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Race and Faith

CBN Sports Director Shawn Brown discusses race and faith with 700 Club Interactive’s Andrew Knox. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: It's been nearly three years since Baltimore Ravens

Tight End, Ben Watson, shared his feelings on Facebook

about a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury's decision

not to press charges against Darren Wilson, the officer who

shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown.

A year after his post, he released a book

to expand upon what he was feeling

and titled, Under Our Skin, Getting Real About Race

and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations That

Divide Us.

Then on February 16, 2017, he teamed up

with Tindale publishers to host the Under Our Skin forum

to discuss race and faith.

You wrote a book called, Under Our Skin,

and now we're here at the Under Our Skin forum.

Talk about the importance of writing that book,

and then why you decided to do a forum.

I was simply expressing my feelings as a black man,

as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a friend,

as a teammate.

All those things, and just seeing

what was happening over the last couple of years

prompted me to lend my voice and say I was frustrated.

I was hopeless watching these things,

but I was still hopeful.

I can see the progress that has been made,

but we still have a ways to go.

And finally, just resting my hope in the fact

that the gospel is what gives us power.

And our hope is that people come and that God opens their eyes

to see inside of themselves, and see

how they feel about this topic, and where

they need to get better.

NARRATOR: The forum featured an all-star panel with ESPN's Sage

Steele as moderator.

Here's hall of fame coach, Tony Dungy.

Why do you think this is important?

And what are you hoping people will get from it?

Well, right now we have a lot of things going on

in our country in terms of direction, where we're headed,


And we've all kind of rehearsed the problems.

But I think what we can do with this forum,

we have some people who have some solutions, some answers.

We believe the answers are in Jesus Christ.

And as a Christian church, we've got

to step forward and be the remedy.

Be the solution.

And so I think that's probably the biggest

thing that encourage people, we've

got to be a little bit bolder.

We've got to go out there and get on the front line

as Christ would want us to do.

NARRATOR: Danny Wuerffel agrees with Coach Dungy,

and feels the church has been a bit behind when it

comes to racial reconciliation.

I think we should be leading the charge We should

be the ones that are way out in front

saying everybody let's have some humility.

Christ teaches us to be humble.

Lets care for all those, especially

those that may be hurting.

But what I continue to wrestle with is in many ways,

the church has often lagged behind, in some ways.

And it's other people that are kind of spearheading this.

That's part of the challenge.

That's why I'm glad to be here at something like this.

I think the idea of God and what He's

done in our life and Christ, and being in Christ

gives us the tools and the opportunity.

To me, it's clear in scripture.

It's a priority.

We should be the ones leading the charge,

not like we so often are kind of dragging our feet.

NARRATOR: James Brown says in order to be the solution,

we need more diversity in our conversations.

We talk about what needs to be done,

but so many of the conversations take

place in homogeneous groups.

Groups of people who look like each other.

We need to talk to each other, and having a diverse panel

like we have here, I think is going to be

an excellent start to that.

Hopefully encouraging conversations

cross culturally now so that people can truly

hear each other.

Because I'm a firm believer that there

can be no true worship with everything

focused towards Jesus without reconciliation.

NARRATOR: Mo Isom says the conversation is really

about gaining understanding.

To sit down with an eclectic mix of people

and talk about the real hard issues is just crucial.

I think sometimes people who look like me struggle to stop

and really listen.

We listen with the intent to respond rather than listening

with the intent to understand.

And I just hope that this forum opens up that door,

and a lot is said and a lot is heard that's unifying.

It's a real conversation that we all need to have.

It's a call to action.

So if you are sitting on the couch, on the bench,

or on the sidelines, it's time to get in the game.

What can you do to make change, you might ask?

Well according to our panelists, it

starts with God's unconditional love and understanding.

And that process begins in our hearts.

NARRATOR: Former NFL running back, Warrick Dunn,

uses the game of football to explain

how Christians need to come together for the common goal.

When you're getting drafted and guys come

from different backgrounds, you don't think

about color or nationality.

You think about we all have a common goal,

and that's to be successful.

