An Opportunity to Grow (#780)

In a crisis, some people seek safety and comfort by holding tighter to the way they've always done things while others find it a great opportunity to learn and grow to see what new insights God might have for them. Three years ago we first met Gil Michel, a father, accountant, and pastor of a downtown congregation in South Bend, Indiana in a discussion about racial injustice. Wayne sought him out again to see what God had been doing in him the last eight months through the pandemic and in the growing conversation about race as an African-American. What unfolds is an amazing conversation about shifting our thoughts and actions in times of upheaval and challenge. If we're not open to God changing our minds we will be forever stuck in our ignorance and biases.

Podcast Notes:
Pre-order Live Loved Free Full, Wayne's newest book
A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation
Previous Podcasts with Gil Michel


  1. I crave fellowship too. We moved a year and a half ago from a place we lived all our life. We’re in our 6o’s and 70’s. It’s harder to get to know people as you age as most are established in their relationships. So with the Covid, we haven’t gotten to know very many people at church. We are still having church but not many want to gather at homes or for meals. I need to do something new to meet people.

  2. Thank you. So helpful. This podcast is making me take another look at A Language of Healing. I have the book but had to put it down with only reading a couple chapters. I will keep reading.

  3. WOW! Nailed all my beginning questions. How do you raise a black man in today’s culture, what “white privilege” really is, political and racial conversational burnout, church and ministry addiction (yes, it is real), triggers in the brain for political and religious bias, what is it to really “love one another as I have loved you”, all in one very brief conversation. You could break each topic down for further exploration should you so choose.
    Next time how about an interview with his wife? All those kids, all that dual career job stuff her husband is doing, speaking as it appears she does, mixed household of kids in transition, foster kids, and their own, plus her ministry and identity. This household looks like it could use a vacation. Just the two of them.
    How do they rest? One more topic to consider. A human being instead of a human doing. Tax time is coming up so he will be really busy, perhaps after that is over.

  4. Thank you for “seeing” our lives for the busy it is. I am indeed about to enter into tax season and am wondering what it will look like, especially if it is extended like it was last year.

    This conversation could have indeed taken so many directions and I feel like we scratched the surface with each facet.

  5. Who on God’s earth doesn’t agree that some wrong things have been done? Seriously? Wayne, I am so conflicted by this and other conversations you’ve had on the topic of race. There seems to be this deep belief that white people have all the power to change the black community. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge racism is an idiot. That being said, at what point does the black community decide they don’t need white people in order to heal their own families? And can you tell me exactly what Antifa and BLM have done to help the black community? Just the facts please. I would also be interested in hearing why it seems you and your co-hosts on this subject refuse to address the issue of black racism. It’s as if you think black people are magically imbued with a superior moral character and are somehow incapable of the same racism. Black on black crime and poverty as well as the destruction of the black family is real and often a result of democrat policies. Lets not forget a hero of the democrat party- Margaret Sanger, who said black people were human weeds and need to be exterminated. I’m not a republican either- they are all crooked in my experience. Your condescension towards people who are fighting against lock downs and the quarantining of healthy people is shockingly sheep like. I will also boldly say, I am blown away by the level ignorance that you have Wayne regarding the “Pandemic” and the rushed DNA altering vaccine for a flu that is literally less than 2% fatal. Hospitals are incentivized monetarily to diagnose almost every death as a covid death, while any voluntary procedures are shut down. Hospitals are in the business of making money, they are not philanthropic organizations, they have investors. Everyone wants to get paid, and getting paid they are. I highly recommend Plague of Corruption by PhD Judy Mikovits on the topic. You seem to be impossibly unaware of the fact that literally 100’s of physicians and PhD’s telling the truth are being censored on ALL platforms to include the news networks. The maker of the covid test himself is telling people the truth, he also is being censored. I am sorry to say that I can no longer listen to one sided conversations like this. The perpetrators- some white folks, will always be guilty, the victims- some black folks, will always blame others. I have to say how grateful I am for the likes of Thomas Sowell, Candace Owens and many others who refuse to be dependent on someone else to fix their lives. They are most certainly not in denial about the reality of racism. They simply refuse to stop giving their power to the ambiguous white mob. I have enjoyed your work for so long, but I can’t with this one sided conversation anymore.

