Recently I read a series of Twitter posts from a man who left a church after several unpleasant interactions with the pastor regarding race (his) and enslavement. There was more to the story than just this one offensive topic—this was the breaking point for a Black man and his family who never were fully accepted into their church, and although they loved the church notionally, they realized they had to leave as their very being was disrespected and they themselves were neither fully seen nor loved.

I expressed my emotions to him and his family of my own sorrow and grief that he had been treated this way. And I added that I had to read his original post more than twice because my head could not wrap itself around the idea that a well-meaning pastor of a mostly white church with some Black members could openly say the words that enslavement of this parishioner wouldn’t be “sinful” as long as the pastor treated this Black man “as Paul commanded.”

I thought the interaction ended there. I had done well. But then someone responded that, based on my statement, I was admitting that I was unable to hear the truth of this man’s statement, and instead was listening to the innocence of the white pastor. I’ll confess that set me back. Why of course I was willing to hear it!

But no. I wasn’t.