NARRATOR: Authors Ben Shaka and Jake Evan Butcher

remind everyone of the role Christians play,

and that unconditional love is the key to reconciliation.

I think it's Matthew 5:9 where Jesus

says blessed are the peacemakers for they

shall be called sons of God.

And to be a peacemaker, you got to enter into tension.

And I think that one of the things that we tend to do,

I can speak for myself, is we're peace keepers.

We want to maintain, and bottle up, and preserve the peace

that we have.

And I just look at the life of Christ

and I always saw him entering into places,

into relationships, in those cultures and contexts where

there was already conflict and animosity between people

for a variety of reasons.

And he put himself on the line and said

I'm going to seek to make peace, and then it cost him dearly.

And so I think for all of us as the body of Christ

is saying where is peace missing?

And what is my responsibility to be

a maker of peace in that place whether it's

through proclaiming the gospel, but also demonstrating it.

And Jesus said to his disciples

right before he went to the cross,

and the last words are usually the most important words,

he said a new commandment I give to you, that you love

one another as I have loved you because if you will love one

another as I have loved you, the whole world will

know that you are my followers.

Well joining me now is CBN Sports Reporter Shawn Brown.

Shawn, thanks for being here, buddy.


Thank you, brother.

It's good to be here.

A lot of heavy hitters there.

People like James Brown and Mo Isom.

They've got a real wonderful, hearts for the Lord,

and that certainly shines through.

The moderator of the panel, Sage Steele of ESPN,

is getting some negative feedback.

Tell us about that.

It was interesting.

Again, a lot of panelists, a lot of different perspectives,

but Sage, she actually shared a little bit

of what was going on with her.

I think at some point during the 2016 NFL season,

a lot of NFL players were protesting different things.

And I think it was Mike Evans from Tampa Bay who, I guess,

decided to sit during the national anthem and the raising

of the flag because he was displeased with the way

the election went.

I think it was something like that.

And she posted how she felt about it,

and really got ripped by the African-American community

because of it.

She took that to heart and she shared a little bit

about how she felt. And her question during the panel

was what do you do when the negative feedback that you're

getting or the ridicule you're feeling

is from people that look like you?

Because she had a viewpoint that people didn't expect.

It went against the norm.

Exactly They went against the norm.

The thing you have to understand about Sage,

she grew up with a military background.

I believe, first of all, she's biracial.

I believe her mother's white, her dad is African-American.

Her father is Army, and I believe

was a high ranking officer in the Army.

And she shared a bit about that.

And here's the thing, when you grow up in the military--

as I did, my father's retired Navy--

and when you're living on a military base, you wake up to--

[MAKING SOUNDS LIKE A HORN] That's how you wake up,

and you go to bed to Taps.

[HUMMING TAPS] So when you grow up like that, your political.

You love the country.

Everything that you live and breathe

is for the red, white, and the blue.

And so you become very patriotic.

And so to see someone kneeling for the flag

to someone who grew up like that, it's upsetting.

And unless you understand that, you have to understand it.

One of my favorite people on the planet

because I have the privilege of meeting James Brown

as you obviously have too, the football commentator and host,

he's just a remarkable man.

Just a wonderful Christ follower.

He said something here that really impacted you,

what was that?

One of the things--

we moved through the panel, and once we got towards the end,

he shared something with me-- during the interview

and during the panel-- he said one of the things

that we tend to do as believers, he

said a pastor once told him it's like this

when it comes to this issue in terms of faith and race.

He said a coach calls a play.

Gives a play to the quarterback.

The quarterback goes into the huddle.

Tells the huddle, tells all the players on the team

the play to run.

They don't have time to sit there and talk and discuss

about the play.

Do we want to do this?

Do we want to do this?

Should we run this play?

They don't have time to sit there

and pontificate about the play.

Just run the play.

Just run the play.

Do what he says.

Just do what the play is.

And so for Christians, God's given us the Bible.

That's our playbook.

The basic instructions before leaving Earth.

And so he's given us very specific plays

for this particular issue.

Love thy neighbor as thyself.

