From Color Blind to Color Courageous with Rev. Michelle T. Sanchez

November 09, 2022 00:43:29
From Color Blind to Color Courageous with Rev. Michelle T. Sanchez
Lavish Hope
From Color Blind to Color Courageous with Rev. Michelle T. Sanchez

Nov 09 2022 | 00:43:29


Hosted By

Rev. Liz Testa

Show Notes

Rev. Michelle T. Sanchez shares how God called her to create a new book series for all ages focused on moving from color-blind to color-courageous discipleship on this week’s episode of Lavish Hope. A ministry executive and former investment banker, Michelle candidly discusses how hope, resilience, and overcoming have been foundational for her and her family, and how God’s promises are made manifest through Scripture and the blessing of community. Her passion for raising up disciples who make disciples is so clear as she offers powerful insights and helpful examples for strengthening resilience and finding hope, even in the midst of challenging times. Particularly inspiring is hearing how her lived experiences have helped shape a curriculum for all ages, stages, and races to engage in color courageous discipleship. She also has a free sneak-peak opportunity, especially for Lavish Hope listeners!

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Welcome to Lavish Hope, season four. I'm your host, Liz Tesa. In this episode, I'm joined by the Reverend Michelle T. Sanchez, a ministry executive, former investment banker, and author of the newly released Color Courageous Discipleship series for all generations. Michelle joins us to candidly share how hope, resilience, and overcoming have been foundational for her and her family, and how God's promises are made manifest through scripture and the blessing of community. Her passion for raising up disciples who make disciples is so clear as she offers powerful insights and helpful examples for strengthening resilience and finding hope, even in the midst of challenging times, particularly inspiring is hearing how God has called her to create this new book series, Moving from being colorblind to being color courageous, using her lived experiences as an African American woman to help shape a curriculum for all ages, stages, and races to engage in. Speaker 0 00:01:08 She also has a free sneak peek opportunity, especially for lavish Hope listeners, let's jump in. Welcome everyone to the Lavish Hope podcast. I'm Liz Teta, and I'm so delighted to be here today with Reverend Michelle T. Sanchez, and she's gonna tell us a little bit about herself in just a minute, but just wanna tell you all how wonderful it is to have her with us. We are really blessed. She's just been traveling internationally, and I met her actually this past summer, summer of 20, uh, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Christians for Biblical Equality International Conference. And so it was there that I heard her share about her life in ministry and knew that you all would be blessed to hear from her. So please join me in welcoming Michelle. Reverend Michelle, welcome. Welcome. Thank you. I am so glad to be here. I had a blast at CBE conference, and it was great to meet you there. Speaker 0 00:02:08 Yes. Wonderful. Well, um, would you please tell our listeners a little bit about yourself before we get started on our questions? Sure. Michelle T. Sanchez, I serve as the senior leader of discipleship and evangelism for the Evangelical Covenant Church. It is a multiethnic denomination of more than 900 congregations throughout North America. I say that my team's vision is to mobilize a multiethnic movement of disciples who make disciples. We love multiplying disciples. Amen. And in my role, I oversee discipleship, resourcing for all ages, um, adult, youth and kids. And this November I have three books coming out. They're basically part of a trilogy, color, courageous discipleship, a student edition of the same, and a picture book called God's Beloved Community. Now, I also write regularly for Outreach Magazine, live in a greater Chicago area with my husband Mickey and our two kids. Wonderful. That is so rich, so many wonderful things. Speaker 0 00:03:19 Uh, I could just dive right in there, <laugh>, but let's keep to, to my script as I'm supposed to do. And so, um, tell us, please, if you would, what does resilience mean to you? How has it been shaped by your past and maybe been changed or deepened by your experiences? First of all, I just gotta say, this is a great podcast. I am truly blessed that this exists because man, I I need resilience more than ever. