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A conversation with Abdu Murray - S11.E4


WORLD Radio - A conversation with Abdu Murray - S11.E4

Answering the accusation that Christianity is inherently a white man's religion

Abdu Murray YouTube

WS: Abdu, I'd like to get started in our conversation the way you start in your book. And that is to talk immediately about the elephant in the room. You spent a lot of years with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and witnessed the rise and fall at close hand. I was wondering if you were going to write about it in the book. And you did. You've faced the issue head on. So now that you're coming out the other end of that season, why did you want to lead the book that way? And where are you right now?

AM: I spent six years at RZIM from 2015 to 2021. And I got to minister alongside Ravi. And he meant so much to me, before I became a Christian. You know, as an easterner who spoke in a way that I could resonate with, he sounded like people I was related to, and he expressed Christianity, I came from a Muslim background, as you know, but Christianity was expressed to a by Him and through Him in a way that not only was logical, but was beautiful to me. And then I joined the team at some point. And what the investigation into what Ravi was doing what he was accused of, and what he ended up, we ended up finding out that he in fact, did do happen while I was writing this book. And specifically the section on women, you know, the book being about women, race and Jesus, and how Jesus regards the vulnerable. And through the course of writing the book. What I even say in the preface is that writing a book normally results in self reflection, and you know this as an author, you self reflect when the topic forces us to think about whether we're actually living in accordance with that we've written about or trying to persuade others to believe. And this book is about Jesus - his heart for recognizing lifting up those who had been trodden upon by those with power, including and especially women. So as RZIM was going through the investigation about Ravi's conduct towards women who were vulnerable, I was especially challenged to self reflect. I've had the blessing of walking in life with a woman and she let me share her story in the book several times who has been terribly abused and helping her through it in whatever way I was feebly able to do. Yet, I didn't recognize Ravi's abuses of others. And parts of that because I didn't want to you know and that's a part of the one of the lessons learned is that when you're involved in in in for lack of better word an institution it isn't really in my instance it wasn't to protect the institution it was just I couldn't bring myself to believe this about him and I I realized that I could have and should have earlier. But that self reflect reflection has led me to to well a few conclusions and say them briefly.

The first one is I said in the preface, though, is I'm a blemished person writing for blemished people. Despite the fact that I was able to walk with someone and not only her but another person, through such terrible things, I could see what it does to somebody, I failed to see it in this particular instance. And I didn't regard those who were saying, Hey, I'm vulnerable, Hey, I've been misused, as soon as I should have. So as such, all of us as blemished people, regardless of how well we've regarded the vulnerable in the past, we need to examine our blind spots, and be ever vigilant to see and help the vulnerable, whether it's because they have no power or because, you know, women in men's in a men's situation where men can abuse them or based on race.

Second conclusion really is that Jesus by comparison, the unblemished one, I'm a blemish person writing for blemish people. But Jesus says the unblemished lamb became vulnerable for the sake of the vulnerable, the most powerful being in existence, the one in whom all existence hangs, becomes vulnerable and exercised his power for the sake of the vulnerable but also for the sake of the powerful - to redeem them. And so I've come to appreciate the beauty of Scripture and the personal and work of Christ so much more because of the experience of having walked through what we walked through, and record self reflecting as well.

But where we are now, where I am now is backup in ministry. I had a ministry before I joined RZIM, which was a small apologetics evangelism ministry that was able to scholarship several people during the time I was at RZIM. But now we're back into speaking and writing and this ministry, this writing this book is part of that ministry.

WS: Yeah. Well, Abdu first of all, I very much appreciate your transparency and vulnerability in sharing that part of the story. I hope you will, and we and I promise you, we will get around to the meat of your book. But I hope you'll forgive me for pushing a little bit on some a couple of the things that you just said. You, you were in a leadership role, you were many people, maybe thought you were heir apparent to Ravi Zacharias, in that ministry, you traveled alongside him. I take at face value and absolutely believe what you just said about, you know, confessing that you're a blemished person. And that, you know, you're you're, you've been through a season of self reflection. I would like you to, though, just kind of reflect or comment on whether whether you and others in the senior leadership of RZIM might have a special responsibility to, you know, maybe go to people or publicly say that you're sorry, to some of the people that were wronged by by the Ministry during that tough final season. And also I'd like your comment on this as well, maybe. And I don't know, you and I haven't spoken in a couple of years. So maybe you did take a season away from ministry, but from where, from where I sit on the outside, it kind of looks like, you know, RZIM folded, and then everybody just kind of went their own ways. And, you know, the Lighten Group formed, you started your ministry. I mean, did you think about just say, Listen, I'm a lawyer, I've got a law degree from a blue chip law firm. Why don't I just go practice law and be you know, for a season out of ministry and let let some time go by? Did you did you consider that?

