They say, "'Crae, you so divisive, shouldn't be a black church." I say, "Do the math, segregation started that first!" —“Facts” by Lecrae
Churches in America continue to struggle with racial division. It is easy for Christians to become discouraged and perhaps begin to believe a united church is not possible until the new earth. Yet we hear Jesus’ words clearly in John 17:20-21: “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one.”
The Antioch Podcast courageously confronts racism with the goal of church unity in America. Hosted by Eric Nykamp (director of worship design, Madison Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.), this small podcast invites a variety of Christian voices around the table to explore historical systemic racism and ways forward. The Antioch Podcast is a conversation, not a product. The podcast itself isn’t clean, polished, or heavily edited. We hear the technical glitches, awkward moments, and silent pauses. Most episodes are over an hour in length, and several book discussions last six or seven episodes each. Yet the authenticity and slower pace of The Antioch Podcast is refreshing and necessary. Glossing over or rushing through these conversations would do more harm than good.
As a Canadian listener, I feel like a house guest, invited to join a private family meeting of the American church as they wrestle through hurt, injustice, and ongoing dysfunction. Many historical references of people and places were unfamiliar to me; however, I could quickly pick up on the emotion and spirit in the room. Soon I begin to see how these specific moments found within the American church’s context involved principles that were necessary for the global church to hear.
The Antioch Podcast helps me reflect on my own context in Canada. I see the challenges of racial division in the Canadian church. I can begin to unpack my personal assumptions and privilege. And I am brought back to the prayer of Jesus for unity in the church.
In his song “Facts,” Lecrae goes on to provide the path to unity for the American church. “Hey, you want unity? Then read a eulogy. Kill the power that exists up under you and over me.” The Antioch Podcast helps Christians and congregations everywhere understand and dismantle this unbiblical power.
If you are unsure where to start, check out Episode 45: “Understanding White Supremacy Culture.” The Antioch Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts and at Antioch Podcast | learning to lead in the multiethnic church.