With tremendous honesty, passion and wisdom, Roland Warren presents a “third way” approach to racial reconciliation and healing. Warren shares vulnerably about his first experience of racism and the impact it has had on his life. He also explains how God began to reveal insights about the current cultural climate by pointing him back to lessons learned in his early days at Goldman Sachs.
Starting with Joshua 5:13-14 (see text below) and then looking at the model of Jesus, Warren urges us to put aside the “tribal” sides that divide us over issues and concepts like “systemic racism”, “white privilege” and “black lives matter vs. all lives matter” and consider what it would look like to be “on God’s side” in addressing issues of racism and racial division. Warren reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle, and that the “two sides” are really the divisive side of Satan and the reconciling side of God–that is the real choice we have to make.
Warren shows that God’s way, as modeled by Jesus, is to pursue reconciliation by changing individual hearts–that systemic racial problems will only heal when people’s hearts have been changed to embrace both justice and mercy–whites and blacks committed to fighting injustice and forgiving. Warren boldly asserts that reconciliation will never happen between a guilty person and an angry person, which is why many current narratives and efforts just bring greater division.
During his 22 minute talk and an extended 45 minutes of Q&A, Roland addresses topics such as:
- Why messages of reconciliation are not being heard because the media needs “volatility” for news.
- How systemic injustice toward blacks today can be compared to systemic injustice toward Jews at the time of Jesus, and how Jesus addressed the systemic by changing individual hearts.
- The lessons we can learn from how Jesus perceived and treated victims and victimizers.
- Drawing on his experience as President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, the need to help build strong black families.
- Drawing on his experience as current CEO of Care-Net, the tragic reasoning that he believes leads to a disproportionate number of black abortions.
- That truly “caring” about black lives means caring comprehensively, from “womb to tomb”.
- How whites and blacks can (and must) move toward reconciliation by getting past positions of anger and guilt.
- The importance of personal responsibility and forgiveness in pursuing reconciliation.
- Practical ways whites can come alongside blacks in the pursuit of reconciliation without supporting organizations they believe have a different agenda.
- How “God’s side” of reconciliation can be expressed in secular terms as the universal desire for “peace”.
Warren’s message and perspective is one most people have probably not heard, but it is one that needs to be heard.
Here is a link to the 2016 article Warren mentions in his talk. https://assets.newcanaansociety.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2020/06/26120849/washingtontimes.com-Black-Lives-Matters-real-agenda.pdf
Joshua 5:13-14 13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[a] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”