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So hearing, hearing stories like this and sharing them well, it's a blessing. Okay. So, for me, resilience, um, resilience for me, you know, again, I'm a I'm a discipleship practitioner. I am constantly thinking about the work of God in our lives. And so for me, resilience is basically about understanding that if we are following Jesus, God is at work for our good and for his glory, always, even, and perhaps especially in the painful and challenging circumstances, and then living in light of that reality. Now, my goodness, Liz, that is so much easier said than done theologically, <laugh> disciples sort of know this is true. God is at work in all things, but it is very hard to live in light of it. So I think resilience is the ability to live in light of that great truth. God is at work for our good and his glory always. Speaker 0 00:05:02 That is powerful. And so, how, how has your life helped shaped this concept for you? Oh, man. Okay. So one of the privileges that I had at the CBE conference, Christians for Biblical Equality, which is about women's gender equality, uh, was to give a talk on womanism. Okay, What is womanism? Basically it is theology that is shaped by the experiences of black women. And one of the things that I talked about, um, as I showed some statistics of who in our country is most religious, kind of depends on God the most in everyday life. And the surveys show, the research shows that as consistently black women. Okay. And so we had a really robust conversation about that, right? I mean, the, the, the research doesn't tell you exactly why that is. And so we had a conversation and, um, certainly one of the things that we talked about was, well, black women, especially here in the United States, have a long history of facing challenges and making a way through the challenge, overcoming, right? Speaker 0 00:06:18 And, um, doing this generation after generation after generation, um, in the challenge they face. And so, that is my answer to your question, <laugh>, you say, how, how has your path been shaped, um, or deepened by my experiences? How has resilience been shaped in me? I I can just think of so many ways just from entering into this world with the knowledge that if you're going to put on some kind of a hierarchy, who's at the top and who's at the bottom? Okay. And look, we shouldn't, right? But basically the way the world works, it's like if you're a female and you are a person of color, especially a black person, uh, you are less advantaged historically and often still today. And I, uh, kind of was raised with that truth, experienced the challenges of that truth, time and time again. Um, but with the Lord's help was able to redeem many of the experiences and to grow through it. Speaker 0 00:07:20 So, short answer to, um, a question I could talk about for a long time, that's really important and I appreciate you bringing that in. Um, yeah. So very much, we've had other sisters that have been on the podcast that have also shared, So that is very, uh, our, our research also shows that through lived experience, through story sharing alongside all of the data, of course. So I'm wondering, Michelle, if you could share briefly a story of resilience and overcoming that would help illustrate this. Yes. Uh, there is one key story that comes to mind for me. So, when my husband and I went to seminary, we had a dream to become church planters. I mean, we were so passionate. We are both passionate about making disciples. Um, and also, you know, uh, we felt like God had created us uniquely for a unique kind of church. Speaker 0 00:08:19 So I'm African American, My husband Mickey is Columbian American, which is where my last name comes from. Um, and so, you know, we're kind of a mixed, uh, raised family, you know, very excited to plant a church somewhere in an urban setting. And so one of the reasons we joined, uh, our current denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, was so that we could do that. They had a really robust church planting program and a heavy, heavy multiethnic emphasis. So, um, we found, uh, a church, uh, quickly got connected and, you know, still while we were in seminary. And then after seminary, they agreed essentially to take us on for a little while. Okay, This is very important for a little while, so that we could go through the process of getting assessed, uh, to become church planters. So during that year, our first year after seminary, uh, we went through the assessment process. Speaker 0 00:09:14 I was pregnant. I think I was like five months pregnant at the time. And we were absolutely, I mean, 101% sure that we would be approved <laugh>. Okay. Why were we sure? Well, because, you know, our church was vouching for us and was a strong church in our, in our denomination. And literally every other person they had sent before every other couple had been approved. And it was like four or five people, you know. Um, there's many reasons why, you know, we, we had good relat working relationships with some of the people. Well, you probably know where this is heading. So I feel overcoming in your future here, this story. I mean, literally we had, we had nothing. We had no plan B. So we go, uh, is in the fall, go to the