Thrive
Podcast

Overview

Hey Everyone! Welcome to this week’s special edition of the Thrive with Asbury Seminary Podcast. This episode is the second of a four part series of Community Conversations on Race. All four parts are releasing today and were originally hosted by Reverend Donna Covington, VP of Formation at Asbury Seminary.

These recordings are also available as a video series at thrive.asburyseminary.edu. But we wanted to make them available to you in podcast form, too.

This conversation is a two-parter talking about Theology and Race. In this episode, Rev. Donna Covington hosts a conversation with Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, Dr. Bill Arnold, Dr. Ruth Anne Reese and Dr. Craig Keener on Theology and Race and how we can listen, learn and take appropriate action.

Let’s listen!

Community Conversation on Race, Theology and Race Part 1

Dr. Timothy C. Tennent has served as president since July 2009. Prior to his coming to Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Tennent was the Professor of World Missions and Indian Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he served since 1998. Ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1984, he has pastored churches in Georgia, and in several of the largest churches in New England. Since 1989, he has taught annually as an adjunct professor at the New Theological College in Dehra Dun, India. He is a frequent conference speaker around the country and throughout the world, including numerous countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Dr. Bill Arnold is the Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation. He joined Asbury Theological Seminary’s faculty in 1995. While at the Seminary, Dr. Arnold has served as Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost, Director of Postgraduate Studies, Chair of the Area of Biblical Studies and Director of Hebrew Studies. Dr. Arnold is an elder in the United Methodist Church and pastored churches for six years before moving into Extension Ministry. He holds his ordination with the Kentucky Annual Conference of the UMC. His current Charge Conference is First United Methodist Church, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Craig Keener is the F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary. Dr. Keener has authored 28 books, six of which have won book awards in Christianity Today, of which altogether more than one million copies are in circulation. Craig is married to Médine Moussounga Keener, who holds a Ph.D. from University of Paris 7. She was a refugee for 18 months in her nation of Congo (their story together appears in the book Impossible Love, Chosen Books, 2016), and together Craig and Médine work for ethnic reconciliation in the U.S. and Africa. Craig was ordained in an African-American denomination in 1991 and for roughly a decade before moving to Wilmore was one of the associate ministers in an African-American megachurch in Philadelphia. In recent years he has taught in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and in connection with various denominations.

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese is Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Reese is also the Chair of the New Testament Department at Asbury Seminary and serves on the board of the Institute for Biblical Research. Since 2006, she has served as the Chair for the Formation and Student Committee, which oversees the faculty’s role in the Christian Formation of students at Asbury Seminary. She received the Beeson Chair of Biblical Studies in 2013. She is involved as a layperson at Apostle’s Anglican Church in Lexington, Ky. She teaches, serves as Chalice Bearer, prayer team member, Lector and coordinates the church’s ongoing relationship with its diocese in Uganda.

Rev. Donna Covington is the Vice President of Formation at Asbury Seminary. She is a highly accomplished senior leader with experience in both corporate and higher education with a heart for ministry. Rev. Covington spent most of her life in the corporate world, serving in managerial positions at Texas Instruments and IBM from 1979-1991. From 1991-2007, she worked at Lexmark International, Inc., in a succession of positions from director to Vice President of Customer Service. After her son was killed in an altercation over a racial slur in 2010, Rev. Covington decided she wanted to spend the rest of her life helping in the spiritual and professional formation of future leaders. As a first-generation African-American college student, Rev. Covington prioritizes student success through student-focused initiatives. From 2010-2014, she worked at Kentucky State University, enhancing the university’s commitment to academic excellence, research and community service. Rev. Covington has been trained in Design Thinking at Stanford University, chaired Lexmark’s first Diversity Initiative, as well as the Black Achievers for Central Kentucky, and was recognized nationally by the President’s Award for Women of Color in Technology.

Heidi Wilcox, host of the Thrive Podcast

Writer, podcaster, and social media manager, Heidi Wilcox shares stories of truth, justice, healing and hope. She is best known as the host of Spotlight, (especially her blooper reel) highlighting news, events, culturally relevant topics and stories of the ways alumni, current students and faculty are attempting something big for God. If you can’t find her, she’s probably cheering on her Kentucky Wildcats, enjoying a cup of coffee, reading or spending time with her husband, Wes.



