We Are Against the Wall

Ty Gibson & Michael Nixon

Hello, my name is Michael Nixon. I’m an attorney practicing law in New York City.

And my name is Ty Gibson. I’m a pastor in Oregon.

Apparently, the two of us like ice cream.

We’re also close friends with a shared passion for the gospel of Christ and for the human flourishing it envisions. Both of us are Seventh-day Adventist Christians, which is a branch of Protestantism that has embedded within its theological DNA a strong activism toward the re-creation, restoration and reform of all human relationships and systems to reflect the character of God.

And yet, within our beloved church we find ourselves in vital need of both repentance and advancement with regards to a particularly crucial mandate that lies at the heart of the gospel of Christ: racial reconciliation.

In October of 2016, our conversations and our agony regarding the racial divide in Adventism generated a desire within our hearts to widen our conversation to engage our church family as a whole. One morning, in a spontaneous burst of “inspiration,” we thought something like this:

We are against the existing walls of racial separation within our world and our church, and we know that many others are as well. We’re also convinced that there are many among us who are largely unaware of our history as a people with regards to racism and the current residual effects of that history. So let’s share our stories, our research, and our heartfelt convictions on this vital issue. Let’s launch a conversation with our people — and let’s call it Against the Wall.

The Against the Wall name doubles as a metaphor to communicate that:

• we are against the wall of racial separation wherever it exists in the church and in the world

• and we stand in solidarity with those whose backs are up against the wall, trapped and injured by racial injustice

Today, April 10, 2017, we are inviting you to engage with us in reimagining the church without any spiritual, social, ideological, attitudinal, organizational, or missional walls to divide us. It is fitting as a historical reminder to launch this conversation on April 10, because it was on this day in 1944 that the General Conference of SDA’s, convening at Hotel Stevens in Chicago, voted to create “colored conferences,” which you can read about here: Promised Power Deferred.

Here’s what you can expect from Against the Wall:

• articles that throw light all over the darkness of racial injustice so we can expose where it’s hiding and see it for what it is

• articles that cast vision for racial reconciliation within the church and within the wider world, awakening empathy and enlarging our understanding regarding race relations

• articles on the history, theology, psychology and sociology of racial injustice and racial reconciliation

• practical education and coaching for productively facilitating local conversations toward awareness and fellowship on this vital topic

• a growing library of videos in which individuals will tell their stories

• and, of course, some super cool Against the Wall hats, shirts, and maybe even socks, so you can represent the movement of racial love

Here’s what we’d like you to do:

• first, become fired up with God’s love on this issue; the content on this website will feed your mind and heart to this end

• engage in the conversation with us by sharing your story and your insights

• help us get as many people as possible onboard with this conversation by following and sharing all things Against the Wall on your social media

• let us know if you’d like to get involved with building interracial fellowship in your local area

• donate to the cause and buy, wear and gift Against the Wall apparel, knowing that all proceeds will go to the development of resources and events to further this conversation and bring God’s love to bear upon this vital issue

We hereby invite you to engage with us in this much-needed conversation regarding racial relations within the world in general and within the Adventist church in particular.

This web presence constitutes our “soft launch” preparatory to unrolling the more complete Against the Wall website in the near future, which will include all the features mentioned above. We would love to hear from you now so that we can assess the level of existing interest in pursuing this conversation. Please sign up to receive notifications from us and let us know what you think.

We are Against the Wall.

How ‘bout you?