AM: Oh, sure. Absolutely. So let me answer the second question first. Of course I did. Of course I did. And during the time of the investigation, and for the time after, I didn't really do a whole lot of ministry, I was still employed by RZIM. And I stayed with RZIM, not in order to do public speaking or ministry. None of that was happening. And I frankly, thought about just going back to being a lawyer and doing my own thing for a long time. And without going into great detail about the way I think the Lord actually encountered me and counseled me by people who I, who love me who care about people who have been hurt, in fact, and others, to go back into ministry before a time. That's not what I was doing. In fact, I other leaders as well, but I can speak for myself that we spent some time trying to care for the team, the staff, many of whom did you know the numbers with regard to abuse, many of them were had had been abused themselves, not by Ravi, but just had experienced it in their lives. It's just a matter of statistics. We were going through various forms of trauma ourselves, but also looking at how can we care for the team? But how can we also help those who had been hurt by Ravi's actions and our failure to see them? So I did spend quite a bit of time away from ministry. While being employed by a ministry, I wasn't doing ministry. Yes, I was spending some time writing this book. And in fact, in many ways, this book was cathartic for me and self reflective for me. And in fact, we delayed the publication of his book quite a bit, in order for that time of self reflection to happen and to consider those kinds of things. So yes, I had not been speaking in fact, you can look in other than I think, speaking at my own church. I hadn't done any public ministry at all. So I've spent quite a bit of time away. And in that self reflection.

Do we have a special responsibility as leaders? Well, the answer is, of course, yes. And in the sense of, I'm not saying legal responsibility or anything else, but the idea is when you're in leadership. Now, my role, of course, was as Ravi's subordinate, you know, Ravi was the sort of the top of it. I was a senior vice president. But I had an office up here in Michigan, so I wasn't in the Atlanta office every day, but I was still in leadership, you know. And I think I would say that the responsibility is not only to care for people inside the institution, and take care of them because they were going through traumas as well and thinking some things through. But I fundamentally and and very much sincerely believed him. Now should I have? Well, that's obviously the answer is that I was wrong to do so. Whether that and so listening and hearing the vulnerable at that time, I think in leadership, you do have a responsibility to the institution and to everyone who supports the institution to try your best to be ever vigilant, which is what the point I was trying to make, in my opening response to your question is, you all of us have that responsibility, but in leadership, you have a special responsibility. Where that sits on responsibility meter, I just don't know how you, you know, measure that other than to say, you're in leadership. That's what happens. You, you, you take that mantle upon yourself. And so I can tell you that part of that reflection is is that involved in ministry again, I've learned so many lessons about leadership, I've learned so many lessons about power and power differentials. And I have gone, I will say that also part of your question was, and I have gone to people and I have publicly apologized to those for whom a public wrong was done, who did suffer, because of the publicity behind this whole thing. I have done that. I've done it privately to that person and publicly to that person. And I've had great conversations, even with some people within the Ministry, to try to rectify and reach reconciliation with them. And we're still in process with some of those folks.

WS: Yeah. Well, just to be specific, you know, obviously, there are two people in particular Lori Ann Thompson and Ruth Malhotra who have been outspoken in since since the fall. I'm just wondering if you had an opportunity to visit with either of them?

AM: I've communicated very much with with the very much I've communicated on several occasions with Lori Ann Thompson. Yes.

WS: Great. Understood. Well, listen, I do let's pivot and talk about your book. Because, you know, the book is, you know, talks about some of these issues of power differential and, you know, and gender and race and, you know, it does it in a more apologetics fashion. But your preface and the conversation that we've had up till now, I think is, you know, highly appropriate to sort of walk through as we, you know, head into this part of your book. And, you know, one of the things that I'd like to ask you about is an idea, a concept that you talked about earlier early in the book, that I do wonder if you're experience at RZIM might have actually informed your writing about it, which I found to be very wise. And that is this idea of a 'social surge,' that sometimes you know, that the culture, like the undertow in the ocean can just pull, you, me, all of us along, and you identify that phenomenon as a social surge. Can you say more about that idea?

