To understand my evolution as a reconciliation leader, you must first understand that I began my journey sincerely believing that if I could convince evangelical Christians that reconciliation was not some politically motivated agenda but a biblical calling rooted in Scripture, they would pursue racial justice. For years I tried to be biblical enough, nonthreatening enough, patient enough, persuasive enough, theologically rigorous enough, so that no one could say I had a hidden agenda. I wanted to see a revival come to and through the church by helping Christians become more actively involved in changing the world through the ministry of reconciliation.
And that’s what my ministry was about for a long time. I preached the good news of multiculturalism and diversity at churches and conferences. I led workshops and taught seminars and told people about inclusion and equity and how Jesus demonstrated these principles in his ministry. But along the way, there were indicators that my approach, while good and well-intentioned, was not effecting the type of change I knew in my heart needed to take place.
As I have continued to wrestle with making sense of what is happening in the world around me, another question has emerged: What are you going to do about it? The answer is clear in my spirit, but not easy to fully accept. I decided to become brave – to say the things that I must say and to stand for the truth, regardless of the consequences. I knew that I had to start preaching a more honest and direct message about how we, the church, must work to repair broken systems, alongside those affected by them, in order to engage in reconciliation.
From “Becoming Brave: Finding The Courage To Pursue Racial Justice Now” by Brenda Salter McNeil – Brazos Press