assessment. The assessment itself actually went pretty well. Um, like there was a part where you had to, uh, basically do this church planting contest, present a plan for a church plant. Speaker 0 00:10:16 We won the contest, you know, we had great connections with everyone who was there. And so literally, um, on the last day when they basically give each person the verdict, we went in, Mickey and I, and it's kind of like a one-on-one or one on two. Um, and then they said, uh, well, you haven't passed the assessment. Like the, the languages were giving you a red light. We thought, we thought they were joking. Like it was that <laugh>, we were that surprised. Okay? So I won't go into all the reasons, but I'll just say, um, that, uh, in short, they, they thought that as a couple, cuz we were trying to plant as a couple, and they thought essentially our styles of working and some other things were so different that we might consider a different, um, path for ministry. Instead of planting together, maybe do something separate, any, Anyway, the reality was it closed the door totally. Speaker 0 00:11:13 And we had nothing else planned. It threw us for a loop because we were so sure that we knew this was God's plan and this is what he was gonna do. And I'm pregnant and we're at this church who only committed to us for a year, maybe because then we would plan to church, right? So everything fell apart wow. Fast. And it was hard for us in terms of our relationship with God, but also our relationship with each other cuz we're like, is something wrong with us? Because, you know, like, really, is it that bad? You know, whatever they noticed. Um, and so it just was hard to believe. We called our, our pastor to tell him. And he also said, You're joking, right? You're not serious. He didn't believe us. Um, so it was a very, very painful, painful journey. And it really plunged us into a darkness for a long time because we thought we'd just be on the street <laugh>, basically with a baby. Speaker 0 00:12:09 Um, yeah. So, okay. Uh, resilience. Resilience. So we are in this dark, dark, dark place. And, um, I think, you know, for, for one of the major times in my life, I realized we can't always tell what God is doing. And frankly, sometimes all we can do is clinging to the reality that he is doing something. Not that we know what it is. And and that requires waiting. It requires waiting, just waiting in the dark. And I was reading through the book of Lamentations one day, and I just remember it was a turning point. Um, and frankly, I think a lot of my stories of resilience have God's word in one way or another as a turning point for, for me, the, the verses and lamentations that stood out are right in the middle of the book. And I think that's for a reason, right in the middle. Speaker 0 00:12:59 And it says this, because of the lord's great love, we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him. Oh my goodness, these hit me so powerfully at this time in my life. I thought we would be consumed. Everything in me thought we'd be consumed. But God's compassions never fail. I thought we were done. I thought my faith was done. But no, there's another day, there's another morning that comes and God is faithful, but we sometimes need to wait to see that faithfulness work itself out. All of those ideas became kind of a grounding for me in that time. Helped us to wait. And then I probably don't have the time to tell the full story, but the Lord actually provided miraculously for us several months later, um, through someone who gave a grant to the church just so I could come on staff there to do something special. It was out like it fell from the sky completely out of the blue. Um, unsought for and in God's perfect timing. So what I find myself in periods, you know, where I think, my goodness, I'm done. You know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't know where God is. He's forgotten about me. It's that waiting piece, you know, Wait, he's doing something. Just wait for it. Wait for it. Speaker 0 00:15:00 That's so beautiful. I'm sure there are many listeners for whom this, like the crux of this story, the foundation of this story resonates. And, you know, um, I'm here in the New York City area, You're there in Chicago land. Those of us that live in these more kind of urban centers, we were hit hard by covid. And just thinking about near term much less, you know, kind of longer term, right? There's already so much resilience and overcoming that's been needed just to live your life. I say just to walk out your door just to get on the subway or the l in your case, um, you gotta have some resilience, right? But, but in sincerity, I, I'm just sure that there's many that are listening right now for whom that was such a word of hope. And just that you have to wait, right? You have to wait upon the Lord and to be able to sit with scripture. Speaker 0 00:15:48 I love