That's the second greatest commandment

he gave us next to loving God with all your might.

And so that would be the remedy, but for a lot of us,

we're sitting here having these homogeneous conversations,

and not really talking together.

Did the conference hit, though?

We all now the issue, some specific steps, I guess,

one is love unconditionally.

I like what Mo Isom said too.

She said a lot of times we listen to people so we're

ready to react to them, as opposed to processing

and listening and understanding.

Yes, but that goes-- it's full circle.

It's just not whites or Caucasians.

I think that's for everyone.

Sometimes if you're quick to anger,

you're not listening anymore because you have a hot button.

Whatever that hot button is, whatever your experience is

coming to the table, that hot button is pressed,

you're no longer listening.

But the Lord showed me something interesting, he said--

and I shared this with a lot of panelists--

I said in Proverbs 2:6, it says the Lord gives wisdom.

From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.

And so there is an equation there.

Wisdom is the sum of knowledge plus understanding.

So if you don't take what you know, and we

know a lot of things, without taking time to understand them,

it is impossible for us to respond with wisdom.

And so that listening brings understanding.

And so here I am sitting here and you're sitting here,

if I don't know you without taking time

to understand what you're about, where you're from,

it's kind of hard for me to gain a full understanding

and respond with wisdom.

And I think it's so important to your father, and so am I,

and it's so important for fathers in this country

to step up.

In a lot of homes, there's absentee fathers.

Or perhaps fathers are in the home

and they're poor role models.

I think a lot of that starts with dads.



As a father, I've taught my kids--

I know you've taught your kids--

to love all people regardless of the color of your skin.

What they look like on the outside.

I've always taught my kids that when people look at you,

it takes less than three seconds to formulate

an opinion about you.

Based off what you look like and then what you say.

And so understanding that, that's going to happen,

but don't let that be the end all be all.

Don't let that be the driving force behind how

you interact with someone.

Forums a great idea, great people there.

But leaving there, what changes?

Does anything change?

Well, that's the thing.

We have to run the play.

That's why I thought it was so great.

You have to run the play.

God has given it to us.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

If we don't do that, first it starts within ourselves as you

saw, it starts in ourselves.

We have to search our own hearts,

and find those areas where--

here's how you know.

If you're in a conversation and you're quick to anger,

more than likely you have an issue there.

If you're entering into conversations of race

and you're quick to anger about things

because you're bringing your experiences into it--

And sometimes those experiences

are very powerful and valid.

They are very powerful valid, but you

have to do it God's way.

You have to say hey, wait a minute.

Let me search my heart and figure out

how would God handle this?

How would Jesus handle this?

What's the right way moving forward?

Because, again, as they pointed out, sin is the root issue.

And if you acknowledge the fact that sin is the root issue,

then we have to do it God's way.

Because there's no way to drive that out without it.

Once we close, why don't we pray briefly

for this whole situation and reconciliation.

Why don't you lead us, Shawn?

Father, God, we just thank you.

Thank you for the honor and the privilege

to be able to experience something like this.

This example of what the conversation needs to be,

just being able to talk openly and real about faith and race,

and then what our role as believers, as Christians

should be.

As Danny Wuerffel said we should be on the forefront.

We should be out front leading the way.

And again, that process starts within our hearts, oh, God.

So I pray for all of us starting with myself.

Just have us search our hearts Lord, God.

Enable us to search our hearts, clean our hearts out, Lord God.

And just unpack this thing.

Unpack it so that we realize that we can make a difference

out there in the world.

Again, it starts with us cleaning our own hearts,

and then sharing your love.

Not loving from our ability to love, but loving from the way

that you would love us, and love everyone else.

Just from that place, oh, God.

And we just thank you for that.

We thank you for that reconciliation

that takes place.

And it's not every one, but we all

need a little bit of touch, Lord.

We need a little bit of that anointing.

And just to go out in the community

and make a difference.

And we just thank you for that, God.

Thank you.

In Jesus' name, Amen.


Thank you, Shaun.

Good to be with you, buddy.

You also.


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