The Great Debaters


Saw The Great Debaters last night. WOW, what a great movie! What an even greater story in the history of our country. As The Bridge makes its move to Clifton I have been spending time with as many people with different perspectives on our society as possible, especially in the area of race.

For some reason the church has been OK with being a segregated hour on Sunday for a long time. We don’t really think about it, and we talk about it even less.

I went to the movie with a friend of mine, who is the vice president of a mission in downtown Cincinnati, and has hopes of becoming a pastor in the near future. He is a great thinker who loves God and believes the church is a beautiful thing, with a long way to go in the area of race. As a black man, he sees the world very differently than I do. It is not that one is right and one one is wrong, but that we grew up about as opposite as I can imagine. We have long, and sometimes intense discussions about everything you could imagine from each of our different perspectives.

Sadly, very few of us have people in our lives that we respect and care about, that grew up as differently as my friend and I did. What is even more disturbing, is that the difference are carried into the church, and we have tendency to assume that we understand things that we have no basis for understanding without relationships.

In all honesty, watching the movie with him was both great, and incredibly uncomfortable. I was overwhelmed with the idea that I could have sat through the movie and never had to think that slavery and racism are aspects that form the person I am and how I picture the world. I imagine I could have watched the entire movie just for entertainment!

Either way, you need to see the movie…but I would encourage you to go with someone who will experience it differently than you, and afterward spend some time talking about how it hit each of you. We can’t create change if we refuse to be uncomfortable, we can’t create change if we continue to do what we have always done with the people we have always done it with.


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