Angela Weszely (00:04):
Welcome to Prograce on Abortion, real Talk, no Politics. I'm Angela Wesley, CEO and Co-founder of Prograce. We are a community of people who want to have the conversation around abortion. Now, it's not currently happening in our churches because there's so much tension around the debate and having a civil conversation is hard. The church is divided, but it's time to come together. And the way we'll do that is to model our approach after Jesus, not politics. If you feel like you don't really belong in either the pro-life or pro-Choice Camp and you think surely Jesus has a better way than welcome to the Prograce community, a place you can belong. Hi, and welcome to the Prograce podcast. I'm excited to be here today with Lisa Fields. She is the founder and CEO of Jude three project. Their mission is to help Christians know what they believe and why they believe it. And Lisa, I'm really excited to have you here today. The conversations about abortion so much start with our belief, so I'm really looking forward to having this conversation with you.
Lisa Fields (01:17):
Yes, I'm excited to be here. Angela, thank you for inviting me.
Angela Weszely (01:20):
And I have been really fascinated by hearing your experience in college that you talk about that led you to start Jude three project. So I thought we'd start by you telling us about your background. Why are you passionate about theology and what Christians believe?
Lisa Fields (01:35):
Yeah, great question. So I didn't start off this way. I started off on adults work in Wall Street, on Wall Street, be a stockbroker. So this is a very different route than I planned for myself in college. I took an elective. I was getting more serious about my faith in college. I was serious about my faith in high school. But my first semester in college, I kind wanted to live out my freedom as being a pk. I bit restricted,
Angela Weszely (02:02):
Oh, you were a pastor's kid. You're a pastor's kid going in. Okay, now
Lisa Fields (02:06):
We all can picture
Angela Weszely (02:07):
You as a freshman.
Lisa Fields (02:09):
Yes. So I didn't get too crazy, but I just didn't want the faith to be the center of my life. I wanted my freedoms and my liberties to be at the center, but I didn't feel like that was a working trajectory for me just based on, I guess the scripture is true. If you train up a child in the way should go when they get old, they won't depart. So it was like I was trying to run in the opposite direction, but I felt like there was this pool that was pulling me back. And so in that pool, I started listening to Christian hip hop and there was an album by Flame called Rewind. And he started talking about these theological terms. And so I said, let me enroll in the New Testament class. I have additional electives, but I didn't realize New Testament at the University of North Florida wasn't like Sunday school.
And so first day of class, my professor said, I'm going to change everything you thought you knew about Jesus. And I realized at that moment this was going to be very different than what I had experienced in school. I mean church growing up. And so that was my first faith, first faith crisis I would say, where I struggle with why do I believe what I believe? Do I even trust this Bible and all those things. My dad introduced me to apologetics, ended up falling in love with apologetics that helped me with the class. Ended up switching my major from investment finance to PR with a focus in religious studies, in religious studies, pr, religious studies. Then didn't see black people in the space of apologetics leaving and wanted to do something to change that. And that led me eventually to go down the road to Sergeant G three project.
Angela Weszely (03:51):
And can you talk about what was it? I think we're all going back there our freshman year in college wanting to just be free. I mean, that's a pretty significant shift. It's a pretty serious minded shift to make at 18 years old. What was going on in your heart and your spirit with that change?
Lisa Fields (04:09):
So it's interesting. I think for me it was a lack of peace and a lack of peace. I felt going my own way. And so while there was a sense of enjoyment, the enjoyment came at the cost of peace. And so I was like, at the end of the day, the surrender is what's going to get me. The peace and the surrender did give me peace, and peace has its own challenges, but one of the greatest I think draws for me was peace. And if you don't go God's way, you don't get God's peace.
Angela Weszely (04:46):
So that's your heart, right? That's the surrender, the peace. Talk about how then the theology and that heady shift for you played into why was that so necessary for you to have the surrender? Because I think that's something we overlook a lot of times.
Lisa Fields (05:03):
For me, I just felt like a faith that couldn't be tested, couldn't be trusted. And so as I was taking that class, I was like, it started to, I got the peace of God. I felt backed by surrendering my life completely to God again. But then the class, the information started to pick at the piece I had. And so I was like, well, if because somebody was like, well, just drop the class. I mean, it's not like you need it to graduate. If it's causing you this much angst, you drop it. And for me, if I dropped it, then I would always be wondering then it was like my faith would always feel fragile because if you tested it, it wouldn't be true. And for me, I felt like if I dropped the course, I may have got some temporary piece, but in the back of my mind I would be always, do I have a faith that I could trust?