Transcript

Heidi Wilcox:
Hey everyone, welcome to this week special edition of the Thrive with Asbury Seminary Podcast. This episode is the second of a four-part series of community conversations on race. All four parts are releasing today on our podcast, and were originally hosted by Reverend Donna Covington, Vice President of Formation at Asbury Seminary. These recordings are also available as a video series at thrive.asburyseminary.edu, but we wanted to make them available to you in podcast form as well.

Heidi Wilcox:
This conversation is a two-part, we’re talking about theology and race. And in this conversation, Reverend Donna Covington talks with Dr. Timothy C Tennent, Dr. Bill Arnold, Dr. Ruth Anne Reese and Dr. Craig Keener. So, let’s listen and learn.

Rev. Donna Covington:
Hello Friends. I am so grateful that you’re joining us today for community conversations. These conversations have been structured around recent events on the death of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Not to mention many others that have already happened. We want to talk about theology and how does it inform our posture and our behavior as the body of Christ. As we start to process these events, we want to do the things that honor God as a community called. I think you’re going to enjoy these conversations so let’s get started.

Rev. Donna Covington:
Welcome everyone. And we are grateful to have such a distinguished panel for our discussion today. As Christians, how do we frame our response to these current events? Who wants to get us started?

Dr. Craig Keener:
The Bible has so much to say about ethnic strife. I mean, the heart of the New Testament is crossing those barriers for the gospel going out to the Gentiles and welcoming God’s people together in unity. It also is full of invitations to and commands for justice when you’ve got it in James, you’ve got in Revelation. Certainly the teachings of Jesus through the prophets, the Pentateuch, I mean, it’s all over the place and Jesus, our Lord Himself experienced injustice.

Dr. Craig Keener:
Some black theologians have spoken of the cross as the lynching tree to bring out the analogy, Jesus himself faced injustice and that should help us to put things in perspective about where we should stand.

Rev. Donna Covington:
Thanks Dr. Keener. Other thoughts, Dr. Reese.

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
To add what Craig was just saying, and to affirm on everything that he said and then to add to that and say, the central command that Jesus gives is to love God and love neighbor. And if we’re going to love our neighbor, we have to stand up for justice for our neighbor. And we have to frame our response to racial injustice in such a way that everyone can see the love of God lived out both in our messaging and our actions.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
May I add to that too?

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
Go ahead, Bill.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
Oh, well, I would just jump in and so we’ll leave the present to last if that’s okay. I think it’s still important for us to hopefully in our conversation, do get a chance to get down to some of these very specific things that Craig and Ruth Anne talked about, but the Bible is also filled with times when God’s people are committed to taking care of the vulnerable in their society.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
And so Ruth Anne rightly said the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings talk about loving God and neighbor. Of course, that’s based on Deuteronomy and Deuteronomy is filled with focus on humanitarian concerns. Those who are the sojourners is sometimes called, they’re really immigrants. And regardless of race, the Israelites are challenged to take care of them, protect them, to guard their lives.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
And so, I would just say in this opening comment, when you asked about how to frame our response, one of the things I often hear about what’s happening in our culture in North America today is that when people hear your black lives matter, sometimes other people say, “Well, all lives matter or blue lives matter or whatever.” And the problem with that is that if you go to a doctor with an injury and you have a cut on your hand, and you say to the doctor, “I’m in severe pain, I’m bleeding and my hand is hurt severely. I need help with this pain that I’m feeling in this hand.”

Dr. Bill Arnold:
And the doctor should say, “Well, but your hand is not as important as your heart, or your organs, or your head.” It’s not as important, but you’re concerned about where the pain coming from what’s causing the pain and what needs healing. And I think that’s what the black lives matter movement is really all about. It’s looking at our society and saying, “Where’s the pain coming from? What’s the source of that pain? What’s causing it? And what can be done to prevent and heal the wound that it represents?”

