Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Out Into The Darkness, Together

Words by Andre Henry
Prayer by Nick Barrett
The Table Setters Ensemble: Kimi Walker, Nick Barrett, Isaac Bar-Jonah, Ivy Beech, Ambar Sabino
Photography by Jordan Spencer and Jesse Burger with help by Malcolm Wadlow
Edited by Avery Archie

When Marvin and I started becoming friends 14 years ago, I had no idea it would lead to the launching of The Table Setters.  But once we engaged with mission trip after mission trip, and once we had to have "the talk" time and time again (the one where we helped wealthier churches locate their Toxic Charity, the tendency to look down on the people they believed they were helping), we realized that Jesus keeps setting tables with his disciples.  

And then he tells people to go out 2 x 2, and receive the hospitality of the people they would be visiting as they traversed country to country.  This was not colonialism.  This was a vulnerable sharing of the good news, that Jesus had conquered death and washed us with God's mercy and forgiveness.  

And then Paul keeps telling people how to act at the table, most certainly in Romans 14, when they sit across from people with different customs and food habits.  In other words: Jesus-followers ought to expect to forever be at diverse tables.

So: it's a tragedy that Martin Luther King Jr. called out Sunday mornings as the most segregated hours in the country.  What's more: it's not much better decades after he noticed that.

It's definitely time for change.  Marvin and I can come to your town, your school, or your church through plane, train, automobile, or video conference.  We can help you plan for long haul diversity initiatives that move beyond mere tolerance.  We can pray for you.  We can worship with you.  We can laugh with you.  We can cry with you.  And most importantly, we can lament, together, that God laments all the divisions his children have made along race, zip codes, political stripes, gender, housing status, language, and food choices.  We can encourage you, from here on out, to move past those divides towards the day when Revelation 21 becomes a reality, where all the nations come together to praise God.  And then we can dance.

Our website is finally live: 

(thank you to Thad Lolling for serving as our Multimedia Specialist)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pages, Podcasts, and Performances

It's been nearly a year that Dismantling Whiteousness has been up and running.  By all measures, it's been quite a year.  (All of the posts are archived along the right side, by the way.  And you can also translate them, so Google says, into all kinds of languages (though I don't know how well....))

I have appreciated all the feedback, both the support and the, as Van Jones referred to it, white-lash.  It is all helpful as we negotiate how to set tables within all kinds of diversity both at The Table Setters and in our everyday lives.  We have so much to learn from each other.  And though some opinions are not as valid, especially if those opinions lack personal experience, it is good to hear them and work through it all.

This dialogue also got picked up on a variety of podcasts and stories, especially since my family and I arrived in Detroit.  I was humbled and honored to be part of each piece.  Here's a bit of a round-up as we start contemplating how to look forward in very interesting times, that I would argue, are showing us new elements of Whiteousness that must be addressed.  More to follow:

From the Brain Candy Podcast, hosted by Dr. Susie Meister and Sarah Rice.  Marvin and I come in about half-way to talk Table Setters.  


My moment at The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers, the highlight of our first few months in Detroit.  The mission is to transform community one story at a time...

Two (updated, now three! and already booked for two more) episodes on Leading Questions w/ Calvin Moore, one from the day after the 2016 election, and the other in December on Peacemaking.  In February 2017, I was asked to come speak about Mass Incarceration.  

(updated February 24, 2017, with a new Leading Questions Episode feature):

An NPR story from early 2017 about the critical importance of diversity in schooling (Shirel and I come in at the final 15 minutes, but the entire story is worth listening to)

Driving for Lyft has given me the opportunity to meet a fascinating new friend from England, James Prescott, who has a podcast along with an upcoming book called Mosaic of Grace!