Angela Weszely (05:59):
Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I love this because so much in this conversation even that you're doing now, you facilitate conversations around theology, but you're starting from a place of this was your mind, your soul and your spirit. You're will was involved in this, your emotions. And I think sometimes we think we're just having conversations about theology, but our whole self is involved in it and it's really showing up as our whole self and theology not being dry. I am guessing you understand this, but our listeners might think theology that can be dry, that can be boring, but it ignites something in our mind that also then ignites something in our heart, which can be good, can take us down productive conversations, or I've seen it go the other way. The emotions can actually shut down the truth or the theology. And so
I would love to hear your perspective on that because I know that you facilitate these conversations across different perspectives across different generations. And you've also been quoted as saying that listening is a form of love. So you write there have equated the two, right, our behavior, our mind working, but also our emotions being there with love. So I would love to hear how these things intersect for you. I know this is a broad question, so anything that comes to your mind, but the idea of theology and listening, but then this showing up with a courageous conversation, which you have a conference, we're going to link in the show notes. We highly recommend that our listeners tune into your conference. But how do you see those things intersecting the theology, but then also the listening and showing up for courageous conversations?
Lisa Fields (07:42):
Yeah, great. Great question. So when I think about it, what comes to mind is that we don't make decisions in a vacuum. We don't believe in a vacuum. So the temptation is to say, if I speak to the head, then people will make decisions solely on that. But I love this book. One of my favorite apologetics book is by Alistair McGrath. It's called Mere Apologetics. And it's a take on the CS Lewis me of Christianity, but focus on apologetics. And what he says is, I'm paraphrasing what could be equally as a convincing argument for you to adopt the Christian faith could be equally an argument against the Christian faith for another person. And so what made you believe could actually make somebody not believe?
And when you think about that, then you realize that people aren't just making decisions in a vacuum by information, it's colored by their experiences, by their hurts, their traumas. And so there's this filter on information. And so if you think it's information only, you'll always miss that people are filtering it through experiences. And so my thing is I need to listen to their experiences so I'll know that when I bring the information, how is this going to land? So very, I think this is an example that I would never get out of my head. So there was this apologist who said he was talking to a woman and he began to tell her needed, he was counseling her, God is your Father, God is your father. And she immediately started screaming and he was like, what's the problem? And she was like, my father molested me. So when you tell me God is my father, it brings up a lot of horrible memories for me. And so that tells you, for somebody saying God is your Father, is very comforting to them while this woman, that almost felt like something agonizing and evil and painful. And so we always need to listen to people's stories before we just dump information on them because that way we'll know how the information is actually going to land.
Angela Weszely (10:04):
That is such an amazing story because it has to do with our definition of truth and certain words that we assign to it. We could say that's the truth.
God is her father. And I feel I'm saying this, I'm using this example. I think this is what happens in divisive conversations, the abortion issue and others we're like, we're going to say the truth and we got to say the truth and we think it's about what we say. So there's something comforting to us that I've said the truth, but what you're illustrating is the point of Christianity is that someone can actually hear the truth. And if we haven't entered into a story your story illustrates if we haven't entered in and know that that word, she can't hear that word Father because of everything that's happened to her. I think this is why we miss the mark of people instead of trying to listen. And in that instance, that pastor coming up with different words and a different way to describe the nurturing love of God because she couldn't hear it. But I don't know that we, I'm generalizing here, but I think we get stuck in these conversations. We don't make it about what the other person is hearing us say. We make it about what we want to declare and then we feel good about it. I don't know if you see that in your work.
Lisa Fields (11:18):
Yeah, I see it in my work. I see it in my personal relationships. It's funny because I always tell people sometimes we think because we do it, we could tell people how to do it doesn't mean that it's easy for us in our personal life
Angela Weszely (11:34):
To do it ourselves.