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
Great thoughts. I have very little to add to these very steamed comments with colleagues, but I do think we should mention the fact that the scripture is rooted originally in the creation account of the image of God and that the image of God is crucial to this whole conversation because all people are created and are image bearers in the world, not just those who redeem, but all people are image bearers in the world. And I also think it’s important to remember that in this particular act with the horrible murder of George Floyd, you actually have bringing together in that one event, both a personal sin and systemic evil, both come together because you have the act of a person who did something on that particular day.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
And it’s been recognized as a sin or crime, a second degree murder, et cetera. But you also have the larger question of what are the larger forces which allows that to happen and gives a permission slip that it happened in the police force and culture. And so, in some ways, the culture, without being able to name it is actually discussing both the concept of personal sin discussing what should we charge? How should the police be charged? But also with the larger systemic question.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
And of course, the Bible is full of systemic evil. I mean, going back to Egyptian slavery, the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem to the Roman Empire and all the way through, as Craig pointed out so beautifully, the whole revelation, the Bible actually comes up out of and in the midst of systemic evil and speaks to both of those realities. And we can’t solve this unless we recognize both of those dynamics.

Rev. Donna Covington:
It’s interesting for me that we can easily get focused on current events, but we see these things coming up in the first century church even. Of where people are not treated the same. So, let’s talk a little bit about what was that context? What was that setting in the early church? And how did the early church deal with racism and injustice?

Dr. Craig Keener:
This is all over the place in the New Testament and in terms of ethnic division and cultural division, I gave you a link for more because I can’t fit it all into a few sentences, but I mean, the Book of Acts is all about that. The Spirit of God, starting with chapter one, verse eight, driving people across cultural barriers. Jewish people, who’ve been wronged by Gentiles now going out to reach Gentiles, reach Samaritans and welcoming them as brothers and sisters in Christ, not always voluntarily.

Dr. Craig Keener:
I mean, Peter had to be pushed beyond his comfort zone in Acts chapter 10. Phillip did it more readily, but we have that all through the Book of Acts. And then we have conflicts between the more conservative, well, culturally conservative elements in the church in Acts 21, in Jerusalem. And in Paul who’s in touch with reaching Gentiles. And so, one is great for reaching their group, the others reaching his group and how they work things together.

Dr. Craig Keener:
Matthew’s gospel addressing Jewish believers from start to finish with the four Gentile women in the genealogy to the Magi, to the Gentile Centurion, whose servant is healed to the execution squad, confessing Jesus as the Messiah. I mean, all the way through Romans. I mean, the conflict between Jewish and Gentile cultures there in the church in Rome and how Paul surmounts that in chapter after chapter building to the climax of the unity in chapter 15 and chapter 14. Dealing with the cultural differences in terms of their food customs and Holy Days.

Dr. Craig Keener:
And the segregated lunch counter in Galatians 2 or, every people in nation and language in Revelation, it’s just all over the place.

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
And I think to follow up on that it is really and truly everywhere in the New Testament. I think one of the things we do have to be aware of is that our understanding of race in the 21st century and the understanding of race in the first century were a bit different from each other. So, in the 21st century, we’re very focused on skin color and what skin color tells us about the group to which a person belongs.

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
But in the first century, the focus was on ethnicity and particularly your connection to our particular family or particular tribe or clan. And so, the way in which those divisions are portrayed, resonates with our own experience in the 21st century, but it’s also a little bit different from it.

Rev. Donna Covington:
So, Dr. Reese, let me follow up on that just a little bit. So, how does that speak then to our actions as the body of Christ, as the church? So, as you describe it in first century, we can understand that it had a different look, but now as we get to current events in this century, what is the scripture speaking to us in a way that we respond in our context?

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
I think one of the things that we see in the New Testament is there’s a lot of division over… And that we can go by analogy to say, there’s also a lot of division in our current context. And so, those divisions might be racial, but they also might be socioeconomic or they might be political. There’s a lot of different types of division in our current 21st century context. And the biblical text speaks to how the church has to deal with division. And, I mean, I think one of the most beautiful examples of this takes place in Acts 6, where you had two groups of people, they’re actually both Jewish, but they have different mother tongues.