AM: Yeah, absolutely. And so, I think that there is a current social surge that is surging people away from Christianity. You see this in the phenomenon of deconstruction, where people are taking some assumptions about what they believed and saying is what I believed really true. And that's okay, because it might lead to a reconstruction of someone's faith. But more often than not, it leads to someone walking away from it. And one of the chief reasons is because Christianity was, I think, the polarization that's going on in the world, but also some of the politicization of belief. And sort of the belief that this is aligned with a certain political party or another or whatever it might be.

The social surge currently, and has happened all over the across the, you know, the decades. But the current social surge away from Christianity is fueled by the accusation or the belief that Christianity is inherently a white male religion, it is it privileges white males, specifically, to the exclusion of people of color, and women. And so that is a social surge that I think is happening, such so much so that the more I've been on various campuses or in various settings, whether it's business or other places as well, during the q&a, I've noticed something that cultures, questions have shifted, you know, they used to be when I would speak on apologetics issues, you know, did Jesus rise from the dead? Is the Bible historically reliable? Can science and faith coexist? And those questions are still being asked, but they're secondary, they're subordinated to the primary question, which is not Is the Bible True? The question is, is the Bible moral? Not a book of morality? I mean, is that actually of good moral character? Does it promote racism and misogyny? So I feel, you know, if you're looking at Paul's words in Colossians chapter four, where he says that we are to know how we ought to answer each person, then we ought to answer the questions the culture is actually asking. Now we can answer the heart of politics questions, but the culture is not asking those first. They're asking the primarily questions, the moral questions, and it's an apologetic value to that. So I think that social search is important for us to recognize and then like a salmon swim, swim upstream and see if we can actually address it.

WS: Yeah, you know you in the, in your book you, you say this in a particular way, which I found to be pretty helpful. You say that historically, Christians were once viewed as Dragon slayers. And now too often in the secular culture, it's the Christians who are imagined to actually be the dragons. They are the imagined dragons actually, I'm a fan of the band Imagine Dragons.

AM: As am I.

WS: Why that maybe that's why that hit me. But that was an interesting way to say that. In other words, you know, we're we no longer are the secular culture no longer really is concerned as much about the question is Christianity true? But is Christianity good, seems to be much more their concern. And you and you make that case, you make that case historically, with people like Rodney Stark. So, if you want to really unpack that case in detail, read the book, and then maybe from your book, go to the footnotes and read people like Rodney Stark. But in a nutshell, Abdu make that case. Make that case that his that Christianity historically has actually been a positive force for women and for people of color in history.

AM: Oh, absolutely. You know, it's I'll borrow from Michael bird to make the case for women right away is that Michael bird points out that historically speaking, Christianity was made fun of by the pagan Romans, as a religion of women and children. It wasn't a religion for real men. And why was that? It wasn't because when we women were running away from it because of its misogyny, no, they were flocking to it because of the person in work of Christ in vaunting women and giving them their rightful place as equals to men. And so women weren't fleeing paganism and going to Christianity because paganism was so great, or because Christianity was bad. No, it was because paganism had actually devalued them and they found something beautiful in the Christian message.

Then, of course, you see, the various that I put out a couple of stories of some women outside of the biblical record itself, but who were Christians who had champion rights, who had done that not only had their rights championed by either men or other women, but then went on to do some wonderful and great things, for the downtrodden, for orphans, for the sick, in the name of Christ Himself. And in fact, the hospitals - You see st. this and st. that hospital, and there's a reason for that. It was an invention practically of Christians, as well, for people of color. I'll go back to the biblical record, you know, you look at the way Jesus, I don't think he incidentally dealt with race, or I should say ethnicity. I don't think he incidentally dealt with it. I think he purposely dealt with it in so many areas. Let's take one specific example where Jesus in effect, deals with two issues at one time, the Samaritan woman. Not only is she a Samaritan, so she's an ethnic halfbreed, who was outcast by the Jews, who are Jesus's people, of course, but she's also a woman who shouldn't be talking to a rabbi at all, in a private setting. And yet, here she is, having a having the ability to speak with the Rabbi of all rabbis, the creator of the universe, is speaking to her and she's got a chip on her shoulder, she's got an ethnic chip on her shoulder, because he's a Jew, and she's a Samaritan. She's even got a gender role issue going on with her and I unpack this in the book. Jesus actually pierces through all of those things and says, what matters is that you are made in God's image, essentially, he gets down to this you are made in God's image. And to everyone else He gives sort of like a prophetic disclosures about who he is. But to this woman, he says directly to her, I am the Messiah you've been waiting for. And here's the part that I love is that she's so excited about this message that she leaves the water jug at the well, which is the whole reason she went there. And she a Samaritan woman runs back to her village, her Samaritan Village that already rejects her as a moral outcast, and she's so inspired by this man, that she comes and tells her whole village and they're so inspired by this woman, that they come and spend time with this Jewish man. So Samaritans and Jews uniting together because the first cross cultural missionary, in the New Testament times was a woman. And ethnic. It's so it's that's one example of the many that you'll find, I think, in the pages of Scripture.

