I keep hearing people saying we need more conversations about race. Actually we don’t need more conversations. What we need is conversions because the reconciliation that changes people is not a racial reconciliation, it’s a spiritual reconciliation when people are reconciled to God.That kind of thinking touches a nerve with me because it is what led to my initial journey to question my own roots as a fundamentalist Christian.
It all started for me when I graduated from a Christian liberal arts college and stumbled into a job as a counselor in a residential treatment program for chemically dependent teenagers. There were 5 of us counselors who worked with 15 youth in the program. According to my beliefs at the time, the other 4 were not Christians (they might have said differently, but we never talked about it). Because up until that time I had lived a very sheltered life as a "good Christian girl," I knew next to nothing about how to help these young people. The other 4 staff I worked with were pretty good at it. The question for me became, "what is the value-added that I bring to the table as a Christian?"
Ultimately, I learned that the answer to that question was, "nothing." Luckily the other 4 staff were willing to take me under their wing and teach me a thing or two about what it meant to help those kids. Many times I had to learn those lessons the hard way - by failing miserably.
To put all that in Huckabee's words, my spiritual reconciliation to God didn't do much of anything to help me build reconciliation into my relationships with those teenagers. And more "conversions" certainly aren't going to solve our race problem in this country. A perfect example of that comes from Huckabee himself, whose own conversion didn't stop him from comparing welfare recipients to roaches.
This is also why Huckabee (and others) can embrace someone like Josh Duggar. They believe that as long as Josh is reconciled to God, he's OK, which is exactly why we are beginning to hear so many stories about sexual abuse in protestant christian circles these days.
What I learned from my journey is that, regardless of how/whether you are reconciled to God, we all have a lot of work to do to learn how to embody that second great commandment from Jesus about "loving one another." Nobody is going to come in and magically make you a better person. We all have to humbly work at that every single day. Truth be told, I've known both Christians and non-Christians who have gotten pretty good at it.