The Conversation

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About the Podcast

Two Charlotte pastors dive into issues of race and faith in conversation with one another and special guests. Pastor RJ Davis of Nations Ford Community Church, a primarily black congregation, and Pastor RJ Caswell of Church at Charlotte, a primarily white congregation, discuss the state of racial relations in the City of Charlotte. Along with guests, they explore the ways churches and people of faith can be involved in working toward the healing of long-time breaches of trust between races. 

Episode 1 – September 20, 2016

Pastor RJ Davis and Pastor RJ Caswell introduce themselves and share their burden for social good and relationships across churches and races in Charlotte. Together these pastors discuss how the racial situations in our country spurred them and their congregations toward being part of the solution to the barriers that exist in our city and nation. They explore the ways we are all shaped by culture and bias, but how a biblical understanding of justice and imago dei inform how we treat those who are different than ourselves.

Episode 2 – September 27, 2016

Pastor RJ Caswell and Pastor RJ Davis discuss the idea of seeking the welfare and peace of the city (Jeremiah 29:7). They look at a foundation of prayer and strategic involvement in the government processes of our city, making our voices known. They explore how we often look at the call in that passage based on our own cultural background. Together, they look at the calling of the Church toward compassion ministries, and the historical role the church has played in that part of social good. They discuss the role of the church as a prophetic voice in the culture, and whether that is possible, as well as the responsibility of the church to engage with the community, not for gain, but simply because it is called to.

Episode 3 – October 4, 2016

Pastor RJ Davis and Pastor RJ Caswell invite special guest Tonya Rivens of WBTV and associate chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office to join the conversation. Ms. Rivens shares the encouraging steps toward reconciliation and trust-building she’s seen in the City of Charlotte, as well as the ongoing challenges we face in that journey. They discuss the need for churches to lead the way in race reconciliation and the need for us all to teach our children about growing in trust and seeing others as made in the image of God. Together they look at what it means to get appropriately uncomfortable, putting ourselves in another’s shoes, and the role of the media, community leaders, and church leaders in guiding individuals in our churches and city to respond well to the challenges of race relations in Charlotte.

Episode 4 – October 11, 2016

Special Guest Rob Kelly of For Charlotte joins Pastor RJ Davis and Pastor RJ Caswell in the conversation. They talk about the ways For Charlotte serves as a network of churches for city transformation and the need for an honest dialogue on the state of our city. This honest look reveals a city of deep, core-level divisions—socio-economic divisions, divisions of trust, racial divisions, demographic divisions. The demographics of Charlotte are split into the Wedge and the Crescent, and For Charlotte is a network platform where churches can come together to learn how to trust one another and serve the city together—the issues Charlotte faces are not just social issues, but also gospel issues. Finally, Rob Kelly looks at the great, systemic issues that the church will need to have a long-term perspective on, but also the issues—or the elements of those issues—that we can move the needle on.