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The (Im)partial Church

The (Im)partial Church

The (Im)partial Church : Episode 01 | Unpacking

June 01, 2021
Welcome to The (Im)partial Church. In this episode we will meet the hosts of the podcast and get acquainted with God's plan for humanity from the beginning. It turns out that diversity may not have been an accident. We'll also examine how we all fit into that plan. If this conversation inspires further questions feel free to reach out to us at


The (Im)partial Church

Episode 01-01-01

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Hey y'all, I'm Gerard.

Professor Janine Bolling: And I'm Janine.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I'm the big brother.

Professor Janine Bolling: But I'm the older sister, and we're brother and sister in Christ.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: We grew up in Brooklyn, New York.

Professor Janine Bolling: I'm still living in Brooklyn, but I serve in the Bronx.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I'm a professor at Concordia University in Texas, and a pastor at a congregation in St. Louis.

Professor Janine Bolling: It's been said Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Issues with race and culture still plague our communities and our churches.

Professor Janine Bolling: But what can we do about it? Should we see color?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Or be colorblind?

Professor Janine Bolling: What's our responsibility in bringing about unity in our neighborhoods and in our church pews?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: It's a delicate topic, but one we must tackle with grace.

Professor Janine Bolling: So pull up your chair to the table, as we bring Jesus to the center of this conversation of ...

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: The Impartial Church.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I remember when we were kids and we had just gotten these brand new bikes. I have no idea what the occasion was, but I just remember that we were so excited to ride them. Do you remember that, Janine?

Professor Janine Bolling: Of course. I remember. We got to explore the whole neighborhood.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah, and it was like the first time that we got to do it on our own. No parents, just you and me. And we had these little bells on our bikes and we had these awesome helmets, and we wanted to go across the bridge to Broad Channel. Do you remember that?

Professor Janine Bolling: Yes. We had been across this bridge before on a bus. But this time, we were going to go with our bodies on our bikes.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yes.

Professor Janine Bolling: And so, there were a couple of different bridges that led out of the Rockaways, but this one led from the Rockaways to Mainland Queens. Anybody from Queens will know this, if you ever go to the beach in Queens, and we were going across that one that day.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah, and I remember we were riding on our bikes, wind was in our hair, it felt so good. And we saw this truck ahead of us in the neighborhood we were riding into, and there were these people on the truck, and we just assumed—we got these brand new bikes. They must be waving to us and shouting at us like, "Oh, you guys are so great. You look so good," and that they were cheering for us. So we're riding closer, and closer, and closer to them, and I remember feeling this sense of adrenaline as we did it, right? It's our first time in a new neighborhood, and we were pretty excited.

Professor Janine Bolling: Yeah, and I remember just getting down the ... when you go on the incline and then you're going on the decline for a bridge, and you're already going super fast, and you don't even really have to peddle at that point.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: And so, we see these guys, they're just shouting and waving. I remember them.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I remember as we got closer and closer to them, we realized that they were not cheering for us, that they were actually cheering the N-word, and that as we got closer and closer to them, we saw that they were sticking up their middle fingers at us, and that they weren't waving. And I remember you being the big sister, you said, "Let's pull over as far away from here as we can," and we pulled over, called mom, and got into the car and she said, "You had no business riding in a neighborhood like this." And she just put out this whole invisible set of rules, from that moment on, that we had to follow, just this invisible set of rules that was all of a sudden, what was going to dictate what we did in life. And it kind of changed and painted our lives forever.

Professor Janine Bolling: I remember actually feeling kind of bad about it, because I knew what the limits were, where we should be going, where we shouldn't be going, and I was kind of stretching the limit, too. But at the time it was really fun, but obviously it got really scary really quickly, because what I was most fearful of is they were adults and they had a car. So was mom going to get there before they were able to get us? So that was pretty scary.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Man, I hadn't even thought about that. I guess because I was a little bit younger than you. I was just thinking to myself, "I got to do what my sister tells me to do, and pull over." But I guess it was scary in that way, looking back at it, too. And this kind of has painted the way we see the world and the way we experience the world as African Americans.

