tired of hearing about “white privilege.” Privilege is being given money/phones/housing/etc. for free, while doing nothing to earn it–no matter what race you are. As an aside, the vast majority of interactions I experience between races are positive and happy. The professional race-baiters are doing their best to gin up business, though. For those who have been hurt personally by individual acts of unkindness, I am truly sorry.

      1. Ann –
        There isn’t a problem with talking about racism going both ways. There IS a problem with responding to someone sharing their hurt with “well, I went through it too!” That completely shifts the focus away from the hurting person onto oneself. That is what this sort of reply did to Lainna’s sharing. She shared quite vulnerably about her hurt as a Black woman by white evangelicals, and the response isn’t listening or discussing with compassion, but to say “what about when it happens to white people like me?!” and talk about what YOU want to discuss instead.
        There is definitely a time and place to discuss what you’ve shared – but this wasn’t it.
        I hope you receive that with the loving guidance intended. I know the internet can leave room for misinterpretation.
        I am more than willing to have an offline conversation with you about what you shared – it sounds like you are frustrated over not being heard. I can’t say I will fully agree, but I will listen. Perhaps that’s a start.

        1. That’s how “empathy” works, when you go through the same exact and share it. Empathy is not automatically agreeing and never asking a question like your version is. When someone accuses the “whole church” (that’s all the individuals in it) of “racism” they have every reason to be discerning and give a Bible based (not feelings and “all about me” based) response. Sometimes a person needs to be reminded that the world does not revolve around them and how life kicks one in the teeth at times. Those are moments to grow in Jesus. The “how dare you question anything that the accuser accuses” is a wrong response. Dialogue just that, two way interactions, it is not one side lecturing.

      2. I could be wrong about this but, this sounds an awful lot like replacement theory it’s me. “They”are taking our jobs, our privileged place in society. “I” am being discriminated against because I lost a tiny sliver of my privilege. Yikes, is this the best we can do?

      3. Good points, but one can only apologize when they personally did the hurtful act. No one is capable of apologizing for someone else.

        1. Absolutely agree no one can apologize for someone else (I’m still waiting for where anyone asked for that). Acknowledging someone was hurt or felt like an outsider is not apologizing.
          We say “I’m sorry you lost your parent/spouse/child/friend” when others experience loss – and that’s not an apology (presuming you didn’t cause it). It’s an acknowledgement.
          We should be able to say “I’m sorry you experienced that” even if we don’t understand or agree. (I would like to think we’d all be sorry to hear someone wasn’t feeling welcome in a body of Christ for WHATEVER reason.) It’s amazing how our pride has gotten in the way of our ability to extend empathy or sympathy.
          When someone shares a hurtful experience, you don’t have to be ready with whataboutisms or defensive responses – especially if you didn’t do it. Responding with a kind word does not make you “guilty.” It makes you loving.

        2. Jon Smythe – “No one is capable of apologizing for someone else.”

          I’m not so sure.

          In the apocryphal story of the Good Samaritan, the first two ‘locals’ who came by, passed by: “not my fault, not my problem.” The third guy, a despised foreigner, was not the aggressor, but showed the fruit of an apology for the victim’s plight by taking care of his needs: “not my fault, but I really feel for him, so it’s now my problem.” That attitude is at the heart of reconciliation and restoration.

          Or, to quote my hardcover dictionary:
          APOLOGY. expression of regret for fault or failure.

          Customer service reps readily apologise for the mistakes or problems associated with someone else’s failure – surely Christians (and others) can do likewise?

          I have found it to be a very valuable tool in ministry.

    5. Amen and agree with the Bible based view. All have sinned. Also racism here is the political or democrat definition, not the true definition. A racist is a person that thinks or acts due to their alleged superiority in their skin color, and treats others accordingly. Racism is not “hidden systems” one must constantly dig up. If one is compulsively digging, they are race obsessed. (racism??) When anyone accuses the church (as a whole) being “racist” (democrat definition) they have no special privileges and can absolutely be questioned.

      1. Jon – What is this political definition of racism? How do Republicans define racism (if Democrats define it differently)? What about the independents – do they have their own too?
        Racism is occuring if attitudes, actions, and behaviors are making people feel lesser than because of their race. That’s not about “privileges”; and it should be questioned so that it stops happening, not so that it can be defended. There should be no room for racism in the body of Christ, period. I wish I could say racism never happens in the church.
        and I’m interested: why do you think churches continue to be the most racially segregated gatherings?

