Pastor & Author Chuck Mingo Has a Heart for Races to Do Living Undivided

Maina Mwaura | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Feb 29, 2024
Pastor &amp; Author Chuck Mingo Has a Heart for Races to Do <em>Living Undivided</em>

Pastor & Author Chuck Mingo Has a Heart for Races to Do Living Undivided

As Chuck Mingo settles into our conversation on race, he’s assured that God has more than called him into the space. He's also assured that he has not been called to do it alone, which may explain why when he's talking about race, he sees it as a mission for the body of Christ to join him alongside his writing and ministry partner Troy Jackson in what God has called them to do in leading their ministry, Undivided. Undivided exists to bring racial healing to a divided world. In Chuck's new book Living Undivided, co-authored with Troy, Chuck lays out the framework for how the body of Christ can join God in bringing heaven to earth by loving people of all shades and colors.

CH: Why did you decide to write Living Undivided?

Chuck: I was at a place where I had stopped fighting the call to write a book. I did not want to write a book. And I actually have told people now on the other side of the writing process, I know exactly why I did not want to write a book: it’s a really challenging process. I think the saving grace was that I wasn't writing it alone. I got to write it with my brother and co-laborer in this work, Troy Jackson. The book has been, in many ways a microcosm of the journey of Undivided, which is, you know, God gives you a vision and, in an effort to be obedient, you start to pursue that vision. But every great vision has setbacks and challenges.

CH: What were some of the challenges of writing the book? 

Chuck: There's the enemy within, all the self-doubt of, "Am I worthy of writing this book? Why am I doing this?" There are so many books written on this topic, but then there's also just the external challenges of how you write a book on race in the 2020s in a way that is clear, compelling, but knowing that it's going to challenge people, and not everybody's going to like what you read. I am so grateful for the long arduous journey to get this book out because I think it helps sharpen and refine thinking and vision for the work God's called us to. And I believe that what we've written is something that can encourage people who want to stay engaged in this work.

CH: How did you and Troy meet? 

Chuck: We met in 2014. Troy was leading a faith-based community organizing organization called the Amos Project. They were doing racial and economic justice work in the Cincinnati region. Troy was building a team and organizing around a big project that was coming up in Cincinnati around preschool development. My pastor, who introduced me to Troy, said, "If you're going to get things moving at Crossroads, two people need to be on board." Troy was one of those people. So, Troy and I met in our church, and I think it was probably around December of 2014. He had just come back from Ferguson, Missouri where he was marching along with many others around what had happened with Michael Brown.

CH: You and Troy lead a ministry called Undivided. Can you please tell our audience more about that? 

Chuck: Undivided's mission is to unite and ignite people for racial justice. And we would say the order [of those words] matters. So, the first thing that we do, and kind of the core of Undivided, is a seven-week experience, two hours a week. We do them mostly virtually now. But of course, when we first started, we were doing these in person where people get into a diverse group and have a facilitated experience where there's faith grounding. Every week, we're rooting this in the truth of the Scriptures. What does God have to say about this? How does this connect to what it means to be a follower of Jesus? And then we're also giving people an opportunity to have experiences that help them share and listen to stories of difference with the people in their group. We do that through the context of history and giving people some history to kind of react to, but then also training on skills like empathy and listening well across difference.

CH: What happens during those seven weeks?

Chuck: Over those seven weeks, people are building rhythms and practices together of understanding each other's stories and being able to share their own. Getting a sanctified imagination for how a follower of Jesus can live out the call of Micah 6:8 to do justice, to love mercy and walk humbly with God. And then we want to create vehicles where we're helping people to do that.

CH: Why is this work of racial unity so important and how does it tie into the work that you are doing at Undivided?

Chuck: We found that nearly 50 percent of the people that walk through the seven-week journey have never had a person of a different race at their dinner table. These are people who worshipped together, people who had gone on mission trips together, but that intimate act of actually breaking bread with another person of a different race, nearly half of them had never done that. And so, you know, what I would say is the Bible has a compelling vision for living undivided, but structurally much of our lives in this country are lived divided. And so Undivided is meant to be a tool that helps people come together and walk through life together.

CH: How do you define 'Justice'?

Chuck: When we talk about Justice, what we're talking about is equitable systems where all people flourish, and we believe that justice has to be active. And so, you know, when people talk about the word justice, unfortunately it has been, I admit, co-opted by many people, and yet, biblically speaking, the word 'justice,' which is the word mishpat, shows up 419 times in the Old Testament. It's where we defend the fatherless, protect the widow. It's clearly talking about "social justice," even though that's a phrase that we can oftentimes feel is co-opted as well. it's also part of how God defines himself. I think about places like Psalm 89 where it says, righteousness and justice flow from the throne of God. So, I believe that as followers of Jesus, when we talk about justice and being undivided, we're talking about biblical justice. We're talking about the kind of justice that we see from Genesis to Revelation in the Scripture that's reflected in the character of God that is meant to be lived out in the public square.

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Image credit: Baker Publishing

Pastor & Author Chuck Mingo Has a Heart for Races to Do Living Undivided