In the News

This page features people who are doing the work of loving, healing and transforming families and communities.

Culture Changers embrace their testimony, the valleys and peaks of their life story–after all, it is what made them who they are today. They serve from a biblical lens and understand that we are all broken and need a Savior’s hand to become whole-spirit, soul, and body.

July Feature – Amy Lancaster

I heard Amy in 2017 at a Women Abide conference in Charlottesville, Va. Her words challenge us to consider our prejudices and evaluate how well we serve people that are different from ourselves.

“Change happens one neighbor at a time.”

August Feature – Another Side of Charlottesville

Not every post will feature a ministry leader or share a news story. The other day, I witnessed a scene that I knew I would write about this month. Most Culture Changers are ordinary people living their life in a way that brings healing to others.

Some of you may have heard of Charlottesville, VA-that racist college town riddled with KKK members and murderers-NOT! Yes, UVa student, Hannah Graham, was kidnapped and murdered a few years ago. Yes, the KKK and Antifa came into town on August 2017 to protest the proposed removal of confederate statues. Another murder happened that day. And yes, Charlottesville is a Southern college town flawed with elitism and racial disparities.

These issues are everywhere, not just here. Perhaps some of the nation’s rekindled focus on racism will actually open some eyes and change some hearts. We need the redemptive power of Jesus Christ to dispel sin and ignorance. Racism is a sign of spiritual blindness. Lord, open our eyes!

I came here for college in 1987 from Rochester, NY. The number of interracial couples among rural and city residents stood out to me. This was a bit strange for this Northern girl who had known one bi-racial girl in her Shaker Heights, OH, elementary school. I’d learned that all white Southerners hated black people.

The other day I was in the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru. A young black woman walked in front of an elderly white man. She opened the door, but instead of entering first and holding the door open behind her, she paused to let him walk around her and enter first. Whether deferring to his age or because he was white and she lived in Charlottesville, I’ll never know. But he shook his head, reached for the door, and nodded for her to enter first. It impressed me. Unknowingly, his action could have contradicted some of her personal experience. His response was “counter-culture” to what many believe about this town. A couple of months ago, I met a young black man in another city who asked me why I still live here. I told him to stop making far-reaching conclusions from what he saw on TV about my town.

Back to my drive-thru scene: some feminists may call the older man’s behavior a symptom of social patriarchy. Perhaps, someone taught him how to “be a gentleman,” an idea that could be rooted in gender prejudice. However, it also carries the biblical virtue of “honor and esteem.” I will teach my sons to be “gentlemen.”

I needed to witness this gesture from the elderly white man. Sometimes, even when we have good personal experiences with people that look, live, or speak differently, we can get caught up in the culture wars that we read about online. My closest friends are white, but I’d subconsciously begun to wonder if deep inside they had racist perspectives. That elderly white man renewed my original view. Racism cannot be generalized to a people group. This individual sin is rooted in fear and imparted to some, but not to all.

I wonder if a fellow resident or out-of-town visitor in the drive-thru line witnessed this act of kindness. I hope so. Because this is Charlottesville, too.

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