that so much. And just that assurance of God's compassion's never failing. Oh my. And we track God's goodness in so many ways from that event. Because, for example, if we had planted that church, I probably would not have been able to lead in this national role. It was all connected to doors that God closed as well as doors that God opened. So, so much of what God is doing is connected to that, is trusting him even when things happen, that we are disappointed by maybe part of a larger plan that he's got for us. That's so beautiful. I love that. So then this is a perfect segue from what I was just saying. Where does one find hope? Where do you personally find hope, find resilience, especially when you just, when you don't have it? I wanna say I absolutely love this question. Speaker 0 00:16:49 It is such a real question, <laugh>, despite all that we know in our heads, in our hearts, there's sometimes that we just can't access that resilience in ourself. You know? So I mentioned the word of God, you know, and of course ultimately the word of God is, you know, the ground of everything else. But sometimes even the word of God can fall flat, um, for whatever reason, you know, spiritually for us. And we just can't find the hope in it. So where do I find it? This to me is where community comes in. This is where I need to reach out. My husband, I will name him very explicitly. He is a constant source of resilience and support for me, constantly reminding me when I forget who I am in Christ and what God has called me to. And then my friends, everywhere I've lived, I've tried to gather a group of about three to four women to meet regularly. Speaker 0 00:17:56 Essentially just to remind each other of the truth, who God is and to encourage each other in darkness. We don't do a whole lot in that group. We don't do a whole lot of Bible study. We do a lot of sharing where we're at, where we need some kind of reminders cuz we're not able to find the resilience ourselves. So I've had a group like that with different women for many years now, and I really think it has been key to my own resilience. I love that, that importance of community, um, isolation is so real and just to keep coming back, right when Jesus said love one another was agape, which is love and community. So, so important. I really appreciate that. And also as women, right? Yes. There's also a piece there. As women, we need each other and out in the world we're taught, you know, competition is the thing, right? Speaker 0 00:18:50 Um, it's what gets us to buy more products, I think. Um, but we do, we have to fight. We have to fight and guard against those things. So it's beautiful to see how you've used it, not just to counter some of that, but also to help build your, you know, find resilience when, when you don't have it. So, and this is why we have community. We cannot find or access everything we need within ourselves, period. Yep. Oh true. <laugh>, keeping it real over here on the Lavish Hope podcast. I love it. I love it. So where's a place that you find hope? All right, so I'm gonna give sort of a funny answer to this question and then I'll explain. Okay. Um, I find hope in my daughter, right? In my daughter. Why do I say that? Her name is Hope <laugh>. I love it. Speaker 0 00:19:43 Her name is Hope. Um, actually her full name is Hope Anastasia. Okay. Um, and so Anastasia comes from the Greek four Anastasis resurrection. So her name is Hope in the resurrection. I named her that literally, uh, because I wanted to be reminded on a consistent basis that I am to have hope, I have to say the word countless times a day to remind me that I need hope. And that hope is not grounded in this world. It is grounded in the resurrection. So literally, I find hope in her. Although I will say just this morning we had a hilarious conversation at breakfast because we were talking about the meaning of her name. And my husband said something like, um, now, you know, your name relates to where the, you know, our ultimate hope is to be found. Her ultimate hope is to be found. And she said, I am that I am the ultimate hope <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:20:42 So she has to kinda learn about her, you know? Um, she's nine, so she's figuring out out what it means. Listen, let her live, let her live that dream, that big bold dream that she's the center, right? I love it. But she's, yeah, we're working on it. But, um, yeah, literally I named her that to remind me of the word of God and where ultimate hope is to be found. I love that. And I also have a daughter whose name is derived from the Greek. Her name is Sophia. And so that whole wisdom piece, my spouse is a teacher, and so I was able to sell it to him under the guise of wisdom. But, um, I also love it through the theological, uh, the theological text as well. So I, those meaningful names are just everything. I'm a huge, Well, you made me