What does it look like to cross the bridge of racial reconciliation in Baton Rouge? Friend and Pastor of First Presbyterian Baton Rouge, Gerrit Dawson, shared a gospel vision for what reconciliation could look in the city.
His friend, Pastor Albert White, who is black and serves on the North side of Florida Avenue – symbolic of the racial, economic and social moat that divides Baton Rouge – said to his white brother in Christ, Gerrit Dawson who serves on the South side of the moat, “I want 50 on 50.”
“Look,” he said, “It’s not going to work until people begin to have what we have: a real relationship. Only God’s people can show this city a better way. I want my people and your people to meet together.” He went on to explain his vision of his people with Dawson’s people, in each other’s homes, sharing a meal.
There it is, a vision Pastor Albert and I have together: 50 on 50, A Face to the Race. That’s really just 20 to 25 couples or groups. Commit to four dinners over four months. Two in our homes, two in their homes. What do you think? A Face to the Race. There is already a connection between those who know we are the same, created and called. There is a bridge. It’s just tangled and overgrown and seldom travelled. Could we clear it out? Could we walk across to each other? Beneath politics. Beneath difference. In Christ?
So the plan was crafted: each pastor would challenge his congregation to be a part of a first step onto a bridge that had not been crossed in many years – a bridge toward racial reconciliation in Baton Rouge built by Jesus Christ.