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
One are Greek speaking Jews, and one are Aramaic or Hebrew speaking Jews. And one group is being neglected by the other group. And what happens is the apostles who are in charge, they appoint people from the neglected group to be in charge. And so, there’s a way in which the people to go back to Bill’s analogy of the hand, that’s experiencing pain, the people who are experiencing pain are heard. Their concerns are validated and then a solution that involves their own leadership and their own capacities is brought forward and affirmed by the church as the way to make progress. And, I mean, that is a blueprint for a way that we can make progress in our own efforts at reconciliation, across divisions, whether those are political or socioeconomic or racial.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
That’s a beautiful picture, Ruth. And I appreciate that vision of Act 6. I think I want to come along behind what you’ve said to answer Donna’s question maybe a little more directly in this sense. The idea of family distinction, if you wouldn’t put it that way, or I think you said ethnicity rather than race. That finds its source in the Old Testament, because the Israelis don’t really have a word for race or racism, but they’re all about as you know from Genesis 10, the family of nations. And when through Abraham, Israel was given their mission to be a blessing for all nations of the earth, a couple of words that are used there are family groups or tribal groups.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
They’re very conscious of those differences. Now, Donna, to answer your question, in my opinion, it is sin and we have to come to this sometime in this… It’s like Craig said, there’s too much to talk about here. The nature of sin as defined in Genesis 3 to 11, takes those differences and drives them deeper and makes them more difficult, more insurmountable it seems. And that’s what happens when I think in our time to get to Donna’s question.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
I think what had been understood as distinctions and differences between ethnicities in the ancient world because of human sin accumulating over the centuries has been driven deeper into our consciousness as the differences between races. So, that racism really is this sense of culmination of all of these sins as they’re coming together. So, I mean, it’s a remarkable insight that the Israelites talked about the image of God in the very first chapter of the Bible, as Tim mentioned.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
And that image of God is something that even though they saw differences in humanity, they saw that as something, that likeness of God, they saw that as something in all humanity. So, it’s an incredible insight that they started the Bible with that. And the reason that was lost is because of sin. So, it escalates to the Tower of Babel where you have all the divisions accumulating even more and that process has only continued. So, I don’t know, I think that helps to answer that question.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
I’d like to point out, and that is a great point. And of course the image of God, language, disappears for Genesis 9. And in some ways it’s the New Testament that brings that back in the image of Christ, who images and looks again for us. I wanted to actually answer Donna’s question a little more directly, too. Now, what should the church do? What is the next step? I really think in some ways maybe the question itself has to be analyzed. But I think especially having Evangelicals, our tendency is to quickly go to what do we do? And I think in some ways, that I’m going to be the third thing we should do is to ask that question.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
I think there ought to be a space theologically for us to lament. I think we ought to have a space for lamenting as a community. The Psalms are filled with laments. I’ve used those in the last couple of weeks to help give voice to kind of crying over a broken world is important for us as the people who have God. And recognizing our own role in this. I mean, first Peter 4:17 says that, “Judgment begins in the household of God.” In what way is the church lead or not lead? In what ways we’ve been silent and complacent and not. This requires lamenting, I think.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
We have to do a lot of listening. It’s important to listen as part of what this whole Zoom thing’s about is to help us to listen to each other. And Donna has some other remarkable plans with some African American leaders around the country. And then I think at that point, we can maybe talk about what do we do? How do we lead? And we have to do that. I think at first, it’s important for us to take time to give space for listening and lamenting and understanding. I think even the importance of affirming the work of police officers, generally, I totally understand that, but my point that people on that one, you can’t do that now.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
This is the time to listen to the tragedy of that problem and if there’s not space for that, you can’t go into healing. Because in 1963, if you remember what happened when the four African girls were blown up in the church on 16th Street in Washington, D.C, that was a turning point for the Civil Rights Act. And that’s on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the ’68 one, the ’64 one. And they all believed and those little girls that died that night in that KKK bombing, in some ways they forced the nation to see that the just the sheer sinfulness of it. Because either four little girls blown up in their own church one night. And I think in some ways it could be that this death could spark something, some deep reflection that could actually make some difference in the church has a huge role to play in that.

Rev. Donna Covington:
So, I think all of these are such wonderful reflections. Dr. Reese, I love the blueprint. Dr. Arnold I love the fact that sin has been embedded in our systems. It’s symptomatic and the process that it’s almost like a grieving process, Dr. Tennent, that we go through, we lament before we’re getting to solutions. We’re listening, we’re having conversations. I mean, Dr. Keener’s given us great examples all through the New Testament. And what I find interesting about the blueprint is it speaks…so as I listened to Dr. Reese as you describe what’s happening in the Book of Acts there.

Rev. Donna Covington:
I didn’t realize before that this power was turned over to the people that were being marginalized. And I don’t think at least in my lifetime, I’ve ever seen that turn in terms of how we as Christians and how we as a nation utilize power to bring equity to all people, brown people, yellow, all people, white people.