Professor Janine Bolling: For sure.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: As an African American, I always have this invisible set of rules in my head of places I'm supposed to go and places I can't go; things I should do and things I shouldn't do; how I look; or how I come across to somebody; all these different things, I'm always worried about them. Aren't you?

Professor Janine Bolling: Yeah, it's kind of like a constant modification. I feel like as an adult I've come more into my own, obviously, like most adults, but at the same time, just how it paints your childhood when you don't really want it to, is what sticks with you. I don't even remember how old we were. I just remember it was a super-fun day; it turned immediately scary. And then from then on, I had lots of apprehensions about which neighborhood I could and couldn't go to.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Just to introduce myself. My name is Gerard Bolling, and I was born and raised in New York City. Janine is my sister, and she's the older sister, but I'm the bigger brother, is what we like to say. And I live here in St. Louis now with my wife, who's a school teacher, and my two kids, who are two and four years old and are just running amuck. And I am a pastor at a church, at Bethlehem Church in St. Louis, it's a Lutheran church. And I also am a professor at Concordia University in Texas in the leadership and theology departments, and I work with diversity, equity, and inclusion at Concordia Texas, as well.

Professor Janine Bolling: And my name is Janine. I'm two years older than Gerard. I live here in New York, born and reared, and here to stay, for now, right? I am a deaconess in the Lutheran church, so I work part time at St. Peter's in Brooklyn. For full-time work, I work as a recruiter for SUNY, which is the State University of New York, our college system here. I also am an adjunct at two different universities, Maryville in St. Louis, and then also at Concordia in New York. I like it here; I love it here. I spend most of my free time volunteering and believe it or not, I still do bike, not in Broad Channel though.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: You still do. I was going to say that. You still bike a ton, and you kind of have a cool space. Janine lives in one of those trendy apartment buildings, right? So she has this cool space downstairs where she can store her bike all the time, and the wheels go up first, and it's pretty cool. Whereas in St. Louis, I just live in a house that we just throw stuff into, and things seem to accumulate with my kids over time. It really feels that way. And my kids are actually the same years apart that Janine and I were, just two years apart. And I remember in school, do you remember—we always tried to pass as twins? I see this in Lincoln and Monroe now, and I feel like we did it constantly.

Professor Janine Bolling: They could definitely run the game we ran with that. I remember one time in college, in the Greek class that we were in, we were convincing our professor and classmates that Gerard had gotten one year left back, and I had gotten one year skipped. And so, we were twins, we were the same age. It was the week we were learning the vocabulary word about twins, which I don't even remember anymore. So that joke ran on for a while until it got to the point where it was pretty awkward, and we had to end up telling our professor like, "Hey man, we were kind of lying."

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah, kind of not one of those things, but I remember always trying to pass as twins, and people feeling like our voices sounded similar and everything else. And it was fun growing up together, it was fun growing up in our church, too. We love our home church, and Janine still worships there, but also it's difficult too, being an African American Christian in general, but being an African American Lutheran Christian, there are so many things that we think about, so many conversations that are important to have, that are just hard to have around culture, and identity, and color, and race. These are just difficult things to talk about.

Professor Janine Bolling: Absolutely, and that's kind of the purpose of this podcast. It's why we wanted to start talking about it with a larger group of people, not just between each other, or family or friends. We said, "Hey, this intersection that we're constantly talking about, where we're looking at our identity in Christ, our identity in the world, the parts of our identity that we've ended up filtering—we wanted to have an opportunity to call others into that, rather than just call people out." Because I feel like that's a lot of what's out there right now, but what would it look like if we were to connect and explore these topics together, in a thought-out way and from a place of love? How do we live together as Christians in the 21st century, with everything that we deal with now?