And then of course, one last quotation I think is worth giving is Frederick Douglass. You know, Frederick Douglass recognized the difference between the religion of the slavers, the Christianity that was used, abused and manipulated to actually use abuse and manipulate others. And he says this, now he calls it the Christianity of this land. Now he's not saying American Christianity is inherently bad. What he's saying is the Christianity of the slavers. So this is what he says: "between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference; so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure and holy is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable and impartial Christianity of Christ. I therefore hate the corrupt slaveholding women whipping cradle plundering, partial hypocritical Christianity of this land." That is such a quote, because he's saying I recognize the value, the equality not only for slaves for the slaves, but also just because I'm African, because they're women. And if Douglas, this brilliant mind could recognize that I think that's worth us taking notice.

WS: Yeah, no doubt about it. Yeah. The other thing that one other aspect of your book that I found to be pretty helpful was not just your examination of the biblical record, which of course you did, and the story of the Samaritan woman. But you also observe, rightly, that many of the early church fathers were African as well. You say Tertullian, Origin, Augustin, and Athanasius were all Africans and among the most influential thinkers and theologians of Christian Christianity's first few centuries. And you really have to ignore the historical record almost completely to accept the idea that Christianity is a white man's religion, don't you?

AM: You do. And in fact, I tried to make ask the question in the book, how did we even come up with this phrase it's a white man's religion? Because if you look at the demographics today, right now, the demographics, most Christians are not white males. By far, globally speaking, the majority of Christians are either people of color, or people of color who are women. And so you can't say its demographic. You can't even say it's historical, because of what you just said, you know, you look at the early, the early church, the early church were olive skinned people. And then the Church Fathers were even darker skinned people. And so this idea that Christianity is the imperialist religion of the Roman Empire used to dominate and subjugate darker people or women, is simply, it's it's not only anachronistic, and it flows against the weight of history. Rather, Christianity is the olive-skinned religion, or the olive skinned origin that influenced the Roman Empire for the better.

Tom Holland actually notes this, in his book Dominion, he set out to prove that all the good we have in Western society came from the Roman Empire. And then he realized there was plenty of awful in the Roman Empire, but it's actually the Christian message, as it actually for lack of a better word infected the Roman Empire that changed it for the good. So it really would, I think there is we have a whole lot of sort of amnesia about the past, we have a lot of the pock marks of Christian Christianity and Christendom. And we can't ignore those, by the way, we have to basically embrace the idea that there were Christians who even knew the gospel message, but didn't act consistently with it. And even today, that happens, of course. I think the reason why we've come to believe Christianity, as a white male religion, is because of, I think, recent events, but also a surge that wants to get this narrative out there and it's not been challenged enough. Yes, we need to recognize the ills and the downside of what Christendom has done. But that has been inconsistent with that which Christ has done in which His church historically, or at least at the beginning, phases, actually did to not only champion equality across ethnicities, but across the two genders.

WS: Well, let me ask you, then, therefore, Abdu to help me with some tactics, because as you note in the book, that an honest objective reading of Scripture and history would, would almost immediately give the lie to the notion that Christianity is a white man's religion. And yet, as you also noted, that narrative is still persistent in the culture. And that narrative sometimes takes the form of what you call the "yeah but" syndrome or what I would call sometimes I've heard called the "What about ism," you know, where even somebody that might grudgingly acknowledge that yeah, Christianity is okay or maybe a Gandhiesque kind of an answer with, you know, I, I, your Jesus, I like it. You're Christians that I don't like kind of thing. When that when they resort to that kind of what about ism, what do we do? As Christians who who want to engage those friends, do we do we gently return them to that meta narrative? Or are there other things that we can say to it personally?