giggle when you said, you say it many times a day. Speaker 0 00:21:30 My daughter's off to college now she's 20, but still good. That word Sophia has come out of my mouth so many times. So that was giving me a little, little callback. So you've already talked about Lamentations and how helpful that was to you, but I'm wondering, uh, what favorite verses, quotes, anything that you have that inspires you to embrace hope and be resilient. And that might also do the same for our listeners. Yes. Well, uh, one book that your listeners may have, uh, heard of or are familiar with is called Canoeing the Mountains by Todd Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains. And it's, uh, funny name, but it's all about what does it look like to thrive off the map. Um, the, the explorers, Lewis and Clark thought they were gonna face a river, but they actually faced mountains. So they had the wrong tools. They had to canoe. Speaker 0 00:22:20 Uh, so how do you canoe the mountains, right? You gotta adapt. How do you face setbacks and overcome? And, uh, there's a quote in that book. It's excellent. The whole book is really about resilience. But this quote has stayed with me to thrive off the map in an exciting and rapidly changing world means learning to let go, learn as we go and keep going no matter what. Learning to let go, learn as we go and keep going no matter what. Each one of these phrases is so meaningful to me. So learning to let go, Oh my gosh, this is so hard. But there are so many realities in life that we cannot change, um, as much as we might want to, that we simply don't have control over, change comes and we could resist it or we could adapt, you know, and learn to let go. Speaker 0 00:23:12 Just kind of like a stream. Uh, the water flows around the rocks, you know, it's like, here's a rock, I'm just gonna learn to flow around it. Let it go. Um, is key. Learn as we go. So to me, you know, um, disciple is derived from Met Metes Greek for learn or learner. And so the life of discipleship is all about being open to what God has for us to learn in every situation. There's always something we can learn, always a way that we can grow and to understand our challenges as opportunities to grow, right? And then keep going no matter what, because in the end, sometimes nothing else makes sense except just putting one step in front of another and trusting that God has you. Right? Um, so I feel like the combination of those three is just stuck with me and it, and it's something that inspires me continually. Speaker 0 00:24:11 Let go, learn as you go, keep going no matter what. I love that. And that also has like a kinetic feeling to it, right? That like, even as you're letting go, it's got a little sankofa feel to it, you know? It's like you're doing this dance of looking back to look forward. You're moving no matter what. Um, I know Dr. King has a few quotes that have circulated as memes about that whatever you do, just keep moving forward. Keep going. Yeah. I love that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, and so, uh, as you are thinking about this piece, you know, you're, you work in a denominational role, I work in a denominational role as, so we've got like whole systems that we're part of and that we're even tasked with helping to do this. What has, like what's your, if you are willing to share your secret with us, Pastor Michelle, um, what would you say has been helpful in terms of like, helping people who kind of come from a historic context, move forward? Speaker 0 00:25:18 How do you help with that letting go? Do you have any thoughts about that? Uh, so, okay. Wait. In terms of their denominational background or institutional background? I think general, it could be background, all of that. Okay. How do you help? How, like we can say let go, Right? Letting go. Yeah. What does that actually, like, what does that actually mean? Like where does the rubber meet the road for that? In terms of actually being able to do it? It's one thing to think it. Yeah. And it's one thing to say it, but it's another one entirely to kind of incarnate it, to actually be able to bring it into practice to actually be able to, to, to, to engage it. Because, you know, people are, they're, it's, yeah, it's, they're afraid of it's, it's loss, right? So it's not just the change, but it's the loss. Speaker 0 00:26:01 So how, how, do you have any tips for how people could actually do that? Cuz that's the first piece, right? The letting go. I think, uh, letting go as you named is ultimately about loss. There is always pain when you let go, You're there is something you're losing that you appreciated, that you held onto something that was guiding you. Um, that now is gone. And that is always painful. So I think part of it is helping people to enter into lament, um, to name that which is lost and to entrust it to God in the hope that there is a reason for this