The Miseducation of a Black Boy
If not for the early demonstrable love of the white Kindstedt family who grafted me into their family in the 1960s, I would have been more vulnerable to becoming a miseducated black boy. If not for the unapologetic presence of the white community activist who lived in my neighborhood, Father Neil Hastings, who ran outreach programs for inner city black kids, I would have likely become deeply suspicious of any white person I spotted in “the Hood.” If not for a few close friendships I developed in the white evangelical Bible college I started attending in the late 1970s, I would have likely been unable to comfortably minister to and receive ministry from those outside the black church experience. If I had not personally witnessed certain white evangelical leaders nurture the bond of true friendship with my dad who was an inner city pastor, I may have well opted out of multi-ethnic and cross-cultural ministry preaching, teaching and music.
If not for the warm inclusive reception I received at a “racially woke white church” during the early 2000s when I desperately needed a sabbatical respite, I might have convinced myself the less than celebrative worship atmosphere, simply could not be digested. If not for a white pastor from NorthStar who intentionally extended the warm hand of friendship to me shortly after I newly arrived to Virginia, I may have chosen to not put in the necessary effort to connect beyond my budding friendships with black pastors in the area. If not for the clearly expressed interest in me by the past and current Executive Director, and their apparent openness to endorse racial equality as one of the Association's priorities, I would have perhaps concluded that NorthStar knew better, but wasn't willing to do better around the race and inclusion issue.
Don’t get me wrong; over the many years of my ministry journey there have been plenty of sour, racially tinged troublesome experiences with white Christians, but as signaled above, the just-mentioned experiences helped to keep me from being yet another black man who's convinced that even in the church of Christ, there can never be demonstrable and real movement toward the equality of all of God’s children.
If you’re a white person, try NOT to be a contributor to the miseducation of an African American, and if you’re an African American, try NOT to be a contributor to the miseducation of a white person.