AM: That's a great question. I think we do actually return them to the meta narrative, but also get granular if we have to. And I think we should just challenge them back on that. You know, as a lawyer, I firmly believe in the idea that the one who makes the claim bears the burden of proof. So if someone's making the claim that Christianity is an inherently racist religious system or owes much of its success to racism or whatever it might be, or misogyny. I think that that person who's made that claim bears the burden of proving that. And sometimes they'll go about it and say, well, the Old Testament supports slavery, or Paul says women shouldn't speak in church and should remain silent or you know, but a woman have authority over a man, see how misogynistic that is? So often if we ask them, okay, what how did you get to the conclusion you came to when you say it's this way how did you get there? Is it because of current events? Is it because of listen, you listen to the media, and the media sort of told you the story, or have you actually decided, I'm going to take a look and see if the world's most influential religion, I mean, that's not a that's not a controversial claim at all, everyone knows that. If the world's most influential religion actually has maybe been maligned a little bit, or maybe see what it actually says. And I've been so surprised when I've turned someone to say, okay, where in the Bible, do you see these problems? Now, sometimes they know and they'll go right to the verses. Most of the time, they don't. What happens is, is they've been fed their own meta narrative. And that meta narrative is countered to what the Bible actually says. And so you can counter it with the meta narrative and say, now, we have two competing meta narratives. You don't actually have any granular proof of what you're saying. Can I actually offer you some granular proof of what I'm saying? So you go into the Old Testament, and as I do in the book, you basically unpack some of the issues that are there, and some of the verses that are troubling the New Testament as well. And I think you can actually begin to win someone over with that. I recount in the book, a story, a story about a conversation I had with an African American young man who left the faith precisely because he thought Christianity was the religion of slavers, and inherently was racist. And he had chapter and verse by the way about why he thought so, so it wasn't just a meta narrative for him, it was that plus. But we went through the conversation, and you have to be prepared for a couple of things. One, it's going to be a long one and two, it's going to be emotion filled. One of the reasons I come to think that Christianity might be viewed as a, merely a white male religion is because those who are not neither white nor male, or who are neither white, but could be male, maybe they've been hurt, hurt deeply. And getting passed the hurt requires us to actually hear what the hurt actually is. I mean, that can't be gained, we actually have to listen for the hurt, because the hurt can actually create a blinder to what the Bible actually says. Because maybe Christians have done that, or they've looked at their own history, and the way Christian Christians or Christendom has treated them. And so getting past that is, is is a really important thing. But the only way to get past that is to give a listening ear.

WS: Hey, I'll do I'd like to pivot in our conversation a little bit. Because sometimes it it has been said that contrast brings clarity. And, and I'll let us acknowledge that your book is not written in a void, that others have been writing about this topic of race and gender and religion is specifically Christianity. And I want to kind of get you to compare and contrast your book and your perspective to some of the others that have that you cite in your book. So for example, Jemar Tisby's book the color of compromise has been one that has been going around evangelical circles lately. You read that book, you said that, that you were instructed by that book, in many ways. Can you sort of compare and contrast your perspective with Jemar Tisby's perspective?

AM: Sure, absolutely. I think what Tisby is trying to do is give a give a historical survey to make a point is that we can't ignore the complicity with which Christians have acted in in either propagating racism or at least allowing it to continue. I can appreciate that perspective. I think there are those who respond to say, Maybe he went too far. And I didn't even go there in the book. In fact, one of the statements he made that I thought was actually quite astute, but I wanted to give the other side of the coin on this one, because they're complementary, was he said, we can't forget that racism was so ingrained in this country, that we fought a whole war to try to preserve it. And you know, the idea of slavery, the Civil War. But the contrasting idea is this, that the desire for abolition and for equality was also so ingrained in the hearts and minds, especially of Christians, that we fought a whole war to end it. So both can be true. And so while I appreciate the point he's trying to make, I think it's important for us to consider the fully orbed view. Because even Tisby himself says, there have been some wonderful contributions to the idea of equality by Christians inspired by the Christian faith, and he himself is a believer as well. So my my goal was not to give it historical survey so that I can prove the point that Christians have been complicit. I'm sort of taking it as a given in some senses, that there has been some complicity. But also we can't throw the message out because I from and I don't think he would even agree, he would say that he said, we can't afford to throw the message out. Because what I'm trying to get at is that the Bible or the Christian message, the gospel message is actually the cure for the very problems it's blamed for. So I think that it's a valuable work. And I'm just trying to contribute more to the conversation, but offer a not a counter perspective, but an additional perspective, additional facet that says that we can't also just ignore the good as well. And I don't think he's trying to ignore the good, but I want to highlight some of that, in addition to the other things that we have to point up to.

WS: Well, and as you said, Jemar Tisby is a Christian believer he is. But there are a couple of others that I'm going to make out mention and ask you to comment on. I'm not sure that they are. I don't know much about it. But I don't think either one of them are believers, one of them is Ibram Kendi, who wrote how to be an anti racist. Compare and contrast your perspective with that perspective?

AM: Yeah, absolutely. And another book, I devoured by the way, not a good book can be one you can fundamentally disagree with, but you still can't stop reading. And I've had plenty of those. And I think we've been told by some people, Hey, I didn't read any of your book. But I read the whole thing. I think Kennedy pointed out some valuable things for us to learn from but I also think that there were some some some I think, worldview issues and worldview flaws. One of the things is that Kendi goes out of his way, actually, to say to say a couple of things that I think are actually contradictory. One of those things is he goes out of his way not to label people as racists. He talks about a racist, but it's one who is believes and propagates racist policies or ideologies. He goes out of his way not to call people racist. And I think the reason he does that, and I don't know him personally, but I reading his book and other books as well, I think it's because he comes from a humanist perspective. And the humanist perspective is that human beings are inherently good, and that we, and that, you know, there's no real inherent sort of sinful condition we need to wrestle with.

He also doesn't believe that hearts and minds need to change first. He makes the case that policy needs to change and hearts and minds will follow. The case I make here is that Kennedy is examining a problem from I think, the wrong perspective. I think that in trying hard not to call people racists he's actually ignoring, I think, the overwhelming evidence that humanity suffers from a very serious sin problem. And so policy can't be our Savior. We have to have a revolutionary heart change, and policy will follow. Yes. Can policy influence someone's heart and actions? Absolutely. I think that does in fact happen. But is that the primary thing? No, we can't forget something that the only way a policy will change is if people actually want policy to change. policies don't pop into existence, like a quantum fluctuation or something. They're actually brought about by people, and their hearts and minds need to change and the electorate needs to be the kind of people who want those people in office. All of that requires heart change. I think that's why the gospel is such an important condition necessary for the change of culture. And I don't think he sees it that way. So I think that he proceeds from a humanist purpose perspective, that misses the mark. It doesn't in one sense, he goes too far. In another sense, he doesn't go far enough.

WS: Right.

AM: So I think that that's where the gospel provides the needed balance.

WS: Well, one more book that's been in the popular imagination, and that is a Robyn D'Angelo's book, white fragility, a massive bestseller, say a few words about that book, again, in relation to your book.

AM: Well, one of the things that was several of the things that I find interesting in Robyn D'Angelo's book is that she sort of has this view, that one white people are just racist, and you need to basically acknowledge that and then shut up and sit in the corner. I'm very, very seriously characterizing her book and I realize that, but I go into more depth in depth analysis than the sentence I just gave, I promise in the book in the book. But um, she has an interesting phrase there. Among the many things that I find difficult to agree with in her book, she basically calls racism, she recognizes it as a moral problem, but in the same sense kind of says it's not really a moral problem. And I think that she's missing the mark there again, from making it where it's pervasive, and it's everywhere at all times, to maybe missing a couple of nuances that maybe it's not as prevalent or not as pervasive, but it still is pervasive. I don't want to denigrate that or like limit that that reality. My issue with her was that, among several things is that the moral problem of racism can actually be solved. But I think it's by allegiance, and it sounds like I'm beating a dead horse here, but I think But the drum needs to be beat actually to switch metaphors through Christ. And through his message of equality. The reason I think, is so important is that when she sort of makes the the claim that racism is endemic, and it's a non-moral issue, in one sense that she misses the mark on what we really need to point out is that it is a moral issue, it is an important issue. But she makes an interesting point, she says it's not humanly possible to get over racism. She actually says that in her book. And that's a statement I can completely agree with. It is not humanly possible, which is why we need the Holy Spirit, as given to us in the pages of Scripture to transform our hearts.

WS: Yeah, very good. Well, Abdu, thank you so much for your book, I found it to be helpful and nourishing in, in many ways. Just you know, one final question. What do you want people to get out of the book? What, you know, if you if there's just like, one big idea that, you know, if you read the book, or you forget everything, remember this one thing what would that be

AM: Oh, wow, what a great question. Here's what here's what I would say is that God blesses us with ethnicity, and our gender as an expression of who we are, while endowing us with His image as a definition of what we are in an identity, crazed, obsessed culture, where we're going off the deep end on trying to figure out who and what we are, I think recognizing ethnicity and gender as expressions of who we are, and focusing on God's image as definitions of what we are, I think that can help us.

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