Lisa Fields (11:36):
Yeah, yeah. It's like pastor who are great communicators to the congregation and struggle communicating with their children and their spouse. We struggle. So is a universal struggle. So I want people to know that just because you do it well on platforms doesn't mean that you don't struggle personally sometimes. But it is a struggle for us sometimes to hear people because we are so passionate about the information or the truth or we've seen people be hurt from not listening to the truth. So it's almost like we have to decenter ourselves in every conversation, which is very hard so that we can actually hear what the other person's saying apart from our experiences. So we almost have to put our experiences to the side and focus on their experiences to best meet their need in the moment.
Angela Weszely (12:32):
And is that what you mean by decenter because that's a great word and I want to unpack it. That's what
Lisa Fields (12:37):
Angela Weszely (12:38):
You show up in the moment, try to put our experiences aside and delve into theirs.
Lisa Fields (12:44):
Angela Weszely (12:44):
Which seems to be the opposite of what I want to do. I'm thinking about, I'm parenting a 16 year old son right now, so yes,
Lisa Fields (12:52):
I can talk. No, it's hard. I mean I feel like it's easier for me to do it. People always think, Lisa, you're such a great listener. They watch me on these different platforms, but I always tell people I became a better listener. I won't say great now I still struggle with it. At time, I became a better listener through failing. So when I got this information in undergrad, I used to beat my friends over the head with it, right?
Angela Weszely (13:19):
Lisa Fields (13:23):
And I heard a lot of people that way. And I also created unnecessary risks and relationships
Angela Weszely (13:29):
Lisa Fields (13:30):
And so I learned from my mistakes and not that I still don't make mistakes in relationships, but I became a listener through failing at listening, not just because I'm naturally gifted at
Angela Weszely (13:43):
No, I would say I completely agree with you. And it tends to be in personal relationships where we care so much and then we realize this is actually having the opposite effect of what I wanted
Lisa Fields (13:53):
Angela Weszely (13:53):
Trying to push things on people. But then it becomes easy on social media or other ways we interact to just forget all those principles and go back to speaking our truth as opposed to having this conversation. And your conference, the Courageous Conversations Conference, loved listening to that. And one of the issues that came up was the abortion issue and that our mission at Prograce is to help the church have conversations modeled after Jesus, not politics. And I would say just as a caveat, I was thinking as you were talking, he models that perfect marriage of theological truth tailored to his audience
Lisa Fields (14:35):
Angela Weszely (14:35):
A caring way. We can read his stories to figure out how to do it, but the panelists in your conference made great points about our tendency to politicize an issue without sitting in the complexity of an experience. And now you're taking what happened with that pastor who's using theological language, but now we're moving that into a public, engaging in the public square, a political issue. We can do the same thing, make it about the politics without sitting in someone's experience. And so just want to hear your thoughts on how do you think the church can show up better in that? Or where are you seeing the church show up better? How could we do more of that?
Lisa Fields (15:16):
So I think organizations like the and Campaign, which I'm a part of, does a fantastic job of trying to marry compassionate conviction. I think that's a good model for the church. I think Justin is doing a fantastic job leading that. I just think it goes back to what Jesus said, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is not, we make it more difficult than it has to be. How do you want to be treated? If you are in a pregnancy that was unexpected, you don't have the resources to care for a child. You're in angst. You're struggling on whether you should keep the child abort the child or put the child under adoption. How do you want to be cared for in that moment? If that's you, right? And if you decided you wanted to terminate pregnancy, abort the child, how would you want to be treated by Christians in that moment? How would you want them to talk about you? Not just in private, but in public? All of those things I think would help us frame how we talk about these things. But on the other end of the spectrum, if you were the child, how would you want to be cared for?
What would you want? How would you want somebody to speak up for you? These are very basic things. If we decenter ourselves, put ourselves to the side and say, if I was the parent or the child, how would I want to be treated? And then how do I live in the tension of that? The child might have a different desire than the parent in that moment. And so you live in the complexity, but I think the complexity is good. The cross is a symbol of complexity. It's where grace and judgment collide. The judgment of God, the wrath of God is poured out on Jesus, but the grace of God is poured out toward us. And so that's the complexity of the cross and that's the complexity we have to live in when we come to these conversations.
