by John Ellis
Not only are race and justice topics that are intertwined, they’re topics that are on the forefront of many conversations happening online, in person, and in our local churches. Questions about racism, social justice, Black Lives Matter, and how Christians are to respond to these discussions and, more importantly, how we can live out our calling as Christ followers in a broken world beset by racism and injustices are some of the more frequent questions I field. Discussions that I am happy to have; questions that I am happy to attempt to answer. As a white man, though, my perspective is severely limited, and my answers incomplete. I do my best to encourage people to read Black authors and listen to Black voices. This is why I’m happy to encourage you to include As In Heaven in your podcast listening rotation.
As In Heaven is a podcast that is produced by my church (Orlando Grace Church) and co-hosted by my pastors Jim Davis and Michael Graham. Co-hosting alongside those two brothers is Michael Aitcheson, senior pastor at Christ United Fellowship (PCA) in Orlando. The podcast is also included in The Gospel Coalition’s podcast network (click here for the TGC link to As In Heaven). This past spring, the podcast produced and released an eight episode season, with topics ranging from sex trafficking to Orlando’s increasingly post-Christian culture to racism and injustice. Originally conceived as an Orlando area focused ministry, As In Heaven is now broader in scope in that it now seeks to speak and interact with voices outside of the Orlando area and also in its narrower focus on race and justice from a Christian perspective that is applicable no matter where God has placed you.
To that end, and as I alluded to in my opening paragraph, this upcoming season allows us to hear from many Black voices, including, among others, Sheila Wise Rowe (speaker, author, and artist), Isaac Adams (assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.), Daryll Williamson (lead pastor at Living Faith Bible Fellowship in Tampa and member of TGC’s leadership council), and Dr. Christina Edmondson (author, speaker, and educator). Topics on the docket are as varied as “Black Pastor Encouters With Law Enforcement”, “Individual Racism versus Institutional/Systemic Racism”, and “How Racial Trauma Works.”
Knowing Jim Davis and Michael Graham, I have full confidence that they will engage the topics and guests humbly, with a heart to listen and learn, seek change in themselves and their listeners, and the desire to glorify Christ. Race and justice are not topics that are going away and they are issues that all followers of Jesus should be concerned to learn more about in order to better engage in ways that reflect Kingdom ethics. As In Heaven is a resource that allows Christians to learn and grow in this area.