Professor Janine Bolling: I really think about back to where we were with the bridge, right? In New York, what we have in the street now, we have a bus lane, we have a bike lane, we have the car lane, and if you're lucky, you also have a parking lane where you can park, right? But usually, that gets stolen. And I think about the lines, right? And they have these solid white lines that you can't cross, and then there are the dotted lines where you can cross. And so, I think of this as kind of crossing lanes safely. Do you know what I mean, Gerard?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah. I think that oftentimes we want to live life like it's a solid white line lane. We don't want to cross or do anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, we don't want to speak to people who don't look like us, or interact with people who don't do things or think the same way that we do things, or we think. We would rather stay in our own lane. But really, we've been around dotted lines for quite some time, and we've got to go to other lanes using our blinker, and safely and delicately go through these other lanes, and figure out how these places intersect. We actually talk a lot about that at Concordia Texas, just intersections of the way that we can mindfully, carefully, and lovingly describe how we are thinking from our lived experiences, like what you and I experienced on that bridge that day, and the way that we've grown up and how we're different. And so, there's not this need to live in the solid line lane. Right? We've got dotted lines everywhere, but we've just got to cross lanes safely, you know what I mean?

Professor Janine Bolling: Absolutely. And so, when we're thinking about what diversity looks like in the kingdom of God, I feel like there are a lot of ways that are provided in Scripture, as far as how this looks, how to cross lanes safely. Right? What's dotted, what's solid, and what we're going to explore together.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: I'm thinking really of that story that you love. I think you preached on it a few weeks ago.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Oh yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: Samaritan woman.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: You listen to my sermons?

Professor Janine Bolling: Oh gosh. If I have to, if I have to.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Well, good. I'm glad, I'm glad. What did you learn? What did you learn?

Professor Janine Bolling: And so, in the story of the Samaritan woman, which is in John 4, she's going to the well, right? And she's going to draw water at a time where no one else would really be around. And so, who does she encounter there, but Jesus, right? It's like Jesus has this way of showing up, popping up around the corner where everybody's at, but also in moments where you need Him most, right? And so, the Samaritan woman runs into Jesus there, and He tells her a couple of things about herself, right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah. Yeah. He tells her everything that she thought she had deeply hidden inside of her that nobody else could know, and she feels exposed, but she also feels loved and cared for, especially when He says that He'll give her water that'll never make her thirst again. And I mean, it went beyond actual water, right? We know that. It wasn't actual physical water. It was something spiritual that Jesus was offering, and it was something spiritual that the woman needed. And the fact that Jesus knew that need and filled it, was something that was just a tremendous blessing for this woman.

And we got to really think about how wild this was that Jesus approached her in this way, right? I mean, first off, she's a Samaritan, and Jesus is Jewish. It's improper to talk to a Samaritan at all if you're Jewish. So she's taken by surprise when He does that. And then not only is she a Samaritan and Jesus is Jewish, but she is a female, and Jesus is a male. You would never approach a female to speak to her in that way in public either. But Jesus is safely crossing these lines, in order to give the Gospel to her, and she's so motivated by the Gospel that what does she do, Janine?

Professor Janine Bolling: She goes back to her people and tells them, "I found somebody," right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: "He told me everything I ever did," and they asked for Jesus to stay with them, right? And he ends up staying with them for two more days, telling them all of these different stories, exploring with them, and some of them even actually became believers after that. And so, what I find so cool about that story, what you've already mentioned and what I see when I look at that story, through the lens of diversity, through the lens of a person who's been on the outside and maybe coming in to some places, but feeling completely at home in other places, is that Jesus reaches across. Right? And so, so often we're talking about reaching across the aisle, or reaching across a neighborhood, reaching across zones, reaching across states, reaching outside of our comfort zones to encounter people, and for what reason? For the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of this Christian faith we profess, for this thing where so many of us say on confirmation, we'll die for it, right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Professor Janine Bolling: And so, what does it mean to reach across to somebody who needs love, who needs attention, who needs to be seen, right? This is what Jesus does for the woman, and Jesus does again, same day, for many of the people that the woman knew. And so, I think that that's really one of the parts of the story that gets me, is because sometimes when we have these encounters, we meet a new person, right? But we meet them, and they are the world of that group to us, right? "This is my first blank friend." Right? But what happens when you meet their people, you see where they feel at home, and what can you learn about them? What do they learn about you? And that's what I really appreciate about Jesus in the story.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah, and how the message moves through their whole people group, and not just them as a representative of everything you know about that people group. It's very interesting when we think of crossing lines in that way. It's also interesting that we think of the differences between Jesus and that woman, and realize that Jesus is One with the Father, right? It's a Trinitarian God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And that we're created the way we're created on purpose, that He knows things about us, intimate things about us, and that He loves us, even despite where we fall, right?