change. There is a reason for this loss, and there's something else that God has for me ahead. Right? The, the trick is not to, um, kind of stop and give up, right? And ruminate on the loss and the pain. It is to name it, it is to spend some time in it with the Lord and then move forward with the Lord. Amen. That was an excellent expert response. Thank you. I hope you all were taking notes, <laugh>, what? I told them they were gonna be blessed by having you hear, um, sharing your wisdom. So thank you. Because I think that is, that's one of the things that's so hard, is like, you know, everybody's amen saying let go and you just, it makes some people wanna hold on even more fiercely. So it's that trust piece, and I so appreciate that. Beautiful. Speaker 0 00:27:47 So then how are you cultivating hope today besides your daughter at the breakfast table? <laugh>? Yes. Oh my gosh. Um, you know, this is maybe a little bit cheating, Okay. But it's by talking to you, uh, because I knew man, I, I gotta, I gotta pull up all my resources relating to hope and resilience and just the practice of doing that, you know, in preparation for this conversation, in sharing together with you and reflecting on this, my goodness, it's so powerful. So it's a little bit cheating, but it's also a little bit pointing back to the community aspect. When I can get together with others, especially other women, and talk about the the reasons we have to be hopeful. It's everything to me. So this conversation is such a gift to me today. Aw, thank you. Likewise. Likewise. And, you know, I don't know, it was in the middle of Covid that God just put it on my heart. Speaker 0 00:28:50 This lavish hope stories of resilience and overcoming, and it, it definitely connects with the work that I'd already been doing for several years through my, my day job as a denominational leader for women's transformation and leadership, honoring our stories, joys and challenges of ministry, and, you know, how do we overcome? And then it just was, you know, through this kind of covid season, just thinking that people really do need to cultivate hope. So I appreciate very much what you're saying, and, uh, I think it's part of what, why God sparked the idea and wouldn't let it rest. Um, and I'm so grateful that, um, there's been a space to be able to do this. This is our season four, so you're helping us launch Amen. Into our, our fourth season. So I thank God for that. And thank God for you as well, Michelle, and all the great work that you're doing. Speaker 0 00:29:37 So to that end, um, it would be wonderful if you could share a little bit about, you already mentioned it, you're called courageous work, and just anything that you wanna tell us about the different things that you're working on pr, uh, your projects, and especially how our listeners can access them. Absolutely. Let me start by saying this. If you had told me I was gonna be writing a book about race five years ago, I would never have believed you in a million years. Wow. Never. Like, this is some amazing transformational work that God has been doing in me. Yes, I am African American, Yes, I'm married to a Latino, but the reality is I have stayed far away from the subject of race for most of my life because it, it's just been really traumatic to, um, really settle down and focus on race, think about race, think about the impact on us. Speaker 0 00:30:33 Um, it's traumatizing. And I have had some traumatizing experiences, uh, in my own life related to race. Um, some of which may be, uh, less common to your listeners, but I'm not sure. So for example, uh, I, my parents were born in the Bronx. Raised in the Bronx, and then, um, at a certain time were able to move out to Long Island through a home ownership program for low income people. So I was raised in a predominantly white environment, small black community there, but really it was predominantly white. And so most of my environment was white, most of my friends, you know. Um, and so basically, uh, over time, as I began to do well in school and all of that, um, I, the black community, some within the black community, didn't appreciate that, you know, um, I was not black enough for them. And so, uh, began to get the label of Oreo cookie, right? Speaker 0 00:31:36 Black on the outside, white on the inside. And, um, when it comes to racial trauma, you know, my, I I've had trauma all sides, but, um, ironically, like my, the most racial trauma I've experienced has been from other black people, the black community, um, that essentially had rejected me for not being black enough and some really cruel experiences I had growing up very, very painful. Um, so, you know, race has just always been a painful topic for me. Um, and then from the other direction, wanting to succeed in a predominantly white world. I, I eventually went to work on Wall Street and all this. I didn't wanna be constantly bringing up