Angela Weszely (17:31):
That is so true because what you're talking about is what Jesus does in the gospel is how he kind of backs up from the situation and shines the light on all the people. So a lot of times we get tripped up. You were making a great point. We focus on one person in the pregnancy, we focus on one person or the other where God is saying, I equally value both. I wonder if you can speak to, and I don't know if this is true, this idea of putting myself in someone else's shoes. So do we have maybe some wrong theological beliefs? And I don't know what you've seen that keep us from thinking that on certain issues, for example, are there certain things where theologically a lot of people think, well, that never would be me. So that keeps us from putting ourselves in other people's shoes, or have you seen a right view of God and the cross kind of shift our mindset so we can be more empathetic? What part does theology play in us being able to say, I can put myself in that person's shoes?
Lisa Fields (18:30):
Yeah, I think being able to say that I think we have such a high view of ourselves, and I say this coming from me who often has a high view of myself and thinks more highly of myself than I all. We struggle to see someone else as somebody we could be, especially if we think that we have a moral superiority
Angela Weszely (18:55):
Lisa Fields (18:56):
And so putting ourselves in their shoes is very difficult. We'll say, well, I'll never be that low. I'm smart enough not to make those kinds of decisions without realizing people don't make decisions in a vacuum. Like I said earlier, people, the way they grew up, their traumas, the things that happen to them as children, all these uncontrollable forces shade their free will. And so when you say, well, you don't know what a person's life will be like. And so I was talking to a friend the other day and he was like, I'll never do that. And I was like, well, you don't know. You don't know if when you do get married, if I just threw out a hypothetical, if your child dies and your child is a toddler, you don't know what that pain will drive you to do. It could drive you to be an alcoholic.
I think they were saying they'll never be an alcoholic. I was like, I'm not saying this for their future, but I was like, essentially things happen to people as they go along the journey of life that make that, and they fall into biases that they never thought they would fall into based on the pain that unlock something in them that they didn't know was there. And so seeing ourselves that we have the possibility to act out all kinds of things based on the circumstances and pain will allow us to, I think, have more empathy because I don't know if I'll be there one day, I don't know what it's like to have this happen to me and how I respond. And so I could sit back and judge you, but reality, I don't have your circumstances to know how I would respond. I only know how I respond from my circumstances and my background not actually yours.
Angela Weszely (20:41):
Absolutely. And so that's that theology of the cross, right? The grace that's there for all of us. We all stand in the place and I think that reverse as well. Why would Jesus die for everyone if we weren't all equally as valued? But something about these divisive issues, I think you're right, hooks into maybe our pride. And so staying grounded in good theology of who God says people are, the value we have and our potential for good and our potential for failure, putting us all together I think will create that empathy. But that's not what's happening in these divisive conversations that we're the opposites happen.
Lisa Fields (21:20):
Our pride takes over and our pride rules us a lot of the time.
Angela Weszely (21:23):
Yeah. Yeah. We'll be right back with more from our guest, but I wanted to let you know about an opportunity we have from now until the end of the year to reach even more people with this message. This podcast is powered by an organization called Pro Grace. We are a 5 0 1 C three nonprofit who thinks that the problem with the abortion conversation happening right now is that Christians have a politically centered response, and we think the solution is to have a Jesus centered response so that we can become a united safe community where people can experience God. And our vision is that as we reflect his grace, he will create pathways of hope for those people with this lived experience. And so I was just talking with an organization leader. We work with pregnancy organizations and churches and individuals. We work with people who don't feel at home in either the pro-life or pro-choice space and want to be part of this community of people living out grace and community.
And so I was talking with a leader of a pregnancy organization who said, I didn't even know you guys existed. They had been working so hard to get their staff aligned with this idea of valuing all people equally and leading with Grace and this conversation because it can be so divisive. And they'd been doing all this work on their own and didn't know that progress had already put together this conversation for their team. And they were like, we're so excited to join your community. We just wish we'd known about you sooner. And so this organization has multiple locations. They reach hundreds of women. And this is the type of exponential impact you can have if you will partner with us, is that we want to get this message to more Christians who can become the safe community. And we have a generous donor who's committed a $25,000 matching gift for any new or increased gifts between now and the end of the year.
