Volume 34, No. 14
Do You Want a Revolution?
It was 1998 and I was a Junior in college in Nashville, TN. As a percussionist, I was knee deep in the Contemporary Christian Music world and had been invited to play on several worship albums. It was during this season of life that I stumbled upon a relatively new gospel artist named Kirk Franklin. Franklin debuted his first album in 1993 with The Family, a fabulous seventeen voice choir. His third, and arguably best album, The Nu Nation Project, was packed with many catchy singles that made their way onto the airwaves via contemporary Christian radio stations. The song I’d play in my old Ford Explorer on repeat with the windows rolled down was “Revolution.” Not only did “Revolution” have a memorable tune and driving rhythm, Franklin’s words were prophetic and applicable twenty-two years later.
Sick and tired of the Church, talkin’ religion
But yet we talk about each other, make a decision
No more racism (No), two face-ism (No)
No pollution (No), the solution (No)
Kirk Franklin is a native of Ft. Worth and now lives in Dallas. While driving with his wife through North Dallas on their way to dinner on Saturday, he passed by Royal Lane Baptist and pulled over. Franklin was so moved by what he saw on our lawn that he posted a video on his social media platform, Instagram, with Royal Lane’s prominent stone sign along with our new roadside banner that supports black lives. In this video, Franklin showed our church’s name, then the banner, and said to his 2 million followers, “It’s a beautiful day.”
Over the past several years, our congregation has invested time, energy, and equity into educating ourselves on how to be an anti-racist church. One of the most important components of being a leader in racial and economic change is education. The Education Committee and the Social Justice Team have helped to educate our predominately white congregation about the experience of people of color and the societal and institutional racism that is still present in our nation. Our next educational and conversational opportunity will be in August when Royal Lane joins with three other churches to discuss the book, “White Fragility.” I hope you will participate in this virtual opportunity for growth and learning.
We are in a unique civil rights moment. We are called to be a people of faith that should not only talk about religion’s role in ending prejudice and racism, but how we can, as members of Royal Lane Baptist Church on the corner of Hillcrest and Royal in North Dallas, be a people who are part of the solution, rather than the problem. I am grateful for the support of Kirk Franklin and his many followers in recognizing our solidarity with the black community. But it will take more than banners and book studies. It appears that it will take a revolution.
So, do we want a revolution? I hope so. Because if the revolution becomes the solution to make Dallas a place where all people, regardless of skin color, socio-economics, gender, orientation, or faith tradition, can experience equality and belovedness, then, once that revolution comes, it will indeed be a beautiful day.