race there either. You know, it's like I, I, I don't need you to be constantly thinking about race when you look at me, you know? Right. I, I wanna have opportunities and whatever, but let's just say I took more of a colorblind approach to life, to my faith, to my relationship. Speaker 0 00:32:37 It's like the, the, the least amount of time I could think about race, that's what I wanted to do. Well, over time, God has shaped my heart, transformed my heart, and, um, done some incredible, incredible work in my life. He's brought me now again, to this point where he's given me a beautiful platform to share some of that, um, in order to equip disciples of Christ to engage our challenges today. So yes, um, as I serve all ages, and the, the writings that I'm going to be offering to the world starting November 1st are color courageous discipleship, a student edition of that, and then also a picture book called God's Beloved Community. Speaker 0 00:33:26 I love that. And so, can you just give us a little like sneak peek verbal peak, I guess <laugh> glimpse into what, what that, what those are? Yeah. It's so greats on all levels. Can I just say that? Yes. Um, not to interrupt you, but I just wanna name that, you know, as I'm looking for resources both in my community as well as in the dismantling racism, prayer movement that our denominations engaged in, and that I help steward that work. You know, it just seems to be sometimes compartmentalized by generations. And yes, I love, I see that all the time. You're just, this is really where you're leading with discipleship, right? Yeah. You got it. So good. So good. So just give us a little verbal sneak peek if you Yeah. And again, discipleship often happens best in community that's come up a few times today. Speaker 0 00:34:14 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> <laugh>, and so Yes. All ages. Okay. So, yeah. Um, my goodness. Let me actually say, uh, first tell you a little bit about, um, like an example of a story you'll see in the book. Um, one of the transformational moments happened for me while I was on Wall Street, and I mentioned, I, uh, started to work on Wall Street for a little while, was at the investment bank, Goldman Sachs. And they had a volunteer program where we could sign up to teach at an inner, inner city school for a day. So I signed up and, um, I was, you know, headed to the school, super excited. I'm, Oh, these kids, you know, gonna be like little miniature versions of me. It's gonna be so great, you know. And so I entered this school, um, to teach economics or whatever it was, and I, of course, it was a mostly black and brown school, and I was shocked at the conditions there that the dilapidation of the building of the materials, the, um, incredible rowdiness of the, of the room. Speaker 0 00:35:17 The, there were, um, desks out in the hallway where kids were trying to like, listen to what I was saying from the hallway in their regular class. I mean, I could just go on and on. I, it was like I had, I, I didn't feel like I was in the US anymore. I felt like I was in, you know, a really impoverished place somewhere. And, um, I couldn't, I just couldn't believe that in our country, uh, we were calling this school. And I could tell, you know, even the kids who were trying to listen were not able to really do so because of the chaotic environment that they had there that day. I did my best to get through the day, but it was hard. I realized finally for the first time, oh, there, there are still some really deep systemic issues, um, at play, right? Speaker 0 00:36:10 I mean, this is true of many black and brown inner city schools in our country, and a lot of us just don't see it. But it is still absolutely a systemic issue. And here's the thing, Liz, the Lord began to open my eyes to this fact. You, Michelle, were able to escape from some of the worst realities of systemic racism yourself, even though you're black, right? Your parents got a good program, got a foot in the door, and we're able to become an exception to the rule for you. But there is still a rule mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it's not all about meritocracy. We all want to, you know, do well and get rewarded for it. Amen. But there's more going on in the world. And so, if I ever thought that I was who I was because of how hard I work that day, the Lord opened my eyes. Speaker 0 00:36:59 If I had gone to this school, it would've been a lot harder to be who I was and to have the opportunities I had at that point. So I, I share stories like that just to describe, first of all, um, the, the, our growth in disman, identifying and dismantling racism as disciples of Jesus. It's for everyone, not just white people. I'm black and, and the Lord helped me to see you can do more to help. Now, the other pivotal moment for me, Liz, was, um, in 2020, uh, especially around the death of George Floyd. And when