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Red Table Talk: Church Edition

Early this summer, thanks to Facebook’s carefully picked and placed advertisements, I stumbled onto Jada Pinkett Smith’s new show Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch. I found the show by accident, watched out of curiosity, and kept watching because it was just that good. After a few episodes, I started thinking, why don’t we have these conversations at church? But let me back up. Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the rundown:

Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of renowned Will Smith, along with her mother, and daughter, Willow, have weekly wide-ranging discussions at, you guessed it, a red table. Their conversations range from marriage, parenting, friendship, forgiveness, and loss, to body image, racism, and even sex. Open and honest dialogue between three generations with “no holds barred” discussion makes for quite an interesting show.

So now that we’re all caught up, I’ll ask my original question again. Why don’t we talk about these things in church?

While we argue and fuss about women’s ordination, worship styles, and the diet choices of others, our congregations are getting smaller and smaller. Meanwhile, millions are tuning in weekly to a twenty-minute web talk show about relationships, emotional health, and major issues in our society. Why? Because it’s real. It’s relatable. And most importantly, it’s relevant.

These topics are deemed inappropriate for church, but those same “taboo” subjects are the ones we and the people in our communities desperately need to address the most. Shouldn’t Christians be the ones leading these discussions?

If we say we we want to reach the world, why don’t we talk about the things they care and worry about?  After all, in many cases, we are facing the same problems and issues too.

As Christians, shouldn’t we have the opportunity to have conversations about every day life in an open, loving, Christian environment? Surely we can be honest and real with the people we call brothers and sisters. If not, why not?

As I watched each episode of Red Table Talk, I found that even when there were differences in perspectives and opinions, the conversations were still defined by mutual care, love, and respect. Why do we struggle with accepting those we disagree with, even when we claim to love them?

Perhaps it’s time to start our own red table talks — open, honest, multi-generational, taboo conversations — in church. How else do we expect to become the real, authentic Christians this society needs? How else can we grow as individuals and hold each other accountable? If celebrities who don’t subscribe to any religion can openly talk about forgiveness, relationships, maturity, and communication, surely those of us who claim to know and love God can figure it out.


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