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Bridging the Racial Divide in America

Former NFL player & senior pastor of Rock Church in San Diego, Miles McPherson addresses the racial divide in the US and offers practical, biblical advice on how to honor God's image in all. Read Transcript


- [Announcer] Miles McPhersonspent four years in the NFL

with the San Diego Chargers

and was known as the Jesus Guy.

Today, he's the SeniorPastor of Rock Church

in San Diego.

One of the most pressingissues Miles has dealt with

is that of racism.

He grew up in a predominantlyblack neighborhood

in Long Island, New York

and went to school in anall white neighborhood.

Miles, who was mixed,

couldn't fit in anywhere.

- Culture always tries toforce us to choose sides.

Are you for me

or against me?

Everything is rooted in anus verse them mentality.

- [Announcer] In hisbook, The Third Option,

Miles encourages us tounify our communities

and to better love our neighbors equally,

starting with ourselves.

- Well Miles is here with us

and welcome to the show.

- Thank you.

Thanks for having me.

- I actually used to think

that the solution to theracial divide in America

was in a marriage.

- Huh.

- But you are living

proof that

nah, it doesn't really work that way.

(laughs)

- It doesn't really work that way.

You know, in every race conversation,

it's about us verse them

and people feel like theyhave to be on one side

against another.

The third option is that wehonor what we have in common

that you're made in theimage of the same God

I'm made in of.

You're genetically 99.5%

identical to me.

You wanna

pursue your dreams and have a family.

So if we honor and place value

on what we have in common,

our humanity,

our relationship with God,

we can solve a lot of these problems.

- Why is it so tough for us to see that?

'Cause I think we tendto see the differences

more than we tend to see the similarity.

We don't see that we have the same blood,

we have the same bone,

you know,

the things we make a big dealout of are actually quite

surface.

- A social narrative is a story

through which creates a lensof how you see the world

and the lens that thisworld tells us is that

it's us verse them.

That the people who are like you

are the people you need to

be around who are safe

and that those people,

whoever those people are,

are dangerous.

They're inferior, they're different,

stay away from them.

And once you're,

once you've decided that you'reone side against another,

then you look at the differences

as reasons to separate versus

evidence of God's creativity.

I mean,

I see you're white, I'm brown,

I'm physically brown/black.

God's...

Those colors are symbolsof God's creativity

and they should be appreciated.

- Why is it a self-reinforcing thing?

Because

that's been one of the puzzles for me.

That as soon as you start thinking

the difference

and that...

As soon as you startthinking that's dangerous

for me to go there,

that it actually reinforces.

You project that.

And as a result, you're goingto get treated that way.

- Yeah.

We surround ourself withpeople who think like us.

And so,

once one person says that,

you will believe andsee what you wanna see.

You could actually talkyourself into seeing a problem.

I mean, if you meet somebody and say,

"They're a gossip," you'll find gossip.

If you just listen and

start imposing your beliefs on them.

But this book is designedto give people tools

to see people differently.

You know, the Bible saysthe greatest commandment

is to love God with yourheart, mind, and soul,

and the second is like it.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

But if I rename yousomething less than neighbor,

I don't need to love you.

And so,

culture has given us all these names

to put on people.

And once I put that label on you,

I cannot relate to you anymore as a human,

as a equal.

And therefore, I permit myself

to allow you to be mistreated.

And so, one of theencouragements in the book is to

relabel everyone yourneighbor, your brother,

and see them as a child of God,

someone made in the image of God,

and there's a lot of othertools in the book to help people

build bridges.

This book is not about

not being racist.

It's about how to be honoring.

One of the big a-has ofwriting this book was

to realize that people can't separate

being racially offensive

from being a racist.

In other words, theythink if I offended you,

I must be a racist.

And because I'm not aracist, I didn't offend you.

We have to separate those two things.

And realize there arethings we can say and do

out of ignorance or fear

that could be offensive.

Well if can learn that,

then I can honor you better

and I don't have to worryabout carrying around

the label of being a racist.

- Alright.

Let's do some practice then.

I just got labeled

the past two weeks

older white male.

And so

that is now creating awhole set of assumptions,

a whole set of attitudes.

Under the honor principle,what should happen now?

- Well it depends on whoyou're talking about.

First, you have to honor yourself.

And acknowledge that youare a older white male.

(laughs)

- [Gordon] I do it every morning.

- Right there.

Every time you look in the mirror...

- And the mirror laughs right back at me.

(laughs)

I know, pal.

- And that you are a older white male

created in the image ofGod and God loves you

and has given you the ability to have

relationship with him

and that your identity in Christ

cannot be shaken by anybody.

That has to be established first.

You also have the abilityto love those people back

and show them that what their

assumptions they're placing on you

are not true.

I've grown up all my life being that

blank, right?

And all my life, okay, God...

I didn't know God til late

so it was a problem.

But now, God's gottacontinue to remind me,

no, I made you that shade,

I made you that height,

and you were made in my image.

And I think that's the first step

is that we have to

believe that

'cause there's always gonna be haters.

Always.

And so,

if you're sure in who you are, and honor,

and place value on who you are,

that has to be the foundation.

- How did you overcome thehate that was put on you?

'Cause you got it from both sides.

- I got it from both sides.

- There wasn't any safeplace for you to go

other than home.

- Yeah, and you know,

in one sense, I did getcriticized in both neighborhoods,

however, when you're a kid,

everybody criticizedeveryone about something

so it wasn't like it was,

I was being hated on.

My best friends, I mean,my best friend's dad

told me when I was in high school--

he was very dark--

my best friend, and he said,

"Miles, the white man gonna love you

"'cause you look like them," and

he was just telling me facts.

You know, he wasn't like, hating on me.

And so, it was always areminder that I was light

and that there was a little difference.

But at the same time,these guys were my friends.

So it wasn't like I was, you know,

running from my life all the time.

But it was something that was there

that was always a reminder,

you know, you're not white,

you're not all black,

and so,

when I found Christ, that was the best

relief of me 'cause God said,

"No, no, I made you unique

"and now, I'm gonna showyou how to leverage that

"uniqueness to bring together,"

and that's why I wrote the book

and that's one of thereasons I wrote the book.

- And you're living it out.

I mean, your church

is an example, isn't it, for all of us.

- Yeah, we have thousands,

tens of thousands of people

of all nationalities.

It looks like the United Nations.

And we worship together,we serve the city together.

- [Gordon] That meansit looks like heaven.

- It looks like heaven, baby.

Looks like...

(laughs)

Exactly.

Matter of fact, it is heaven

in San Diego.

Exactly.

And that was the other thing,

I mean, I see it every day.

My family, I have a white...

I had a white grandmother

and black grandparents and other...

My family was diverse but the church I

pastor is so amazing when you see

people come to the altar, I don't know

what nationality they are.

It's just that diverse.

But yet, we get along

and we worship together, weserve the community together,

and it is a symbol

not only in San Diego, but in the nation

of here's what is possible.

- Yeah, yeah.

We can all be one

in him.

We can be one.

Well Miles's book iscalled The Third Option

and it's available

wherever books are sold.

And thank you.

Thank you for the message.

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