everything shut down because of the pandemic, the Lord just created space for me, and of course many others to think about race as much as I didn't enjoy that. But to really think about it and to wonder as a discipleship leader, what, what can I do? And what are the connections between race and discipleship? Speaker 0 00:37:56 Why hadn't I made those connections really in the church before? So I, I, the Lord began to give insight. I started to write, and I basically didn't stop <laugh>. The, the, the work is a result of that. But essentially the book is basically about moving us from colorblind to color, courageous, because colorblindness, it's good in some ways, but it lacks in other things. Those who can't see race will also tend to miss racism. They'll also tend to not be able to see racism, especially systemic racism. So disciples need to move from colorblind to color, courageous. And it is a biblically based discipleship journey. That is what these works are about. That's fantastic. And then you've done it, you've clearly engaged like pedagogically, so your three different, um, versions can target certain age groups. That is correct. Assuming, and I am accurate, You're right. But in addition, I am currently, uh, working on some supplemental materials like teaching outlines and PowerPoint slides, that kind of thing to make it easier for people to teach and disciple others from it. Speaker 0 00:39:15 That's fantastic. Well, so you're, so November one, by the time this, uh, this, uh, this podcast actually scheduled to drop the week after, so it's just perfect. It's gonna be my time. Folks are hearing this. Yes. We'll be launched and they'll be able to, to access it right away. So just tell us how, how do we find this, um, these wonderful resources? Yes. Okay. Two ways. So I have a website called color So you can go there and learn more about all three projects, but very special for your listeners. You can also get a free sneak peek of all three books. Okay. If you text the word courage to 4 41 44, Okay. Text Courage to 4 41 44, you can get a free sneak peek. And what I mean by that is a full chapter of both the adult and the student additions, the full first chapter, as well as multiple pages of the children's book. Speaker 0 00:40:16 So you can't get that anywhere else right now. Um, but it's something that you can access this way. Wonderful. How fabulous. So that people can see what it is, and then they'll wanna, they'll wanna run to the website and purchase it right after then, I'm sure. Great. And then Michelle, um, are there other ways that people can contact you if they wanna follow up? If like there's things that you've said today that they just would love to learn more about or just wanted to reach out to you, how can they do that? Yep. There is a contact form on the website, color, so you can find me that way. Perfect. Wonderful. Well, Michelle, is there any last little word of encouragement or hope that you wanna leave our, our listeners with before we sign off today? Mm. Just keep sharing and listening to Stories of Hope. My goodness, that's what the whole word of God is, right? A story of hope, Stories of hope. We need the ones that are found there, and we need the ones that are found in community with one another. So just by listening to this podcast, I know they're already doing it. Just keep on keeping on. Beautiful. Thank you so much, Reverend Michelle T. Sanchez, thank you so much for being with us today. What a blessing. And congratulations on the launch of your beautiful color courageous book series. Thank you, Liz, so much. Speaker 0 00:41:54 Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Lavish Hope, season four. I hope my conversation with Michelle has offered insights into what lavish hope, resilience, and overcoming can mean for your life's journey, as well as those around you. If you'd like to connect with Reverend Sanchez, you can do so through the contact form on her website, color And remember, she also gave us that special sneak peek invite that we can access by texting the word courage to the numbers 4 4 1 44. This episode is brought to you by Faith and online learning community, where you'll find ideas for living out your faith and living into your calling reflections on scripture and church, self-guided courses on topics like contemplative prayer and equity based hospitality, and lots of discipleship resources for your faith community in English, e and Espan. The Lavish Hope podcast executive production team includes Maria or Lorraine Parker, Grace Reuter, and me, Liz Tesa, sound design and editing by the amazing Garrett Tyer. Special thanks to New Brunswick Theological Seminary for the use of Studio 35 for the recording of this interview. Until next time, may you find ways to cultivate lavish hope and build resilience each and every day. God bless you.

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