Tapestry: Race, Power, & The Gospel
When God created humanity in His Image, Imago Dei, He immediately tied our individual identity to who we are in relationship with Him and other people. But when sin came into the world, it affected and infected everything; including how we view God, ourselves, and the people around us. Left to our own preference we destructively pursue blissfully comfortable and tension-free lives that avoid interacting with anybody who gets in our way of devoted self-focus. Universally, outside of divine intervention, we have a broken view of God, ourselves, and the people around us. We would much rather look the other way than be exposed to the (all of) life-altering good news of Jesus.
Many of us have been able to embrace some parts of God’s restorative work, while ignoring and resisting others; particularly people of economic and social privilege, like myself. But God’s relentless commitment to His people keeps us graciously unsafe from His all-encompassing restorative work. Recently the political, social, and religious landscape of the world around us has made it harder and harder to pretend there is not still a lot of brokenness that needs to be dealt with.
While we structure our lives to keep us from entering into the scary waters of reconciliation, those are precisely the waters Jesus has come to lead us into. He came, lived, died, and rose again to (re)form an otherwise broken people who are to live and thrive together as His image bearers forever. From beginning to end, both the Scriptures and the life of Jesus are bursting with real, difficult, head-scratching examples and promises of what restored humanity looks like. It is clear that when God says He will crush sin and its devastating effects (Genesis 3), and when Jesus victoriously declares that He is indeed making all things new (Revelation 21) that human interaction is of central importance.
At Redemption Tucson we still have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do up ahead. From our very first corporate gathering, preaching about ‘the rich, young ruler’ (Mark 19:16-22) I said we can take comfort in knowing that we will all be uncomfortable together. In light of the continued and likely challenging work Jesus is calling us into regarding the full ministry of reconciliation, I’m calling us to once again find comfort in clinging to the gospel together. The fact that our good Father wants to fully restore His children to reflect Him in how we relate with others, other image bearers of God, should simultaneously bring hope-filled joy and righteously informed fear.
So we are calling all of our people, and opening the doors to any other churches and groups around Tucson who want to take part, to be part of Tapestry: A conversation on race, power, and the gospel. The details are laid out below in greater detail below, but let me say here, as plainly as I possibly can: I hope everybody who calls Redemption Tucson their church home will be at this important event. I hope everybody I know will be there, but I am particularly asking everyone from Redemption Tucson to be there!
Safford School Auditorium
Thursday, November 10
Childcare & Snacks / Coffee Provided
I am humbled and honored beyond explanation that I get to lead our church and grow together as disciples (followers) of Jesus in all of life.
Speakers: A uniquely gifted group of local and nearby (Phoenix) leaders who have navigated various aspects of how the gospel informs matters of race. We will hear from a broad group of people through various forms of communication: story, poetry, panel-conversation, and Q & A.
Audience: EVERYBODY! Whether you are intrigued, apathetic, passionate, annoyed, scared, or uncomfortable, this is meant to invite everybody into the conversation of how the gospel speaks into such important topics of our day.
Tapestry: A conversation on Race, Power, & The Gospel.
Why the name, Tapestry?
Diversity is a fine word and we will likely still use it a lot, but it is not the most helpful word for opening a conversation about what it means to be the people of God coming together from different Race, Gender, Class, and Age groups. Diversity is like a quilt. A quilt is made up of many separate pieces of fabric sewn together to form one blanket. Though it is attractive and functional, made up of diverse pieces of cloth, it doesn’t reflect the plan of God to form a people for Himself. Instead, as Leonce Crump (Pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, GA.), describes so well (link here), the better picture is one of a Tapestry.
From the promise in Genesis 12 to the worship service in Revelation 19, we see the plan of God to form a whole new people. A tapestry uses the uniquely different fabrics interacting, weaving, and overlapping with one another to form something altogether different. Diversity is already historically loaded and can prove to be unhelpful if we all have our own ideas for what it means. But the language of tapestry helps us better understand what Jesus is doing in forming a people for Himself. A tapestry maintains the integrity and beauty of different threads, but causes an interaction with these distinct threads in order to form something altogether new and beautiful. The final products is greater than, but still dependent upon, the individual parts in all their unique qualities.
It is time for us to enter into the conversation of racial reconciliation. Most of us already have in some form: whether on social media or around the dinner table, but it rarely involves the level of pointed candor that this kind of subject deserves and requires. Redemption Tucson’s leadership believes that this conversation is so important that Tapestry will be our first ever non-Sunday event at Safford School. We are putting in the time, effort, and money to create a safe and hospitable environment for a broad spectrum of people to talk about issues of race, justice, and equality through the lens of the Gospel.
Thursday, November 10th
Childcare & Snacks / Coffee Provided