    • Hi Nancy. I’m sorry you’ve been so offended by some of the things I think are important to talk about these days. You seem to live on the extremes here, both with those you reject on racism and those you listen to about the virus. However, I’d be happy to have a conversation with you if you’re really want to talk instead of throw accusations at me. I don’t think black people are “magically imbued with superior moral character;” most are people just like us who want a fair shake in the culture. Racism from marginalized groups doesn’t have near the impact as it does from the dominant one. I’ll email you my phone number so you can call if you like, but it’s got to be a conversation, not a diatribe like your comment here.

  6. First off, I’m not white. And racism does exist, with all races. I’ve certainly experienced it myself.
    But I listened to half your podcast to the same stuff I hear everywhere, all the time- with very little about God.
    Good job on complementing the main stream media.
    Your podcast was the last Christian I listen to from time to time, and you’ve given me some great perspectives. But now I’ve lost interest.
    I guess Black Lives Matter more than those who just want to hear about God. (Notice how Apple automatically capitalizes BLM like God?)

  7. Hi Wayne,

    I’ve been listening to your podcast on and off since about 2013 when I was 26 years old and had just found myself in my journey leaving the “church” for good.

    I had been a student of religion since I was a young child. I grew up in an abusive family and I met God at my little baptist church at 5 years old and clung to him. God grew me and carried me and used my religious experience to teach me about him and about the world. He helped me see the pain and suffering of my abuse as refining me by the fire.

    Fast forward to the day I finally couldn’t accept the “church” for what it was any longer. He introduced me to your podcast in his perfect and divine timing and my heart beat and resonated with so much of what I heard here. He had been planting seeds throughout my entire religious journey (actually, I think you may know Greg and Kim McInturff in Arizona.. they were a big part of teaching me about grace), and God worked something like a compass through your heart, reflecting to me that I was heading in the right direction.

    Over the years, I’ve found myself venturing away from The God Journey, as I find my own footing and don’t always need to lean on the words of a couple of guys I don’t know. But still, I find my way back, when I need encouragement, when no one is in my corner, when I wonder if I’ve made the right decision in leaving organized religion (my husband is in the military, no friends at our current station, I don’t have family to talk to, and I have 4 young children… being isolated and alone is a huge part of my life experience). And often, the message you bring is enough to fill my cup and remind me of my own light that hasn’t yet had much of a place to shine, and to remind me of hope fit a better future. Anyway, I wanted to share that as this particular podcast and your lovely guest lifted my spirits today, and I fail to understand the animosity I often see in the comments. Thanks for keeping on keeping on.

  8. Webster’s definition of the word: diatribe: a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something.
    That is a total misrepresentation of my comment and my attitude. You simply didn’t like what I said. You got it completely wrong when you said I am offended by things you think are important to talk about. I think these things are very important to talk about, and am not offended by the topic itself, but by your one sided view of the topic. I have no idea what you meant by “you seem to live on the extremes here, both with those you reject on racism and those you listen to about the virus.” Who have I rejected? And how do you know who I listen to regarding the virus? I suggested a book by a brilliant woman- a virologist. Are you suggesting that the 100’s of other doctors and scientists that are literally being banned on all platforms are extreme as well? I didn’t throw accusations at you, I disagreed with you. I also realize that the larger the group the greater the impact, and not once did my comment say or imply anything otherwise. I think this is part of the conversation you say you want to have. I’m sorry you were offended by my delivery. It’s one of the things I think is important to talk about. If we could keep it here, and transparent, I would appreciate it very much. Maybe this is a divine opportunity to take a step outside of our comfort zones. We are all adults here.

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