And so if you've never given to Pro Grace, your entire gift will be matched. If you have given before and want to increase your gift this year, that increased amount will be matched. But we will be able to partner together to amplify this message, especially as we go into a divisive election season so that we can create a larger groundswell of people who stand up and say, we want to show up. Jesus shows up in this issue and we want to be more vocal about it and we want many more people to join us. So there'll be more at the end of the podcast as well in the notes for you to consider partnering with us this year. Lisa, I really appreciated when you're describing your background to us, you said you didn't see a lot of black apologists for you to take in information from and that motivated you.
I'm guessing you also didn't see a lot of female apologists at the same time. And so I would love to start having that discussion of what you bring as a woman and you're in this field. And for us, the uniqueness of how both genders can play a role together in helping the church be safe. And I'm specifically thinking now about issues that profoundly impact women. So the issue of abortion, would there be other issues we could talk about that don't solely affect women, but there's a tenderness there for women and it's tied to some of the ways women have been not treated as Jesus would have us in the church. There's a lot of factors in that, but real healing comes when both genders can come together and play a productive role. So I'm wondering what you've seen as people working together well as brothers and sisters or how we can do that better.
Lisa Fields (24:52):
I think it is seeing women as equal partners. I think a lot of men in church struggle with that. And when I graduated from college, I did communications, religious studies, but I still needed a job after college. So I ended up working in the financial industry. I worked for Bank of America as a banker and then Merrill Lynch and mutual funds. And it was very interesting how well men and women I felt like worked together in management, whether it was my VPs, but when I got to the church space and leading, I felt like men struggle with that because in the corporate world, men and women work together. I mean, there's still, don't get me wrong disparities in the corporate world, but I feel like sometimes the corporate world on this issue is a little bit further up the road than the church, the
Angela Weszely (25:57):
Head of the church.
Lisa Fields (25:58):
And so it was always interesting to have discussions with men. And then I remember there was a guy who was on our board and people assumed that he started it with me and I was like, no, he's on our board, but I founded it by myself. And they were like, oh, okay. Oh, okay. It was always a challenge for them to wrap their mind around and be next year, February will be 10 years as an organization. And in some cases I feel like it's taken 10 years for me to get a level of respect as an organizational founder that I had to produce so much work
Angela Weszely (26:48):
Lisa Fields (26:48):
Get the respect and recognition while my colleagues that were men could produce a 10th of what I've produced and still get the respect. And so there's this challenge in the dynamic of organizational leadership where men don't know often how to respond. And I think the church hasn't done a good job of showing men how to relate to women that aren't their wives. We spent all the energy in helping men relate to their wives, and then they don't know how to relate to their sisters in the church or in the faith or sisters that actually have leadership roles in the space as well.
Angela Weszely (27:30):
And so we're theologically because, and there's theological differences in the church. So I'm not referring here to people who have different views about women in leadership because regardless of what people believe about that, women being pastors, every Christian would say men and women are equal before God. But you're right,
These actions happen where you're like, I'm not feeling that this truth is being lived out. And it starts to be hard because it can be a divisive topic, but theologically, what can help men and women relate to each other in the church, and I think this is key to the abortion conversation, I'll tell you why I am thinking it so we can tailor about this, is that there's this thinking that this is a woman's issue and the whole thing is about that woman who's making that decision right now. But to your point, she's not making this decision in a vacuum. There's lots of things that happen. And let's say she's a church woman because almost half the women who have abortions are regular churchgoers, 40% of them. So let's just talk about those women. Let's say there's been other things that have happened to her in the church, maybe the guy that she was dating who's the father, he's in that church.
There's places where she hasn't felt equal in that church that's going to impact how safe she feels coming to someone in leadership. So again, I think this expanding from such a myopic view of it's all about this one woman making the decision. It's like, no, it's about how we are as a community and how brothers and sisters relate to each other. And then when something like this comes up, there's all this noise in the way that causes women not to feel safe. How can we back up and do the healing pre-work some pre-work and not get so focused of what's happening in the moment?
Lisa Fields (29:13):
Yeah, great question. So I think when I think about how God levels the playing field, I think about the fact that when Jesus rose, it was the women that were the first people to spread the message of the gospel. The first gospel proclaimers were women, and they took the message to the man, which is such a reversal, right? Because women are known as the problem because of Eve taking the fruit to Adam, but then Jesus flips it.
