A Response to ‘Why White Churches Ignore Black History Month” By Bishop Williams

I pastor in the hood in Detroit.

I was born and raised in Detroit and, in this city, I am a majority! In 2008, during a memorial commemoration of the Detroit riots of 1968, I met Pastor Eric Neale Moore who befriended me, in spite of my reluctance. Almost two and a half years later, Eric became a member of our church, humbly submitting to my pastorate and partnering with the incredible group of brothers and sisters who assemble in a struggling community near Davison and Linwood to worship together as Spirit and Truth Christian Ministries. I was blessed to appoint Eric as our Pastor of Spiritual Formation.

Eric and I have been walking out this journey together, and it has been a tremendous blessing. We take each other to places that neither of us would have been in a few short years ago. Today, I am RSVP’ing for a Legislative Briefing and Banquet sponsored by Citizens for Traditional Values. It’s almost comical to think of myself sitting in a meeting that I probably would’ve been protesting in the past. But because of this journey Eric and I have embarked on, over time, I too am becoming fluent in two diverse cultures! Though my progress has been more halting than Eric’s, I too am coming into an understanding of the deeper pathos and mythos of both the white and black cultures.

Reading Pastor Moore’s article, “Why White Churches Ignore Black History Month,” has literally brought tears to my eyes. For years one of my favorite sayings was one I actually borrowed from the now-defamed Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “I am unashamedly Black. I am unapologetically Christian.” It is from that perspective as a Black Christian that I say “Eric gets it.” If you are one of our white brothers and sisters who is truly concerned about building bridges of understanding with minority communities, I encourage you to read his article again and understand the significance of his willingness to become “immersed in the minority culture and observed the inequities first hand.” Of course, everyone can’t do that and everyone has not been called to do so. But each of us would benefit from listening attentively to the wisdom and the heart of ambassadors like Pastor Eric Neale Moore who have the grace and the desire to create a “culture of honor.”

I am committed to continuing to walk out this journey with my friend, my brother, my partner in ministry, Eric Moore. I am committed to helping him bring like-minded believers, like author Elreta Dodds,  to the table so that “we can sit with each other, ask the hard questions and gain understanding.”

Thank you Eric and God’s blessings on the work of The Culture of Honor.

 

For the Kingdom,

 

James A. Williams, II

Senior Pastor