It says, when you go back to the beginning, because sometimes you have to go back to the beginning, in Genesis 1:26-27, God said, "Let Us make mankind in Our own image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the sky, and the livestock, and all the wild animals, and all the creatures that move on the ground," on everything, right? And we're created in the image of God, in theological terms, we like to call it Imago Dei, "In the image of God."

Professor Janine Bolling: Fancy words, fancy words.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yes, very fancy. I broke out the champagne of words for this. It means that we're created in God's likeness, right? And that God is constantly calling us back to this, even as we have fallen short by sinning, right? His first and only way of calling us back is by dying on the cross, and that sacrifice covers all. But each and every day, He calls us back. It says that, "The old Adam is drowned," right? The things that we used to be, right? Those things are drowned, and then the new one ...

Professor Janine Bolling: Yes.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: comes to life every single day. It's this remembrance over and over again, and God does that for me, for us, on purpose. It's not by accident, and I think that that's an amazing thing.

Professor Janine Bolling: Absolutely, and when we're looking at that verse of, I like the idea of going back to the beginning, because in the creation story, in one of the classes I teach, we go through it, right? And it's very new to some people; it's very familiar to others; but what I always like to emphasize is that each and every end of day, God says, "It was good," right? He doesn't look back and say, "Oh gosh, got to finish that tomorrow. Got to ..."

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: "Wish I could've edited that."

Professor Janine Bolling: Right, He does not do that. There's no Microsoft paperclip telling him what to do.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: No.

Professor Janine Bolling: But He comes and He says, "It is good." And so, when we look at Genesis 1:27, and He's talking about in the image of God He created them, male and female, He created them, and we think of who we are today, these are all things that we are on purpose, like you said. You and I, we're not black by accident, right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Professor Janine Bolling: We're black on purpose, and whatever you are out there—that's who you are on purpose, how you look, the emotions that you have, the experiences, even, that you go through, these are things that God put in your life. And so, what are we to do with them? I think there's a lot that we can do with them, and that's what we see throughout the Old Testament in Scripture, and even into the New, right? Think about what God did with Paul, right? Galatians.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: Right? Paul starts off as this guy; he's a persecutor, right? But God transforms him. He comes to him with an experience that I don't know anybody in my personal life has had, where he gets converted in a very extraordinary way, and now he's all the way on the flip side on the other end. He comes from killing Christians, right? All the way over to the other side, where he is out here professing the faith, teaching people, going on missionary journeys, getting in prison, writing letters, right? One of the biggest writers of the letters in the New Testament, and God uses him in that way to speak the words to us that are so familiar to some, of "There being neither Jew, nor Gentile, neither slave, nor free, male, nor female, all one in Christ. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise." Right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yes, yes, and not only that, but when we think about the charge that the Gospels bring out, in the way that Jesus shows Himself to us, we think of just the quintessential verse in Matthew 28, "Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority on heaven and earth has been given to Me,'" therefore, what? "Go and make disciples." Not in your own lane only, not just with people groups you're comfortable with, not just when it's convenient or you feel like it, but make disciples of what? All nations, right? Baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything that He's commanded us. And so, there's this charge to go out and to reach groups of people that are like us, yes, but also who are not like us.

And it continues in the book of Acts, when there's this charge to go and reach people from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. And all these missionary journeys, like you said, that Paul is going on in order to spark this creation of new churches, that's supposed to spread like wildfire all over the world. There is an intentionality in crossing lanes when it comes to that, and in bringing people who are different into our fold. And there's something really, really beautiful about that, and realizing that those differences in those people, that it's okay for them to be a little different, but they're still with us in Christ, and that they believe in trust in Him. It's kind of like a salad bowl. Janine, you know more about salad than I do. You're more of a salad eater.

