On July 30, I had the opportunity to discuss my new book, Our Father: Discovering Family, at Presbyterian Village. Afterwards there was an excellent give and take question and answer period. Several longtime friends are residents at the Village and Rose and Bob Boston came just for the event.

One of the questions raised dealt with how considering my viewpoint on race relations had I managed to survive in a culture that did not always support my views. The answer is that it hasn’t always been easy, but that you just have to remain true to yourself. I gave several examples from the book.

A second much harder question was, “Do you think the murders at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston would help to soften people’s attitudes toward race on a long term basis?” My answer is that I have serious doubts about a real change of heart. It is easy to say and do the right thing when the cameras are on, but much harder as time moves forward. I doubt that the white religious leaders will now campaign for expanded Medicaid, an increased minimum wage or more reasonable gun laws. In so many cases the congregations are ahead of the clergy. I discovered that condition when I was a student volunteer at Furman University.

It was encouraging when several of these attendees were still talking about our Say Something Nice campaign. That is part of the second portion of the book in which I discuss discovering the purpose for the remainder of my life: helping Christians communicate in a more Christ-like manner.