Home Podcast Brenda Salter McNeil: We Are in an Esther Moment Right Now

Brenda Salter McNeil: We Are in an Esther Moment Right Now

brenda salter mcneil

Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a speaker, author, professor and thought leader with over 30 years of experience in the ministry of reconciliation. She earned a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary. Brenda is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and serves on the pastoral staff at Quest Church in Seattle, Washington. She is also an associate professor at Seattle Pacific University where she directs the Reconciliation Studies program. She has written a number of books, including her latest, entitled Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now. Brenda and her husband, Dr. J. Derek McNeil, are the proud parents of two young adult children.

Key Questions for Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

-What does it look like to lead racial reconciliation on “white dominant culture’s terms” and why you are shifting away from that?

-How do we respond to people in the church who treat reconciliation efforts as politically motivated instead of as a biblical response?

-What can learn about social activism from Esther?

-How can we truly lament what is happening in our culture, and why is it important for us to do so?

Key Quotes from Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

“I thought that if I would just talk from the Bible, I would convince Christian leaders…that they would hear me having a rigorous theological, compelling call to the church that would rally us, that would really, literally cause us to kind of go, ‘This is the call of God on us!’”

“I’ve decided that I will no longer be that person who comes and makes everybody feel better because we had a black woman speaker. That’s not the day that we’re living in. We need something that will rally the church to be the church.” 

“What I saw Christians [during the 2016 election] do to justify hypocrisy, adultery, lies, immorality was confusing and painful to me…it literally devastated me. And for anybody who thinks that this was about a candidate who won, it wasn’t. It was about the message that won.” 

“You can’t say you love people and not care about the policies that impact those people.”

“We have to tell the truth, just plain tell the truth.”

“I can’t imagine showing up at a government building with an assault rifle, or anyone I know, and coming out of that alive, and that’s just the truth. And the church has got to look at that and know that there is a difference between a person of color with a gun in their hand and a white person with a gun in their hand.” 

“Many of us need to hear the gospel fresh and hear the whole thing.”

“We need diversity because every one of us has a worldview, and when we read Scripture, that lens informs how we see the narrative.”

“Mordecai tells [Esther], ‘Don’t let anybody know you’re a Jew.’ As a black a woman, I hear the ethnic implications of that.” 

“It’s easy to be tempted not to cry out about these things…but that’s when we really have to summon the courage.”

“I think [Esther] is our prototype for what to do next, and the first thing she does is call a prayer meeting.”

“Reconciliation is repairing broken systems together.”

“I believe that leaders are going to be the key to the change that we’re looking for, and I believe that the generations coming behind us are looking to us to lead.”

“Brothers and sisters who are listening to this interview, you are at the tip of the spear. Sharpen the tip of the spear. Work to duplicate yourself and other leaders, knowing that God will multiply our impact.”

Mentioned in the Show by Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now by Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil
The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change by Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson
Rediscipling the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity by David Swanson
Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice by Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil

Check out Brenda’s website

Follow Brenda on Facebook and Twitter

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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye