Rev. Guy Burke didn’t want to be lazy. Sure, Indianola’s First Baptist Church Pastor could post a though-provoking social media post and let the comments take over but he wanted more.
He took to Zoom to expand the idea. It took on the moniker, “Deep Conversations” and the first two episodes focused on race relations and featured first guest Pastor Brian Crawford of City Life Church, a multi-ethic church in Vicksburg. His second guest was local Pastor Adoris Turner.
“The first two led into the sermon I did on Sunday,” Burke said. “With all that’s been happening (rioting both peaceful and violent), I didn’t want to be lazy and just post something. I wanted to exemplify dialogue. It seems like we can give those posts but we don’t create dialogue with those that might be different from us and think different from us.”
Burke noted the goal with the first two initial broadcasts, “to be bite-sized episodes of racial dialogue regarding racial injustice and the church’s response to racial injustice – particularly in Indianola. Part of my goal was to just listen and see where it took us.”
The first Deep Conversations tackled racial injustice and how the church confronts it.
“Racial injustice is a historical issue. It’s our collective baggage as a country,” Pastor Crawford explained. “One problem why we hit and miss on understanding is that we don’t really agree on historical facts on racial injustice. And we don’t see it in terms of sharing the same experience.”
Pastor Crawford believes historical markers are different for different-colored people of America. The first slave ships, the Emancipation Proclamation and others are viewed differently by races.
“The onset of Jim Crow, that’s a marker. Brown versus Board of Education in 1954, that’s a marker. We have two different sets of historical markers and facts and that plays in to how we view and how we think about the now.”
Near the end of the first broadcast, Pastor Crawford answered the question of what does a white male need to know about racial injustice.
“This is a long road. We’re not going to solve these issues in a day,” he said. “We can’t grow disenchanted or frustrated because we have so far to go. We have to celebrate where we are.”
The second episode with local Pastor and native son, Adoris Turner of Mt Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, expanded the discussion and focused on growing up in the area.
“There are still two communities (here) and there is still progress to be had and to be achieved,” Pastor Turner said. “It’s a delicate subject (racial injustice.) If we’re trying to show the love of Christ and walk like Him, we have to be considerate of one another. And there may be some biases and prejudices that people are unaware of that they hold.”
Turner has seen positive steps in the community.
“Progress to me is when there’s been an obvious departing from what is from what was and you can see the distance. I would probably be hesitant to use the word progress. There are progressive thoughts and progressive gestures that have been made and progressive moments but I’m hesitant to say there has been progress. I’m not proud to say that. The churches still worship apart. There’s still Indianola Academy and there’s Gentry. We wouldn’t have enough time to dig into all of the things that caused that divide and that dual reality but it speaks to why one man can kneel when the flag is raised and another man sees that as dishonor and disrespect. If we don’t have empathy, we don’t have consideration of what the other person’s experience is.”
Pastor Burke is looking to expand Deep Conversations into more two-episode bites. The next will deal with anxiety and depression.
Feedback has been positive thus far according to Burke, from “leaders and members of our church and comments on our actual posts on how important it is to have these conversations.”
Deep Conversations can be found on the Indianola First Baptist Church Facebook page and on their YouTube site as well. Burke noted the episodes have something for everyone.
“It comes from the vantage point and the base of the gospel and the church and how brothers and sisters in Christ dialogue about these issues even with differences and the importance of us exemplifying this dialoguing for others.”