  6. If we are to asses anything like this we must be biblical and accurate. The Bible does not call such discrimination “racism.” As we are all descendant of Adam we can only speak of “tribes, nations and languages.” Given the diversity of marriages among peoples through the millennia there are no “pure” people groups. Ethinicity is a more accurate term to describe certain civilizations. I found Dr. Callentine compelling in her personal story – albeit it was largely subjective. Africa is anything but a paradise. Then and now it has been run by abusive despots and slave traders. But the Christian church there is flourishing though severely persecuted and is the future of Christendom in the world. For the U.S. there has been discrimination against the ethnically black in our history and today, for sure. Christians (as she pointed out) ought to call out discrimination and hate wherever it is found. As a pastor i have always said there are two questions that must be answered when it comes to churches welcoming those who are “different” than the majority: 1) Are they welcome at the church? The answer better be “yes!” they should be respected as the image of God and made to feel welcome as any other; 2) Do they want to be there? That they must answer. Preferences are what they are. Much of the replies I have read here smack of so-called “white guilt,” which always ends up self-defeating as its driven by dubious motives. I don’t think the problem is as widespread as seems to be suggested. Like all other behaviors it lands on a continuum needing interpretation. Some will see the problem more than others.

    1. Jay – thank you for calling out that in scripture it was about tribes, nations and languages; but out of those, the social construct of race was born, due to our sinful human nature – pride to be exact. Racism is about pride, and that is a sin. Let’s not try to play word games to act like it’s not.
      Let’s also not dismiss Lainna’s experience because you can’t relate or Africa isn’t a paradise (huh?) or you don’t think it’s widespread. No one should be made to feel like an “other” among believers, period. Preference – which is often rooted in bias and prejudice – does not make that ok.
      And why has “white guilt” expanded to include any demonstration of compassion or empathy towards people of color? We as believers want that to stop? If you haven’t committed the sin, then ok. But if you were silent or complicit as that sin was going on – that DOES make you part of the problem. That is how racism has thrived as it has evolved from disenfranchisement and slavery and legalized lynchings to segregation to stereotypes and “preferences” – not based on one person or one act; but on those who saw it, knew it, heard it, lived among it, and dismissed, downplayed, or denied it. I cannot say what others feel, but I know from personal experience that some have REAL guilt because they know what they have witnessed and did nothing about it. (Example: there are MANY Boomers alive who remember the Jim Crow era, and not all were marching with Dr King).
      Scripture does say the sin of omission is just that – a sin.

      1. Marin, I hear what you are saying and don’t doubt that you know particular people who knew they should have done X action to fight injustice Y but didn’t and hence fall into James’ judgement on the sin of omission. But I would respectfully disagree with your thought process I’ve seen here and in other posts. The sin of omission, doesn’t justify an inference that because a group didn’t act as you felt they should have means they committed the sin of omission and by their silence make them guilty as a group. The verse in James on this is very personal “If anyone” and you must assume that the believer has the Holy Spirit making such “good known”. Each person has a whole slew of justice issues and priorities in their life by which they are trying to live this way and the lack thereof for what you think doesn’t mean they don’t care or want the injustice to continue. For example, if I think the only way to show care about the life of the unborn is to go and preach in front of an abortion clinic and I then turn that expectation into a rule of judgement on those who do not participate as sinning or question their standing with God, I think you would agree that is wrong.

        1. Joe – please be clear that it isn’t “a group didn’t act in the way I felt they should.” It isn’t about me AT ALL. It’s “a group didn’t behave in the way scripture clearly calls out.” To watch people be enslaved, disenfranchised, brutalized, lynched, taunted, segregated, redlined and all around treated as an “other” or “lesser than” without doing or saying anything goes against scripture. Scripture calls us to help those in need, stand up for the oppressed, and not be silent in the face of such injustice. Part of that is because of how that silence and inaction allows sin to thrive, even becoming part of the law and culture. (Ironically, the same people quoting that SAME MLK quote on “the content of our character” seem to forget what he said about being silent in the face of injustice.)
          When it comes to us as the body of Christ, we must own that many people living silently and complicitly among these horrors were sitting in pews on Sunday mornings. You can have all sorts of excuses about “other things they had going on in their lives”, but it doesn’t change the sin.
          Now, we can all be called to take action in different ways according to how God wants to use us and the gifts He give us (we all aren’t an MLK; we may be more of a Rosa Parks), but you won’t convince me that “I did nothing because I had other things going on” is acceptable to Him.

          1. Marin, thanks for clarifying as it seemed to me that here and in comments to others stories that you were setting an expectation and extending yourself too much to claim who is saved and who is not based on this one issue.

            By no means did I mean something flippant about “other things going on in life”. In fact, that is not what I said. But I too agree that we all have a part to play – including other injustices besides racism.

