“It is about all of our liberation in Christ together.”
In this video (created for the Tennessee West Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church), Rev. Ingrid McIntyre shares her story in committing to grow as a person who stands against racism and stands for liberation for all. Our congregation is committed to growing in this way, as well.
Hi, my name is Ingrid McIntyre. I am a white person who is and I’m a white Christian. I was raised in the South by white people and white, white, Southern Christian people. I was formed by the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, and I went to a United Methodist officially affiliated undergraduate. And then I went to a United Methodist approved Seminary, Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C.
I have been shaped by this church, and at the same time I have recognized along the way that things don’t feel comfortable to me with our entire community. I feel like we are a community that is fractured for a lot of reasons. And one of those systemic reasons certainly is racism. I remember when I was in second grade and I went to go visit my grandparents and an uncle lived with my grandparents and he said something in our conversation together about the colored boy on the hill.
And, you know, when he said that, I mean, I listen pretty intently usually. And so I pay attention to all the things and then really know what he meant by the colored boy on the hill. And I guess I was just sort of thinking and I remember thinking, Oh, he must be talking about a kid on the Hill that likes to color.
Surely that’s what he means. At the time in life. I had lived in a Wesley Foundation and I had lived in an urban congregation and then was on the way to a rural congregation with our family. And I remember getting in the car after that visit with my grandparents and my dad said something to the effect of I want to say I’m sorry that your uncle made a comment about the man that lives up the hill from them.
And I want to make it very clear that that’s not how we talk about people. And I remember sort of asking like, Oh, I thought he meant that that was a kid on the Hill that was coloring. And he said, No, it’s not. And it was not a very kind way to talk about a man who lives up the hill from them, who is a black man.
He this is not what we say, right? We don’t say the colored boy up the hill. And that stuck with me for a very long time because I couldn’t understand why he didn’t just say the black man up the hill or our friend up the hill right. Because that was a part of my experience, particularly living and experiencing a large part of my childhood about my United Methodist Church, which was really diverse in a lot of different ways, but certainly had lots of black friends there.
Right, that I thought, well, this is just how the community works. Unfortunately, it’s not always how the community works. And even in that space, you know, now I’ve read plenty of articles that even at Belmont, those things weren’t necessarily those relationships weren’t so great all the time with white and black people and other people of color. So I’ve paid attention to that really since second grade.
I’ve paid attention to my relationships. I’ve tried to pay attention to my power. I’ve certainly grown a lot, I would say, especially in the last seven years. But when I see black and brown bodies who are killed at alarming rates compared to white bodies, when I know that people are hesitant to speak their truth, to speak about authenticity for fear of being ostracized, defunded or punished, when I look around and wonder why we don’t have enough black pastors in our churches, particularly for our historically black congregations, but also why do we not have people of color serving in in any congregation?
These are things that make me want to dig into the whys in like, how is our system broken? I would say underfunding, right is a huge part of that underfunding. Historically black colleges and universities, they’re Wesley foundations, underfunding historically black churches and their staff not providing enough support for them and also particularly with cross-racial appointments. That is a hard space to be in, especially, I would say, ever.
But and now one of those things is because we’re in a culture shift in our country, praise God and and hopefully we are shifting towards more like all of our wholeness, right? That too, so that we can all be seen in our true authenticity and that we can all be given our voice that we were given by God.
I heard a sermon this weekend that I really appreciated. And one of the things that the pastor was saying in there, sermon is oftentimes we confuse protocol with God’s call. And I think that we do that sometimes I think and feel and see and know and hear. Right. That we often put protocol above God’s call. And so as a person of faith, I will just say that I am committed to growing.
I’m committed to have hard conversations. I am committed to, I mean, whatever, right? Marching on the street, getting arrested, whatever it takes. And these are not necessarily radical acts. This is a call for justice. It is a call is a long past to call for justice. I have colleagues that have endured more than I could, I think probably have endured because of the space that they’re moving from, because of historically lack of funding, because of historical lack of representation, because of historical dismissiveness and my faith tells me that our table is not complete until we are all present.
There. And I do mean all. And so my prayer and my hope for us is that we can identify some of this systemic brokenness and that instead of being shamed by it. Right. That we can lift it up and transform it into systems of wholeness and I have often heard frustrations around people having to get side hustles in order to be able to do their pastoral duties and to live a life.
And I, I never was certain about those what those frustrations were, but now I know them because I am a person who has to have side hustles to to be able to afford to live in my space, to be able to afford to be a pastor in Nashville, Tennessee, who is not guaranteed an appointment, who is not guaranteed a salary or health insurance, and who has to wait right until until other people have what they need.
And so having that experience has also been an awakening of what many people have experienced through the years, that they have not always been at the top of the list or first considered or even less considered right, that oftentimes a side thought and that is not okay. We have brilliant, amazing people in our church and people who we have not yet met.
And because of some of our presentation as a very white church that is systemically broken when it comes to anti-racism work, and I’m here for that work, I think I thank those of you who are also in the work. And for those of you who are willing to join in to that work, to get on the onramp. Right.
We’re not. I mean, I’m pretty 990 mile an hour down the highway when it comes to this work. And I realize that that is difficult and that it’s not everyone’s calling, but that people are getting on the onramp. Right. Who are just getting into those lanes and just starting to have those conversations. Thank you. This is important work. This is about all of us.
It is not about one of us or just a group of us. It is about all of our liberation in Christ together. And we all the world.