Podcast focused on racial reconciliation launches

by Tess Schoonhoven, posted Thursday, June 04, 2020 (one year ago)

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) -- "The Reconciliation Conversation," a podcast aimed to "encourage love, expose hate, equip for reconciliation and emphasize unity, so that red and yellow and black and white can know our value together," debuted its first episode Wednesday (June 3).

The podcast, co-hosted by Jason Dukes, church multiplication minister at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn., and Derrick DeLain, pastor of the soon-to-be-launched Proclamation Church plant in Nashville, features conversations about racial unity, the Gospel, and the role Christians have to play in cultivating a culture in which people value each other.

Both DeLain, who is black, and Dukes, who is white, said they hope the podcast can serve as a resource for Christians to learn about facilitating meaningful, productive conversations and about actions that bring real change to current, oppressive systems.

Dukes, who brought the idea of a podcast to DeLain, said creating a space to explore these issues had been a goal.

"I really desired to see more individuals who call themselves Jesus followers to engage in the conversation, to feel a little bit more of what is felt outside of privilege," Dukes said. "The notion of doing this kind of thing has been on my heart for a long time."

Delain said many of the conversations covered in the podcast will likely also take place among new churchgoers when Proclamation Church is launched in Nashville in January 2021.

"We essentially want to have this podcast be a challenge to a lot of the systems that are set in place," DeLain said. "We want to see a lot of this racial disunity in America come to an end."

DeLain acknowledged that as Christians, they know that an end to racial division comes only through the Gospel and will only be truly achieved in heaven (Revelation 5 and 7). But the men hope to see some of heaven's unity on earth.

"There's always hesitancies in stepping into this conversation on a larger scale," DeLain said. "There are people who are coming in who view this as an anti-Gospel. But the reality is that if you really begin to dig into the Bible and the whole counsel of Scripture, we see that this is a Gospel issue."

The podcast was originally planned to launch in mid-June, but recent events convinced them to launch earlier.

"I'm heavy about what this could mean," Dukes said, "and understanding that we're facing a stronghold here. And obviously there comes a lot of difficulties, so that's a lot of what Derrick and I have been talking through. Are we willing to link arms and face the difficulty that may come if we really stood up on this issue and challenged leaders to pay attention to it?"

In the first episode, Dukes and DeLain unpacked the goals of the podcast, diving deeper into the aspects of the mission statement -- encouraging love, exposing hate, equipping for reconciliation and emphasizing unity. Dukes believes silence on these issues demonstrates a lack of care for racial justice and unity.

"If the cross declared anything, it declared that everyone of us are worth dying for," he said. "And we want people to know that they're worth dying for, instead of watching people die on videos. It's a lack of that, that hurts us. It's that simple understanding that everyone has such beautifully declared value.

"Most of us are not even willing to stick it out in the church family when reconciliation is required. If we're struggling with that as followers of Jesus inside church culture, no wonder we're struggling with that in the culture at large. We should be as salt and light shaping that culture."

The men hope to continue the podcast as long as they are able, bringing in other speakers and leaders to engage racial issues.

"Unfortunately, racism is a continuing issue in our society," DeLain said, "and there's gonna be more and more people who need to understand the ins and outs of reconciliation, with God and with each other. Until Jesus comes back we know this is going to be a continuing issue. So, to continue to be a voice in that, my hope is that we'll continue to go for as long as we see fit."

The first podcast episode, along with other resources and information from Dukes and DeLain can be found at reconciliationconversation.com.

Tess Schoonhoven is a Baptist Press staff writer.
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