Professor Janine Bolling: Yeah. I am more of a salad eater than you are.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: When is the last time you had a salad?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Janine, that's not what today is about. We're not discussing that moment today, but if I did have a salad, per se, what do I have to buy? I think I need to have lettuce there. What else do you put on salad, though?

Professor Janine Bolling: Well, I really like to have fun salads, from having friends who are vegan. I'm not a vegan myself.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: There are fun salads?

Professor Janine Bolling: There are fun salads, okay?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Oh.

Professor Janine Bolling: There's a restaurant that I go to that makes these amazing salads. The one that I always like to order, it's chopped kale. It's got American cheddar, turkey bacon, cranberries, some type of vinaigrette, and then these nuts on top, pepitas, those little pumpkin seeds. Right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Wow, a lot of vocabulary words coming through. Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: Yeah, tons of vocabulary words. And with a salad though, when we're thinking about diversity, I think it is kind of like a salad, right? Because you have all these things that are next to each other; they're distinct, right? We're not destroying the kale for the sake of the cranberries. However, when they all mix together, they really do make quite the good dish, right?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I do have to admit that I don't order a lot of salad. If I eat it, I'll eat it at home, because if I'm going to pay for lettuce, I'll pay a dollar for it, not a bunch in the store, okay? New Yorker. But if I eat a salad, I eat it at home, and I realized it's not enough to just have the lettuce, I need to have that ranch taste. For me, it's ranch, not vinaigrette, just to ...

Professor Janine Bolling: Ranch.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: kind of color it a little bit, and I want that taste to be different. And the cranberries, I'm feeling that, the cranberries that you talked about. Those add a different flavor, and the croutons. I'm a crouton guy, and all those different things, they are different, yet they're working together in the dish, right?

Professor Janine Bolling: Right.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: And it's important to realize that we are different, but we work together in the same dish, the same body of Christ, right? And we can realize these differences between us, and then also understand that we're one at the same time. It was often said that the world is a melting pot, that we need to think of things as a melting pot. We really actually don't, because that would be everything boiling down to something gray and gross colored, right? We want these vivid colors, and flavors, and tastes of different kinds of people, all adding to the same dish.

Professor Janine Bolling: Absolutely, and I think that this opportunity to try new things, kind of to go back a little bit to the Matthew 28 verse of the Great Commission, what do you do when you're thinking of the people who you're supposed to go out to, right? All these nations. I like to think of the imagery of when is the last time, if you can remember with me, you've been in a room, or a space, or a place, where you were the only one? Whether you're the only woman, whether you're the only black person, whether you're the person who thought we were having a Halloween costume party, but really, it's a fancy Halloween party, and you're the only one in a costume, right? When you're the only one, but you're going into a larger group, how does that feel?

And I think what Jesus gives us in this verse is just so special. It says, "I am with you always, to the very end of the age." So even when you think you're the only one, you have Christ beside you, who's walking alongside. And that's just an imagery I always keep with me, for any time to feel alone, but especially in those moments where I think a lot of what happens in the church sometimes, specifically as a black Lutheran, is you might be the only one in the room, right? And what does that feel like, and how does that get overcome? It's because Christ is there. This is my family, right? These are people that I'm connected to. And in the wider sense, in the larger Christian church, if you are that little cranberry on top of the salad, please understand that it all works together. Please understand that Jesus Christ is the one that ties it together, that is the Master Chef that blends it, that combines it to be something that is useful, right? That is worthy. That is good, right? Much like how we think about in the book of Genesis.

And so for me, and I don't know if you can agree with this, Gerard, but I think of this in the church, right? And so, when we're thinking about when we were biking and we had that experience, it wouldn't be the first time I was called the N-word; it certainly wouldn't be the last. That's happened a few times this year as well. But what does the church do in response to that, right? What does it matter? Okay, great. "We weren't there. We didn't do that," right? "I didn't call you anything." But I think, really, the gift and the value, and the way that we know Jesus on earth, the way that we know one another more deeply, one of our human desires is to be known, is how people respond, because it hurts when the response is something callous. "Well, maybe you shouldn't have gone there. Maybe you shouldn't have been there. Maybe this or that should have happened." However, when someone responds with, "I hear you; tell me more about that. How did that happen? What's going to be next time?" You have a different connection.