      2. Racism and slavery are not the same thing. For instance, Ghana where DR. Callentine visited, has a long, sordid history of enslaving fellow blacks. Would you give them a pass on slavery because they are black? Shouldn’t they pay reparations? It’s likely Dr. Callentine rubbed shoulders with the descendants of slave traders and slave holders. Slavery isn’t just a white problem. “Slavery lay at the core of Ghana’s precolonial states, whose economy was “almost totally dependent on slave labour” (p. 110). Indigenous slavery predated the Atlantic slave trade, coexisted with it from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, and survived it through the early twentieth century.” https://muse.jhu.edu/article/230952/pdf#:~:text=Slavery%20lay%20at%20the%20core,through%20the%20early%20twentieth%20century.

        1. Who said slavery was ok anywhere else? First of all, slavery came in many forms – as a tool of war, indentured servitude, etc. What was/is practices among African tribes is NOT the same as the race-based slavery that was practiced as part of colonialism and in the US. So it’s not the “apples to apples” comparison people love to use to deflect and defend the US from enslaving Black people. And the reason why it’s such a big deal here in the US is because we are the ONLY country who wrote in our founding documents “all men are created equal” and then participated in not only slavery, but disenfranchisement and segregation. Also, as late as the mid-90s the British (who perfected the transatlantic slave trade) openly apologized to descendants of slaves. We in the US are WAY too prideful to EVER admit we were wrong to participate in slavery. After all, “what about” the others who did it too, right?
          I just do not get WHY is there always this “whataboutism” when it comes to slavery. “Well they did it too!” or “They are still doing it!” does NOT give the US some sort of pass! It does not alleviate GENERATIONS of the sin of slavery and its impact. It sends a message of “I mean, why are you mad we did it, others did it too…get over it!” That is NOT repentance, but a mere wordly response of deflection. We should know AND do better.

          1. Marin, telling the whole story about slavery and racism does not deflect or deny it. Rather, it points out who was involved and gives it historical and cultural context. It does not vitiate culpability, it rightly identifies actors and their roles. It places culpability where it belongs. There is plenty to go around. Those in Africa who held and sold slaves committed the same crime as Europeans. They denied the imago Dei of fellow humans. I never said slavery was ok. Or racism. I’m the one who pointed out that racism and slavery are two different things. Racism persists in our country as another ugly attack on imago Dei long after slavery was technically ended. And of course, they are connected. The academic and intellectual dishonesty of the past omissions, prejudice, and whitewashing found in our history books and school textbooks are not corrected by committing new omissions, prejudice, and academic and intellectual dishonesty. Why can’t we get it right and tell the whole story this time? Why can’t we view each other from an imago Dei perspective? BTW, here’s interesting articles discussing British apologies and reparations. https://www.spiked-online.com/2023/04/18/the-problem-with-apologising-for-slavery/
            https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-65401579

          2. Daniel –
            The articles you sent me had an issue with REPARATIONS, not with apologizing. Those are two different things (and I have very mixed views on reparations).
            I see nothing wrong with telling the full story of slavery. I just often question the intent of replying to our nation’s problematic involvement in the transatlantic slave trade with “whataboutisms”. Because you know what I don’t hear? “The US wasn’t the only country that knew what was going on at Auschwitz and didn’t immediately respond.” While that is VERY true, those words are NOT uttered when the Holocaust is brought up, because people know there is NO excuse or blameshifting what happened to Jews.
            But the US participation in enslaving Black people….when our founding documents said the opposite? Somehow, there’s always someone or something to blameshift or point to as a reason for how that “needs to be better understood” to lessen the accountability. We had NO business going against our founding documents and Christian principles by participating in the slave trade, period. Why is that so hard to say? Why is a “whataboutism” necessary?

        2. One must look at the big picture, not just slivers of history that suit race politics. What’s easily debunked is the idea that only whites did slavery to blacks. Blacks sold their own to have a slave trade. If “whites” must “deal with it”, so do blacks and what they did to their own. No one group is special in the “oppression” thing.

