I Have a Dream by David Lewis

September 25, 2020by Vernon Tannahill

We just passed the Anniversary of the March on Washington. I now have a dream I didn’t have even 10 years ago. I have a dream of my grandkids growing up in a society where ethnic and cultural issues are minimized and the color of their skin will not affect the quality of their life.

Eyes are often opened over time. I would never have called myself a racist (I don’t like this word as we are all one race created by God) but in reality I was. I felt that the poor belonged where they were. It was their own fault for not getting off government help and working. Some have, but they still feel the pain and effect of racism. Many others have tried but don’t have access to the resources or education to escape. And yes, some choose to stay. My point is, much like Jonah’s view of the Ninevites, I thought I lived a better Christian life and deserved the grace of God more.

The Ethnic Divide From My Perspective. I have served the African American community now for 20 years. I have seen and heard so much of their pain, some of it first hand. During our first years I often traveled with Bro. Walker. When flying his bags would be searched but mine would not. While on recruiting trips people would interact with me instead of him, even though he was older and the Camp Director. More recently one of our African American staff was stopped in our county and was surrounded by police cars with 8 guns pointed at his head. These are just a few examples.

I was walking the other day in Atlanta with no fear for my life even though I was in a African American neighborhood, but as I walked I began thinking about my grandsons who are Black. If I, if we, don’t see the reality of the world they are growing up in and what my children will have to teach my grandchildren about how to interact with the police and others, true change will never come. I did not begin to understand the issues until I started getting close to and doing life with the people I serve. PLEASE trust me on this, the issues are real and we need God’s wisdom to know the right course of action from here. If you truly want to understand, listen and hear the issues from the other side’s perspective, I will help you make those connections. Ethnic divides have been around a long time (Jonah hated the Ninevites because of how they treated his people. The Jews hated the Samaritans because they thought of them as half-breeds.) but with your help we can make a difference today in the way we think and act towards our brothers and sisters who are hurting, especially now. Please pray, listen, sympathize and seek to understand our hurting brothers and sisters.

Vernon Tannahill