Angela Weszely (29:51):
Lisa Fields (29:51):
So the woman took the fruit to Adam. It was the woman who took the gospel to man. And so it is this divine flip in which I is like, I'm not going to let you paint the woman as this evil person. That is the problem. But just as the problem came in the garden, the liberation came through the woman, the message of the gospel. And so he flips it. And I love that. And I think that shows how God cares for not just women but how women are perceived. And I think that is a beautiful picture of the way God cares for us, us and something that we could hold onto.
Angela Weszely (30:40):
Okay, so I got chills a little bit when you said Jesus flips it. So let's just, by the way, I think this is how the Holy Spirit uses theology and our feelings. You said a really profound truth. I had this feeling, how can we let him flip it? How can we flip the script? And something else you said is the woman is the problem that that's the story from the garden. And I feel like that's the narrative that happens in the abortion issue or some of these other issues. And we're standing here saying, no, no, no, it's us, but how do we partner with Jesus to flip it for us to see all of us involved as a community? What does that take? Is it hearing people's stories when you're working maybe in other divisive issues, what partners with the theology that it isn't the woman isn't the problem, but to flip these deep held almost we have these mental models that, like you said, it's not intellect alone, but it's like intellect partnering with someone else's story or our feelings or the Holy Spirit's work. How can we see more of that? And maybe it's you just proclaiming, because I felt like when you said that, I was like, I think we need to think about that. I think I want our listeners to think about what do I need Jesus to flip? So I don't know if you find some secret sauce in your training, but I'm just passionate for people to have these, I call 'em aha moments where it's like theology and the spirit mixed together. I think that's where change happens.
Lisa Fields (32:12):
No, great question. So I think in order to not just see the other person as the problem, we have to also see ourselves as the problem.
Angela Weszely (32:18):
Yeah, it goes back to that earlier what we were talking about. Yeah.
Lisa Fields (32:22):
So I think about this, the work of forgiveness. Now in forgiveness, there are some cases where it's like the person, other person is just offended. They've been the one that the injustice has been done to and they didn't contribute in any way. But in your average interpersonal relationships, there's wrong on both sides, right?
Angela Weszely (32:44):
Lisa Fields (32:44):
Now there's the extreme injustice cases, but in your average interpersonal where there's fractures and friendships or marriages, there's usually wrong on both sides. And the challenge with the interpersonal relationships is nobody thinks they're wrong, right? Of course, nobody sees themselves as a problem, but it's not till you see yourself as a participator in the problem that you're able to develop compassion for the other person,
Angela Weszely (33:14):
Lisa Fields (33:14):
And I think the same holds true when we talk about these conversations. Until you see yourself as part of the problem as a man, you'll never be able to have compassion for the woman and see that both of y'all contribute to these dynamics of brokenness in the world. And so I think that's one of the major keys is I have to see myself as a problem in this scenario, and then I won't be able to point the fingers solely on the other person. And that's where compassion can comes from, and that's where collaboration can work through, because I'm not a perfect person helping this imperfect person along. We are both imperfect people trying to figure it out with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Angela Weszely (34:01):
Wow. Yeah. No, I love that. And I think that takes humility on both sides and it takes, we had another podcast guest, Reverend Darice Wright, who was talking about, she's working in the issue of racism, and she had to go in thinking this person was raised under systemic racism, this white person, of course, they're going to say things that might offend me. And I think for women, I'm doing the reverse of what you said for us to say, Hey, it's been a society where men have been told all these things about women. So even having grace for our brothers, let's enter in the conversation, try to listen to each other, realizing that it's okay to say we're wrong. And I am at home right now. We have a daughter, but she's out of the house. So I'm at home with two guys right now, and I'll say this to them all the time, 16 year old, and my husband, I'll say, I'm the woman here.
