One reason I believe the Lord led us to move from Minnesota to Alabama was to learn more, and somehow be involved with, reconciliation when it comes to racism. What I witnessed last night was something that wasn’t “new” or something I was on the “ground floor” as a movement.
What I witnessed last night in Mobile, Alabama was a movement that has been going and is gaining quiet momentum. I heard about the event, “Shrink the Divide”, at the church we’re attending and knew I needed to go. If nothing else, I would finally get to hear Dr. John Perkins in person. That alone was enough for me. I found out what was going on was a movement of pastors and leaders who had been working for over three years on building friendship and having tough conversations as they discussed race and racism in Mobile.
Dr. Russell Moore and Dr. John Perkins were keynote speakers, but it was a capstone to what was already in motion. Across the Mobile area is a movement among pastors to get to know each other. The steering committee committed to meeting every other week for the past three years to learn from each other. This wasn’t symbolic. It wasn’t a quarterly lunch. It was an ongoing conversation.
When Dr. Perkins began to speak, he let us know this was joy. He was watching a place come together after a lot of hard work and he said it was fulfilling a lifelong dream of his to witness this moment. It was electric in that auditorium hearing him say this.
The event wasn’t to be something to say, “Oh, I went to hear Russell Moore or John Perkins.” It was an invitation. Over and over the message was simple: “Go meet someone who is not like you and smile. Greet them. Connect with them. Invite them for coffee or lunch.”
I witnessed an invitation to a simple movement. Russell Moore preached from Ephesians 3 and let the crowd know that even if Mobile, Alabama didn’t recognize what was going on, the enemy would recognize what was going on. And the enemy was more important because it would be a signal to him that the Church was finally meaning business in this area of racial reconciliation.
This move to Alabama wasn’t for me to “start” something. It was for me to join something. There is a movement started that is serving notice on principalities and powers. The Church is in the business of becoming ONE. And Christ is glorified.