I recently finished reading “The Third Option” by Miles McPherson. Miles is a former NFL football player and now serves as pastor of Rock Church San Diego. The book deals with one of the most troubling issues of our culture: racism. 

Pastor Miles offers a compelling case for reconciliation and healing through what he calls the third option. Here are my favorite quotes from each chapter. 

  • I believe racism can only be conquered when individuals take ownership and responsibility for their own attitudes, words, and actions; when another’s experience is understood and honored; and when we decide to tackle racism together.
  • You feel guilty when you do something wrong, but you feel shame when you feel like you are something wrong.
  • When someone says, “I don’t see color,” they are simply ignoring reality.
  • When you don’t belong to a certain group, you’re relatively limited in your knowledge of them. You may have had one or two personal experiences, but most likely you’ve been influenced by other people’s comments and the media.
  • …we are equals because we each possess the same image of God. The image we carry comes part and parcel, with unalienable rights. These rights are unalienable because God’s image in us cannot be removed and because He gave them to us.
  • It’s impossible to honor the image of God in you when I’m obsessed with me.
  • A blind spot doesn’t mean you don’t want to see something; it means you can’t see what you’re missing.
  • Here’s a link to the test if you’re interested in learning more about your own blind spots: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/user/agg/blindspot/indexrk.htm.
  • Here’s a better way to approach media consumption: Ask yourself if what you’re watching or listening to helps or hinders your ability to love your neighbor. Does it make you feel more justified in your biases, or does it foster a sense of compassion in your heart?
  • Racial reconciliation won’t happen until we can love each other with a Godly love that takes over our will and breaks our hearts.
  • Many people confuse forgiveness with approval of an offensive or harmful act. Others have a false idea that forgiveness erases accountability. Neither of these concepts captures the real nature of forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness means that you no longer hold someone responsible for healing the pain of an offense toward you.
  • As William H. Willimon writes in his book, Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, “In competition with other emotions, even strong ones like lust, fear seems to best them all in the intensity of engagement of our whole limbic (emotional) system.” When we feel threatened, we think less clearly, have difficulty receiving and interpreting new information, make far more mistakes in perception, and respond negatively to situations—focusing on the downside and taking fewer risks.
  • Selfish ambition stands in stark contrast to Godly ambition and is roundly denounced throughout the Bible.
  • It’s hard to hate someone you’ve really gotten to know—and just as difficult to agree with someone you don’t.
  • Dishonorable assumptions always lead to dishonorable results.
  • The better we understand the burden others carry, the easier it is to honor their pain, and the more likely we’ll be to try and alleviate it.
  • Schools in lower-income areas—often communities of color—have access to less funding, due to a lower tax base and marginalized political representation.
  • What is a meaningful conversation? I suggest it’s a dialogue in which all participants grow and learn a different facet of the truth. If you’re not seeing new truths from different perspectives, you’re probably not having a meaningful conversation.
  • Love simply means asking the question “How can I help you?”  …responding to the answer you get in a manner that’s consistent with honoring God.
  • Children are like sponges: they soak up whatever’s in their environment. That’s true whether the environment is positive or negative. So when parents intentionally act to include or exclude certain groups of people from their social circles, children take note of their parents’ actions and internalize the belief systems that are modeled for them. This can have long-lasting effects that reach into adulthood—effects that are either positive or negative, depending on how their parents raised them.
  • As members of the human race, the values we share far outweigh our differences. When we choose to look for commonality with others, their lights and ours shine in recognition of each other.
  • If you’re looking for a reason to segregate, you will find one. But if you’re looking for reasons to honor and unite, you’ll find many.
  • You’re guaranteed to make mistakes, so give yourself permission to make them, and grant others the same grace you extend yourself whenever they make theirs.

 

I want to encourage you to read more. You could start by reading this book. We can all grow from the lessons shared here. I hope this will encourage you to be a reconciler.

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