?Reconciling Is a Sacrificial Endeavor?

An interview with Dominique Gilliard

“We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this.â€

~ Dr. King, December 18, 1963 at Western Michigan University

Can you tell us a little bit about your background as someone involved in racial reconciliation work within the church?

I grew up in Atlanta Georgia, in an African American church. During my teenage years I read and reflected upon the Dr. King’s above quote. It haunted me, and the more I learned about the racial history of both the church and our nation, I couldn’t escape the implications of King’s words. As a teenager, I began attending a multiethnic church and have remained in diverse churches since. The Lord used King’s words, my personal experiences, and the racial tensions of our nation to summon me to the ministry of racial reconciliation.

What do you think Christians need to do to foster further reconciliation and healing?

To foster reconciliation and healing within churches and the broader culture, Christians must be humble, repentant, and longsuffering. This process begins by having candid conversations about race, history, and injustice. This will enable us to confront difficult truths and confess Christianity’s role in racism’s legacy. We also have to learn to identify racism’s contemporary manifestations and then renounce and oppose them. To do this, we’ll have to begin distinguishing Americanisms from the gospel, substantiating our faith proclamations through our actions, and exegeting Scripture …

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Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker is the author of A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House), named one of the Top Books of 2011 by Publisher’s Weekly, and Penelope Ayers: A Memoir. Her next book, Small Talk: Learning from my Children about What Matters Most (Zondervan) will be published in October of 2014. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she blogs regularly for Christianity Today about faith, family, disability, and culture. She is also the author of two ebooks, the forthcoming What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing: Insights from a Mom who has Been There, and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious. Her essays have appeared in the Motherlode blog of the New York Times, the Atlantic online, First Things, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hartford Courant, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, and Parents.com. Amy Julia lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee, in western Connecticut.