I'd like you to listen to me. And it started to be where they can laugh about it and they can listen, but it takes that kind of relationship where it's hard for them to think they might be participating in something. They don't want to think they're sexist, but they're not going to know until they hear me, which is exactly what you're saying. And if we can figure out how to do that in the church, how to listen, I think that's beautiful. And it goes back to what you said about the cross, right? We're under grace. Okay, well we're going to tackle one more tough one, Lisa. I was like, oh, overdo all of 'em. But I do want to speak to just the issue of the racial divides in the church. So we've got these divisive issues, then we've got racial divides. What are ways where you're seeing we can do the same thing as brothers and sisters across racial divides? I mean, I'm wondering, let's say a conversation about is that even a place we could unite if we could have some common language that might be a place we could unite and say, this is how it looks in my community, and even listen to each other. I would love to hear what successes you've seen in the Jude three project just about having that conversation, because I don't think God's going to bring real healing until we see ourselves as the problem in those divides as well.
Lisa Fields (36:01):
Yeah. So we do have white brothers and sisters that come to courageous conversations that listen, that have made incredible strides in their organizations by filtering through the information. I think for many, it's just like for our country, it's such a really deep embedded issue. And it can't be solved because it can't be solved. But it's challenging for a solution to come because nobody sees themselves as the problem. They really struggle to see themselves as bad or their ancestors is bad. It tears the fabric of their identity. And so if your identity is rooted in being a good person, you will struggle to correct issues that are having negative effects on other people. And I think we have to really, all of us have to assess. My character can't be rooted in the idea of who I am, but my perspective of myself has to be rooted in who I really am. And sometimes who I am is ugly, but the fact that the matter is Christ came to die for me no matter how ugly it's,
Angela Weszely (37:31):
Lisa Fields (37:32):
So we get caught up on this thing. Well, I'm not as bad as them. I didn't have, I always think about it. When I was in school, A 60 was AD, right? Anything below a 60 69 was failing. Nobody got excited because they got a 17 and the other person got a 30.
Angela Weszely (37:51):
Lisa Fields (37:54):
Nobody got, because we both failed. It both says F. And I feel like in the church we are excited because we got a 58 and our ancestors got a 17, and God is like, you both failed. You both need a curve. You both need to cross. So we judge our lives based on, we didn't fail as much as the other person, but we still failed. And because of that, we can't reach out. We can't even reconcile the fact we are all being graded on the curve of the cross,
Angela Weszely (38:28):
The curve of the cross. Yep. Great equalizer.
Lisa Fields (38:31):
Wow. Yes, we're all being grade on the curve of the cross. All of our righteousness, all of the tests we take are Fs no matter whether we get a 58 or a two. And so because of that, then we don't have to create this false perception of our character. We can say, Hey, my righteousness is worth nothing. Yes, my family and I still myself have prejudice in my heart and I need the grace of God to help shine light on those things and help heal those things in my life. And I need God's forgiveness from those things. I think that's where we'll see some kind of, when people have that kind of humility and then they do the work like Zia and go back and restore and repair the damage that they've done. Because if not, there's, George is a famous person in the awakening. He almost lays, but he also had an orphanage. And I cannot think about him without thinking about the hypocrisy of wanting to care for people, care for widows. I mean, careful orphans also upholding a system that created the orphans.
Angela Weszely (39:53):
Lisa Fields (39:55):
Slavery separates people from their families. But then having an orphanage, and if we don't do the repair and have the deep, let God actually illuminate the dark spaces in our soul to see where the inconsistencies are, we'll be thinking we're doing good while also creating systems that create the problems we're trying to solve. And I just think that's so necessary when we think about these conversations.
Angela Weszely (40:25):
That is so profound. And I was thinking as you said that he also has a great quote. Have you heard the quote, him and John Wesley, they were like bitter enemies or something, one of his enemies. Anyway, someone was trying to get him to say something bad about this person and he said, I don't even think I'll see that person in heaven. And the reporter was like, you don't think he'll be there? And he said, no, I think he'll be so close to Jesus. I won't even see him. So he had this idea that this person could be closer to Jesus than him. So I always think of George Whitfield as holy, holy, super, holy. And so I again had another moment when you said that of like, oh my gosh, I'm sure I'm going to get to the end of my life and when I look back, I will have inconsistencies like George Whitfield did. That's such a profound picture, Lisa, for us to stop and think we're all going to have that. And so the only way to deal with that is to look at it. I love how you brought that up and understand that God deals so tenderly with our weaknesses. Maybe that's why we is that why we don't do it. We don't understand grace. I mean, what keeps us from saying, yeah, I'm going to have really bad things like that too, is that we don't understand grace. We don't think our father is compassionate with our weaknesses.