And so, at the time, we had been actually new Lutherans, in this biking in Broad Channel story, and we did end up talking to our pastor about it. I cannot quote him to this day of what he responded, but I remember it wasn't negative, right? And that's what helped me to understand that, yes, you and I are blood, right? And they always say blood is thicker than water.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I remember that.

Professor Janine Bolling: Blood is thicker than water, yeah.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Mom used to say that a lot.

Professor Janine Bolling: Our moment is an only child, so she definitely has a different perspective on that.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: And there was a second part to it. Blood is thicker than water, and strong blood is thicker than weak blood. Remember that?

Professor Janine Bolling: Okay.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: It was the secondary part of it, but with blood is thicker than water, it's this idea of brothers and sisters and familial connections being thicker than friendship connections, right? But in being in the church, especially for the experience of me, I know for you, Janine, that you've had this as well, you realize that that's actually not true. That it is true, but it isn't true. Because it depends on what type of water you're talking about. Janine and I were both baptized later in life, and when we were baptized kind of as early teenagers, right?

Professor Janine Bolling: Yup.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I remember feeling that that Baptism promise was real, and for me, and knowing it to be true because Christ said it. And so, the water bonded us together as the family of God in Baptism. And I remember also knowing that the blood of Christ that covers all of us bonds us together, and that we're all redeemed together. So blood is thicker than water if we're talking about Christ's blood, and water is the thickest of all, if we're talking about our promise in Baptism as well. And so, even as I think back that to that story ...

Professor Janine Bolling: I like that.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: I know, right? Even as I think back to that story of us kind of driving over that bridge together, and us getting talked to by mom, and then also talking to the pastor about it, I think to myself that it was cool that we were able to open up to pastor about it, because we knew that it was about being in the family of God, too. That it wasn't just a story for blood relatives only, that we are all covered in the blood of Christ, and that He was our family from the waters of Baptism, which is great.

Professor Janine Bolling: For sure, for sure. And so, this is really what we want to talk about on the podcast. I know I have all these thoughts knocking around in my head at all times, right? Whether it has to do with family, whether it has to do with the church, whether it has to do with diversity, whether it has to do with what's going on in the news, when I'm getting to my phone. And so, this is what we want to talk about with you all, right? We want to hear those questions. We want to talk through future episodes. We got a lot of fun stuff planned, but we want to hear the questions, too.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah. We want to hear the questions, and we also want to get into the weeds. We want to get into the messiness of it, right? We want to talk through developing and maintaining and cultivating, even, these diverse friendships and relationships. And in our next episode, we really want to talk about what value do diverse friendships bring to our lives? What does the salad bowl bring to our lives? Not only spiritually, but also just out in the world, what does it do for us? And we want to talk through those things and have meaningful conversations about them.

Professor Janine Bolling: Absolutely. What is the purpose? Because I think something that comes up so often, and we're not afraid to ask or play devil's advocate on both sides, is just, "Why do I need that?" Right? "I really like eating what I eat. Do I really need to have a salad right now?" Right? And so, what do those friendships bring? What value do they bring to our lives? That's what we're going to be looking at. So that's the episode.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah.

Professor Janine Bolling: I feel good about this. It was good?

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Yeah, I feel good about it, too. I feel like it was nice to get all of that out and nice to chat through some of these things, and I look forward to the future chats and the future conversations we get to have. So I'm Gerard.

Professor Janine Bolling: And I'm Janine.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: And we are all here on purpose.

Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling: Thanks for joining us on this week's conversation. We are so excited about what's coming up this season. Join us next week as we discuss why it's important to have friends who look different than you. And if you like what you heard, share with a friend. Oh, and don't forget to leave us a review. Thanks!

Professor Janine Bolling: The Impartial Church is a product of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Our technical producer is Christy Bond, and our creative producer is Jonathan Christopher. See you later!

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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