“The Best of Enemies” Bill Riddick and the Role of the Church in Racial Reconciliation

Conversations That Lead to Change 

the best of enemiesSome of the hardest conversations are the ones that really need to be had. And, when it comes to race relations or racial reconciliation, just getting both sides to the table is close to impossible.

In “The Best of Enemies“, we witness a miracle of the impossible. Based on the true story of the unexpected relationship between Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist, and a Ku Klux Klan leader, C. P. Ellis, the movie tells the story of the 1971 racially charged era in Durham, NC during school desegregation.

Atwater and Ellis both reluctantly agree to co-chair a 10-day community summit, or charrette, to come to an agreement on school desegregation. The evolution of their relationship is nothing short of amazing, as is the outcome of the charrette, led by today’s guest, Mr. Bill Riddick.

The Best of Enemies is a remarkable piece of less-known history needed in today’s reality of continued racial disharmony, hopelessness, and justice fatigue. While this country’s racially charged past is unpleasant to revisit for many, we hope viewers will regain hope and strength to fight for needed change in our communities.

Matthew 5:44 on the Silver Screen

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Are we living Jesus’ call to love our enemies? When is last time we “did good” to those who hate, use, or persecute us?

What is the role of the Church when it comes to racial reconciliation?

The Best of Enemies gives Team Jesus a much needed visual – this is what it looks like to lay down our pride and biases for the greater good of loving like Jesus expects us to love. Our Father is a God of reconciliation. As such, this film will remind the body of Christ of the importance of “reasoning together”, coming to the table to have respectful conversations with people who don’t believe the way we do.

For more insight, take a listen above to our interview with the actual leader of that historic charrette between the Ann Atwater and the African-American community and C. P. Ellis and the Klan. Riddick’s words of wisdom will make us all think about our personal and collective role in racial reconciliation and justice.

 

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