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.
- [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.
- But you are living
nah, it doesn't really work that way.
- 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
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.
pursue your dreams and have a family.
So if we honor and place value
on what we have in common,
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,
the things we make a big dealout of are actually quite
- 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,
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 see you're white, I'm brown,
I'm physically brown/black.
Those colors are symbolsof God's creativity
and they should be appreciated.
- Why is it a self-reinforcing thing?
that's been one of the puzzles for me.
That as soon as you start thinking
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.
We surround ourself withpeople who think like us.
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.
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
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.
Let's do some practice then.
I just got labeled
the past two weeks
older white male.
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.
- [Gordon] I do it every morning.
- Right there.
Every time you look in the mirror...
- And the mirror laughs right back at me.
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
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
'cause there's always gonna be haters.
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,
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.
Matter of fact, it is heaven
in San Diego.
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
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.