Will our response to this pandemic unite or further divide us?
In 2017, I was near the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. By “near,” I mean that I stood in the street, walked along the sidewalk and remained close to the protesters and counter-protesters. I did not participate in the protest or the counter-protest. Rather, I was a bystander.
Out of that experience and others, I began to think about polarization in the United States. In November 2017, Baptist News Global hosted “Conversations That Matter: Pastoral Leadership in a Polarized and Politicized America,” in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the first of two gatherings of a diverse group of young pastors made possible by a grant to BNG from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. About 25 ministers met for the first session to discuss the growing negativity, divisiveness and deterioration of civil discourse in the country and its challenges for preaching and pastoral ministry. The experience prompted me to start writing some of my thoughts. Those reflections grew into a book, Crossing the Lines We Draw: Faithful Responses to a Polarized America, released in April by Judson Press.