Reflections on Racial Reconciliation January 17, 2018
With today being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it's made me go back in my memory. People my age ... had their worlds rocked by three assassinations in the 1960's: President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. I was in high school when the last two were killed.
I attended a high school that was two thirds white and a third black. The late sixties were a time of racial tension. And yet I had several "friends" who were black. Or did I?
The truth is I had several African American friends with whom I played sports. I played offense on football. One of our receivers was Hay-wood Hunt. Haywood and I also played basketball together through high school. Our running backs were great, Charlies Parsons and Bonnie White.
See, I remember them. I remember their names. I remember them with fondness. It was so much fun to be on their team. And yet, that's where our "friendship" ended. Oh, we'd high five one another in the hallway. But at lunch, I didn't sit with Haywood, Charlie, or Bonnie. Nor did they sit with me. Outside of school, I never saw Haywood, Charlie, or Bonnie. Nor did they see me.
For those who didn't have after school activities, most whites got on buses that headed in one direction ... and most blacks got on buses that headed the other direction. And yet, we were "friends."
Fast forward almost fifty years! I have a ton of African American pas-tors in Greensboro. In fact, I probably know more black pastors than white. I know their names. I know and have visited their churches. I think of them with fondness. It is so much fun to be on their team. I know we consider ourselves as friends. And yet, I wonder if my friendships in 2018 ... are not all that different than my friendships in 1968 ... when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot.
Friendships, as fellow teammates, was great.
Friendships, as fellow pastors, has been wonderful.
Perhaps, just not enough.
Racial reconciliation requires that we intentionally seek friendships for life.
I trust I'm not too late.
Don Miller, Lead Pastor