Rev. Donna Covington:
And so, it tends to give us an interesting thought around. So, how does power in the church, in our government, in all of our systems play into how we’re viewing these events?

Dr. Craig Keener:
In terms of what Jesus models for us, the greatest is the one who serves in Mark 10. He gives himself as an example of that. And so, that should be something, I mean, it’s something he calls us to live out Washington and others feet and so on. So that challenges, the world’s power systems, the cross where Jesus didn’t come as expected to overthrow the Roman empire, but he came and was crushed by the Roman empire. And yet that is what saves us. So the foolishness of the cross, the weakness of the cross, God’s power may perfect and weakness, God starts with the seed of what looks like small and powerless in people’s eyes.

Dr. Craig Keener:
And from that, his mighty kingdom grows from that small seed. So it challenges the world’s ideas of where the real power lies. Because the real power God is nearest to the lowly, the broken, but far from the proud.

Rev. Donna Covington:
Well, one of the questions that also comes to mind for me as you view your theological perspective, how has it formed you personally? How did you personally learn about race and racial reconciliation? Share with us a little bit about how you’ve been impacted by that personally.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
I’ll make a lead on that one, Donna. I’m like all of us, I’m on a journey my whole life, like we all have in various ways. And I grew up in the South. I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Atlanta where we were the only Gentile family in the whole neighborhood because my dad built his house across the street from an Orthodox Synagogue. And so I grew up in a context where I was the only Jewish, only Gentile person in my school. Took a Jewish girl to the prom, et cetera. Because that was my context. And so I think in some ways it helped me to see what it was like to be a person that was always referred to in the community. And they always referred to as the Goyim and always refer to as the person that was other than everyone around me.

Dr. Timothy Tennent:
And I think it helped me. Then I went on a mission field. And again, I was in the context of India where I was a minority. And so I think in some ways that helped me as a person in my own journey to understand what it’s like to be in a situation with people, make references that refer to the majority culture. And you’re not part of that. Or people might reference the things that you don’t understand or things that are said that they’re actually hurtful or whatever. And so in some ways it’s a long journey, but those are some things in my formational part of my life, which were helpful for me in my own, growing up in a pretty unusual situation. Even though instead of Georgia, I grew up as a minority in my community.

Dr. Craig Keener:
My best friend in high school was African American. And a lot of my other friends, I mean the school was mixed, but when I think the real transition point for me was when I was at the deepest point of brokenness in my life, it was African American friends. They knew how to deal with pain in a way that the white evangelical churches had been part of didn’t know. And they nurtured me back to wholeness. I was ultimately ordained in an African American church and I saw how they held together the gospel of salvation, personal salvation, the one hand in social justice in the other, but because it had never been an option for them to let go of one or the other the way it had often been for a number of the white churches. And I saw how much the different kinds of the church had to offer to each other.

Dr. Craig Keener:
But my greatest need was what the African American church offered to me. And it became really painful for me. In a lot of white evangelical circles where there wasn’t sensitivity to it because my African American friends would just talk among one another in front of me about the different incidents of racism that they had faced that day. And I was like, I didn’t, I hadn’t seen this before, but of course it wasn’t happening to me. That’s why I didn’t see it. But as I began, I think the most important thing, especially for members of the dominant culture, where we have blinders so to speak, we can function without seeing, is to listen and to learn.

Dr. Craig Keener:
Some of you pointed out this is not just a black and white problem, although in the U.S. that’s the presenting problem most often that we see. Because of the history of slavery and of course, Native Americans the genocide there, today with immigrants, there’s so much that goes on, but my wife is from Congo in Central Africa and she was a refugee for 18 months due to an ethnic war there. So it’s part of this larger picture. Sin often is expressed as selfishness. You take it to a corporate level, it becomes my group versus your group. And as Christians, we need an, especially in as members of the dominant culture, it’s incumbent on us to serve, to listen, and to let others voices be heard and to stand with them.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
Yeah, I’ll share as briefly as I can an account, like Tim said, my journey has been one that’s happened over a lifetime of experiences and there are many of those I could share, but there’s one particular moment early in my teaching ministry, right out of graduate school. One of my first teaching assignments, I was teaching for another seminary who, whose name I will not mention here at an extension campus in a downtown large city. And I was teaching the Old Testament Prophets. And there were, I think, 40 students in that class and almost all of them were African Americans. And so I felt very much at home and it was going great. The class was going very well. And I came to the theme and the prophets, especially Hosea and Amos about social justice. And all of a sudden there was a resonating with my students that I hadn’t experienced in all of the other teaching I was doing.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
And just as, I’ll have to make this very brief, but I made a very good friend in that class who owned a small strip mall in that city. And he asked me to come early one day and he took me to his place of business. And he met me in the parking lot and just wanted to walk around with me in all these various businesses and introduced me to a bunch of the business owners and so forth. And I realized maybe for the first time the feeling of being a true minority. And for me, there was a great freedom because I could get back in my car and drive back into what Craig called the dominant culture in just a matter of minutes.