          1. I have NEVER heard “only whites did slavery to Blacks” – and I’ve been in conservative AND liberal schools in Texas, California, the UK and Illinois. So that’s just not being taught; you’re just trying to support your own “shut up about slavery, it’s ok that the US did it because it was done by others” narrative.
            Furthermore, if you think “Blacks sold their own to have a slave trade”, you don’t know the history or context of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. I encourage you to read world history – and even go back to scripture, where we even see Joseph sold into slavery. Slavery has gone on since the beginning of time – as a tool of war, oppression, and colonization.
            What IS being taught is that HERE in the US, our founding fathers were the first to write “all men are created equal” and then participate, legalize and implement slavery, disenfranchisement, and segregation. We went against our own Constitution to participate in the trans-atlantic slave trade, to make sure Black people weren’t even considered people (but property, who lacked even basic human rights), and then to segregate based on race. We need to own it. Sorry, Jon, you can’t point to ANYTHING that will EVER make that ok. Not what “the blacks did to their own” or any other kindergarten “but they did it too” argument.
            I presume you are a believer, and I encourage you to pray about why you are so desperately defending and justifying the HORRIBLE mistreatment of Black people, which was in violation of our Constitution AND – most importantly – the Bible; we are made in God’s image too.

  7. I have dark pigmentation. I at confused by this lady’s speech. There are a few misnomers. I’m an American. Not an African American. I’ve never been there. I don’t expect anyone to apologize to me for what someone’s ancestors did to my ancestors. We need to stop this sympathetic race thing to appease the unhinged and unappealable. When can we move on. Paul put the “u” in “blunt”. Forgetting what is behind and pressing forward. Remember and reflect on what Christ did for us at the cross. I do not want to be identified by my race. I do want to be identified as a follower of Christ, period. People who hold on to the past are bitter and block of the wealth of grace and mercy. Search the Scriptures! Im not offended when people say, “I don’t think of you being black.” To which I respond, “nor should you!” Victimhood has eclipsed Victorious Ones. We are more than conquerors. I say these things in light of tremendous pain and loss. My dad was murdered, my brother drank himself to death and my military experience has weighed me down. Truth be told, I am blessed beyond measure.

    1. James, you make lots of great points that I agree with. However, some things are not an either/or thing but are a both/and thing. So for example we are not left with the choice of only being a victim or being victorious; being a certain race or being a Christian. To be fair, I think what the Dr and others are saying is that if we are part of a Christ following community, you would think being able to express your hurt and expect some correction should be a way of life. It shouldn’t be interpreted as playing the victim. Christian leaders should be able to handle a little criticism and consider what should be done about it. Unfortunately, I think the words we say may have some truth, but they can also send messages to shut people down. My personal opinion is that we have an idol in our churches – comfort. This is what is behind the PR campaigns behind many of Julie’s news items, not having diverse churches, or leaders resisting any hint of disagreement or different opinions rising up. If we are called to bear one another’s burdens, then it is going to be uncomfortable but doable as we all focus on Christ.

    2. James – while you don’t expect anyone to apologize for what their ancestors did to yours (who does?), you SHOULD expect Christians who have treated Lainna poorly to apologize.
      And to “not see you or think of you as Black” is to not see or think of you AS GOD MADE YOU. Seeing or thinking of you as Black is not seeing or thinking of you as lesser. If you associate being seen as Black as being seen as lesser, then there is an esteem problem you need to lay at the foot of the cross.
      And to echo was Joe said: expressing hurt or telling one’s story should not be viewed as playing the victim. If should be a wakeup call, especially if that hurt is coming within the body of Christ. We should NOT be responding dismissively or condescendingly – as that is what the world does.
      Furthermore, sharing our stories is also part of sharing our testimonies! My family went from being enslaved to surviving Jim Crow to being a generation of farmers, doctors, lawyers, authors and pilots by the grace and protection of God! To shame us out of sharing that (because of your discomfort, dislike, or whatever) is to (attempt to) shame us out of sharing what God has done…and, to quote my great grandma – “until my last dying breath, the Lord will get the praise for what He’s done for me!”

      1. Marin, your comments here have broadened my understanding of this subject. And demonstrated how to respond with logic, historical facts, and grace to common excuses for racism. Thanks for posting.

  8. Part 1. I think that we should take people at their word unless we have good reason not to believe. I am white and live in mpls. I used to live in TX. In Texas racism was out in the open. People would lead with it. “What do think of that n—- Emmet Smith. He’s one hell of a running back!”
    Then I moved to mpls and everyone said, “We are not racist like those southerners” But they are, it is just sneaky and hidden.
    I was just talking to a black man about race this weekend and he said “it’s not that every interaction is racist. It’s that I never know when it’s going to happen- and every time it does it hits as a little harder.
    I was with a white acquaintance at a fundraiser for an inner-city ministry. The worship was led by a black culture church. After worship he said “don’t worry I won’t tell anybody how much you enjoyed that”
    The black people at the table knew what he meant and looked down, ashamed. The white people all thought it was funny. I was honest- “I did enjoy that”
    It is the assertion that I was acting too black. Meanwhile the keynote speaker a well-educated black woman with “good grammar” was acting white.
    What we all “social contracted with” was that acting too black is something to be kept hidden and secret while acting too white is something good to do in public.
    So, we all know the rules- even if we don’t know, we know the rules. But I think black people know the rules better.
    So, when Dr Callentine speaks, you should listen. You might learn something.

