I'm White. Conservative. Christian. What do I know?

The starting point to the conversation is deaths at the hands of police officers.

Obviously, by all ways of measuring, we have a race disparity problem in America. And the only people who consistently don't recognize it are White Conservative Christians

(True Story: https://barna.org/research/culture-media/research-release/black-lives-matter-and-racial-tension-in-america -- sorry, friends who are white Conservative Christians)

While I think it is obvious that the long-term solution on both sides of the street (so to speak) is training and understanding and life change, what I think white Christian leaders seem to miss is that if black people fundamentally don't trust us or think we see or understand them, then we will never ever be able to be changed or affect change.

And they don't trust us because we have proven ourselves untrustworthy for a long, long time. While there are obviously specialized cross-sections of our demographic that do inner-city work or focus ministries on race relations, as a whole our Tribe (conservative Christian White Americans) thinks in black and white (pun intended) about truth and facts.

The reality I am coming to realize more and more through years of life and ministry is this: you can't focus on the facts until you first focus on how people feel about the facts. Because the truth is that facts are sketchy. They can be read and understood and manipulated to mean different things. One pie chart to conservatives means something totally different than what the same pie chart means to liberals.

I see conservatives ranting and raving, wondering why the world is going so liberal and - depending on your eschatology - you might be okay with the world going to pot (though in fact - by every measurable indicator the world is getting better and better as we go... but you know... facts...). They miss a key indicator: the reason liberals are winning is not because they aren't armed with "facts" -- it's that they do a better job of making the un-appreciated and disenfranchised feel seen and heard.

You make someone who feels invisible feel seen, and the likelihood is that they are more willing to hear what you have to say about other stuff.

But that's another problem! If we go into a relationship with the agenda to change someone, we will always fail. We should see and hear the disenfranchised and weak and the poor and the orphans and the weak, not to change them, but to hear them and see them and know them. Anytime we condescend, we fail to understand the important truths the disenfranchised can actually share with us.

We can learn too.

Christians - myself included - go to facts and truth too fast. Because to us, it's all about truth. And it makes sense! We know THE TRUTH - the Bible, God's Word. But we forget that the world around us doesn't look through the same lens.

And the reality is that we have feelings about the "TRUTH" that cause us to act the way we act. We have feelings about the facts that make us act the way we act. But we rely on truth over feeling, misunderstanding fundamentally that everything we do is about feeling. We literally cannot make a decision without feeling something about it.

So - if we can connect on what we have in common - we all have feelings about (our version of the) truth - then I think we can start a conversation that helps get us to something more substantial.

No one's side has it all together. I learn more every day of how I don't have it all together.

The starting point to the conversation is deaths at the hands of police officers. I'd like to suggest that the ending point is this: maybe we can chase truth in better, or if not better, different ways... ways focused on inclusion over exclusion; on learning over teaching; on struggling through answers over knowing them; on being okay with others not coming to the same conclusion... but loving them anyway.

But I'm just a white conservative Christian/pastor working to understand, just like everyone else. What do I know?

And that's the point.