Dr. Bill Arnold:
But I think he did that intentionally because it was part of my education. He was teaching to me, he wanted me to be seen. He wanted me to be seen with him, walking around and meeting everybody, but I realized, okay, this is interesting. Now I’m in his world. And for most of his experience, he’s forced to be in my world. And so it made me more sensitive to the worlds that we build up around ourselves and how needed it is, as Craig was saying, to listen to the minority cultures. Anyway, that’s what I would share, I think.

Rev. Donna Covington:
And so what, go ahead, Dr. Reese, go ahead and share what-

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
I just wanted to say that I grew up in Southern California in the desert and about 10 miles north of the Mexican border and the town that I lived in with 75% Hispanic and about 20% white. But one of the interesting things was that basically most of the higher level work and the ownership of a lot of things in that area was held by white people. And so even though I grew up in a minority context, was really disproportionately the power was held by the non majority people. But you know, when you’re growing up, you often just accept the world as this is the way it is, and don’t really think about it. And so one of the things I have to say is that I have been blessed to have friends who have asked me questions. And when people ask you questions, all of a sudden you’re, “Oh, I really need to think about that. Oh, I’m changing my perspective on that because people are confronting me with particular kinds of questions.”

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
I also want to say publicly that my friendship with Dr. Rick Gray has, was really super helpful to me. So I came to Asbury and had an office very close to his. And we talked a lot about his experiences of race and relationships between majority minority groups of people was so instructive to me. And then finally, one more recent experience is, is that I was co-leading a workshop for professors and theological education. And we met as a workshop for the very first time with people we had never met before, four days after the death of Trayvon Martin. And half of the people in that room, there was a small workshop of 20 people, about half the people in that room were African-Americans. They all had sons who are not teenagers yet, and they were all afraid.

Dr. Ruth Anne Reese:
And for the first time I met a cohort of people who started to share their experience of what it is to live with a kind of fear for your children. And the relationships that I made there, in that workshop became so formative for me, in terms of developing a deeper empathy for the African American families and people that I know. And so I’m super grateful for the people who have been willing to step into my journey and share their own experience, raise questions, push back. I’m really grateful for that.

Rev. Donna Covington:
So this is what I hear. All of you all sharing is that our theological perspective, how we think about God, how we see God starts to inform our own actions around how do we respond to the way we see and frame God. And it’s interesting to me today that thinking through, and it’s so helpful as we bring different perspectives to the table.

Rev. Donna Covington:
It not only informs how we see God, but how we read the scripture and how that starts to shape and inform our actions. So I want to talk about that, but unfortunately we’re out of time. And so we’re going to come back and do a part two where we can think about how does our theology start to shape how we read scripture, and the narrative of scripture and how that starts to inform our response to events. So thank you so much. Hey, if you’ve enjoyed this time today, if it has really started to engage you, please join us again as we come back for part two on theology and race on Friday, June the 12th at 11:00 AM, and I hope to see you there. God bless you.

Heidi Wilcox:
Hey everyone. And thank you so much for joining me for today’s community conversation on race. Talking about theology and race part one hosted by Reverend Donna Covington. Don’t forget that there are two more episodes that are part of the series that you can listen to on the podcast today. There’s part two of theology and race and a conversation about church leadership. So make sure to give those a listen as well. And if you haven’t already, go ahead and subscribe to our podcast and your favorite podcast player, and be sure to follow us in all the places on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @asburyseminary. Have a great day y’all and go do something that helps you thrive.