Last week our staff and our church had the privilege of hearing from sociologist and professor George Yancey. We’re incredibly thankful to Dr. Yancey for taking the time to speak on the obstacles that stand in the way of racial reconciliation and the biblical ways we can overcome these obstacles. With Dr. Yancey, we pray that the church would seize the opportunity before us, showing our racialized and jaded society what racial harmony truly looks like.

Here are some of the best moments from his various talks last week:

“The first thing we have to recognize is that we create categories of race that benefit ourselves. We all do it, because we’re all depraved.”

“When a church has inter-racial communication that builds up relationships rather than creates conflict, that’s a sign of health in a church. That’s the goal.”

“When we’re interacting with our brothers and sisters from other ethnicities, we need to have patience, courage, and humility—courage to say some uncomfortable truths, patience to say those truths 10 times, and humility to hear those uncomfortable truths 10 times, too.”

“This is going to be risky. Can you take the risk to listen deeply to those you disagree with? Our society doesn’t seem to have this ability. Those of us in the church need to model it.”

“If the church can get its act together on race, it will make a huge difference in our increasingly post-Christian society.”

“Until you have buy-in from every racial group, no solution you put forward is going to work. It will always be perceived as an ‘outsider’ answer, and someone will inevitably sabotage it.”

“The easy solutions to racism have already been done. We’ve passed laws. We’ve stigmatized overt racism. Thank God for that. But now the hard stuff is left—real conversation and reconciliation. And that’s something only the church can do.”

“I can’t know where you’re coming from unless I ask … and then, listen.”

“I think it’s a positive thing to put pressure on people ‘not to be racist.’ How great would it be if there were similar pressures to listen to one another?”

“In thinking through our current racial situation, we tend to want to think about fault. There’s a place for that discussion, but I want us to think more about responsibility and accountability. Look, regardless of our past, we were all born into this situation. It’s a reality. But if we don’t do something about it, then we’ll pass the same situation on to our kids. I’m not OK with that.”

“Reading books about race is great. But if we’re going to move in this, it has to be mostly flesh to flesh. This has to start in relationships.”

“I know this can get tiring, and there are many people who experience fatigue. But we can never give up. I believe God wants racial reconciliation for us. And if we do the hard work of following him—listening deeply, extending grace—eventually heaven will move. I don’t know about you, but I want to be there when it does. I want to tell my kids that I was a part of that move of God.”