Lisa Fields (41:38):
I think we don't understand. We can't understand grace for others because we haven't wrapped our minds around it ourselves. And so we judge ourselves harshly. So whatever I always tell people the relationship you have with others is a reflection of your relationship with God. And so how you are with God usually is a reflection of if you don't have grace in your relationships, then you probably don't think God has grace for you. And so it comes out in the way you treat people. If you are compassionate towards others, it's because you are reflection of the compassion you received. And so that's kind of how we struggle. We are not pro grace. We haven't accepted the grace that God has given us. Many of us still deal in a workspace life that we feel like we've earned things.
Angela Weszely (42:35):
No, I had a huge grace awakening 20 years ago, and I thought I was just great with grace, which is why I started prograce, and I'm in another one now, Lisa. I didn't realize there was this really deep places where I didn't understand it. So it's a continuous struggle. And I will say this, okay, I'm going to be honest. The place I need grace, I would never think of myself as having issues to do with racism. And yet I have a new colleague, Beverly's been working with us for nine months, and she's been talking to me about the black church and helping me learn about the black church. And I've realized and through this relationship, so I think this is key too. Maybe you can speak to this. Through my relationship with Beverly, I'm realizing how much I don't know and how ignorant I've been to say I'm fine. I'm cool with my black brothers and sisters when I don't know anything about some of the leaders, some of the wise theology. So I'm now learning, so I'm feeling humbled how much I'm learning. But it took me being in relationship with someone for me to realize how important that was to learn. And so I'm like, I'm encouraging all of us listen to courageous conversations. Like just start somewhere finding out because it is not intentional. And maybe that's why we confuse intention with impact. It's not intentional, but it's still having an impact because
We're not entering into other people's stories.
Lisa Fields (43:59):
Yeah, no, that's true.
Angela Weszely (44:01):
So thanks for having grace for me. I've loved listening to your story. And I would say to our brothers, because going back to this, now that the women thing, it's the same for men.
Lisa Fields (44:12):
Angela Weszely (44:13):
Just listen to a woman and for us who are not people of color, listen to our brothers and sisters, let's just, if we just listen more to each other, it does create this compassion because I don't want to be railing, which we all do. Let's be honest. We all rail it injustice and then be part of the system that creates it. I'm actually going to have to, you've messed me up a little bit with that. I'm actually going to have to think on that one. And I guess that's what I was getting to. I would rail against racism, especially between Christians. And then I think, well, if I haven't taken the time to find out and interact and be exposed to the black church more, then I'm actually participating in a system that creates that. And so I think that's a lot for us to think about in Grace, Lisa, to ask God to show us where we participating and probably not even realizing it, but where are we participating so he can bring greater truth? That's powerful. Anything else on that you want to say? Because I'm just still sitting with it. That's just really powerful.
Lisa Fields (45:24):
No, that's it. I have more to say. I just wrote a book and I talk about that in one of the chapters in my book. So I'll say that for people to unpack in the work.
Angela Weszely (45:40):
Awesome. Is it out? It's released. We can put it in the show notes.
Lisa Fields (45:43):
No, it comes out next summer.
Angela Weszely (45:44):
Alright, so we'll have to give a shout out when it comes out. You'll let us know now. Everyone's going to be waiting. Yeah, I'm going to buy it because that's hitting me. I'm sitting with that and I'm going to need to unpack. And you know what, Lisa? I can't figure that out. I mean, that's one of these things, right? We need the Holy Spirit to show us where we're participating and that's going to be the grace of God as well. So
Lisa Fields (46:10):
Angela Weszely (46:10):
You. You've helped me. Again, you've been this example of theology and the Holy Spirit and truth coming together. I've been enlightened, so thank you so much for joining us.
Lisa Fields (46:20):
Thank you for having me, Angela. It's been a delight.
Angela Weszely (46:25):
Thank you so much for being part of this conversation today, and thank you for considering partnering with Prograce from now until the end of the year to reach this $25,000 matching gift. I am so encouraged by what I see happening this growing community of people like us who want to show up like Jesus, not a political party. And so thank you for considering how you could help amplify this message, how we can reach even more people in the new year so that we become a visible, safe community demonstrating God's love and value for all people. Thank you so much.