  9. Part 2. And if you are really interested in finding out how biased you are to white faces or black faces take this test. And don’t worry about the results. So, what if you are biased and racist. I am. Now you know so try to be less biased and less racist. Lead a thoughtful and Christ like life.
    https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
    Finally, since the bible experts are out there. It is my understanding that we are supposed to reject the philosophies of this age. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
    Since the law of Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself, it seems to me that anything in our culture that interferes with your ability to love another is hollow and deceptive and will lead you away from Christ.
    *Now for my disclaimers- I do not believe all white people are racist, nor that every misunderstanding is racist. I do not support BLM which I believe to be a manipulative Marxist money laundering organization. Finally, I do not believe the struggle for racial and cultural identity is the same as the struggle for sexual identity. Find your own train.

  10. I read the transcript and will re-read it for specific details and examples of what white people said/did or didn’t say/do to the speaker herself, or to others, which constituted white racism or white evangelical racism. It’s not enough just to conclude, they don’t see us as fully imago dei. How do they demonstrate this? By being the majority in some churches, denominations, as speakers or leaders or at conferences- therefore racism? I read a lot about her personal feelings and her opinions. I need to know examples of what happened to her at the hands of whites. She was singled out and received special treatment from the med school professor, who went to bat with her/for her when she was about to be failed – apparently more than once. I was expecting to read that the school didn’t fail white students with similar poor grades. If that had happened, that would have been racism. I’m glad she felt at home in Ghana, where 98.4% of the populace are ethnically and phenotypically similar to her in appearance; of course, they do not call themselves “black”. They are the overwhelming majority in their country, and indeed in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    1. Lainna literally starts this interview with a list of the unhelpful, judgmental, dismissive retorts about race by white brothers and sisters in Christ. So it’s not hard to find.

  11. Reading through these comments, I can certainly understand Dr. Callentine’s reluctance to open up publicly or reengage with conservative Christians. It reminds me of a friend of mine who went to the ER with severe abdominal pain. For whatever reason, the doctors were convinced she was a hypochondriac, that her symptoms were all in her head. On the third visit, her husband refused to leave the hospital until she was taken seriously. When they did, they discovered kidney stones as the source of her pain.

    I don’t know about you, but I would never go back to a doctor that didn’t listen and take my pain seriously. And it would be very difficult to trust a friend who misjudged me as a hypochondriac or minimized the pain I experienced. Even stranger would be the “friend” who was primarily concerned about their innocence in the matter.

  12. Lainna starts with a list- but what precipitated these responses? If someone says “Black Lives Matter” and I replied “All Lives Matter” how am I a racist?

    Has no one called you articulate before? You are. Am I a racist for saying this?

    It seems to me we have the inevitable clashing of Black Theology with Christian Theology.
    People are oppressed- or oppressors.
    Church is a good place to bring politics into the pulpit (see what happened at Bethlehem Baptist).
    DEI, quotas, and social justice move ahead of the Gospel.

    Temporary fix to an Eternal problem.

    1. Yes, ANY theology without Christ at the center is flawed and WILL clash with Christian theology.

      BTW, no one is saying “ONLY Black lives matter” any more than saying “plus sized women are pretty” means “thin women are ugly.” It’s a message of “Black lives matter TOO.” Why can’t we hear a comment that advocates for a group that doesn’t include us without wondering “but what about ME?”
      And in all honesty, all lives can’t matter until Black lives do too.

      I have been called articulate. I assumed positive intent and was gracious in the moment, but yes, I know the compliment is rooted in an assumption that Black people are uneducated and unable to speak well. Well, surprise! LOL

      Notice, I mentioned intent. A HUGE aspect of the misunderstanding around these sorts of phrases is focusing and making assumptions about someone’s intent instead of focusing on IMPACT. If you assume or attack someone’s intent, you’ll just go in circles of “I didn’t mean to!” (and only God knows one’s true intent). But if you focus on IMPACT, you can have a productive conversation. A simple “I know you meant well, but I want you to be aware of the impact of what you said/did….” is a great way to have a productive conversation.

  13. Anything outside the race politics or race division business is deemed “racist”, not the real definition. A person can be racist, and treat others accordingly. That is a racist, nothing more, nothing less. “Vote for me, or you ain’t black” comes from a racist (democrat) party. But that racism didn’t seem to stop blacks from voting for Biden, or voting democrat. “Racism” is another card to play in political debates.

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