Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

More Like David

Written by: on October 19, 2023

Two weeks before we got married, my husband and I drove to Sacramento to see his father, David. Andrew’s parents divorced when he was eight and he had not seen his dad in ten years. We went to church with David that weekend. Had we not been going to meet Andrew’s father; I likely would not have set foot in that church or entered that area of town. David was the only white guy at an all-black church located in a run-down part of the city. I remember feeling uncomfortable driving through that part of town, uncomfortable walking into the building, uncomfortable surrounded by people so different from me. I stood out in the crowd. I was welcomed wholeheartedly. What was it about this church that drew in David? My father-in-law was an alcoholic, two years sober when we visited him. He had hit rock bottom. He turned his life around and gave his life to Jesus. He felt wholly accepted and seen at that church. They embraced him in all his fragility.

David and his church are what I have thought of as I have explored Black Dignity by Vincent W. Lloyd. Llyod begins with a common definition of dignity. “Sometimes it seems dignity is used as a synonym for humanity: to treat someone with dignity is to treat them as fellow humans, worthy of respect. Or, in a theological register, recognizing and revering the image of God in a human.”[1] This view is the dictionary perspective. Lloyd digs further into the idea of black dignity.

In a ChatGPT summary, Lloyd’s discussion is described as follows:

“Lloyd argues that the concept of dignity, often used to denote an inherent worthiness and respect that all individuals deserve, has been historically denied to Black people in many societies, particularly in the United States. He highlights the long history of racism, slavery, and systemic oppression that has deprived Black individuals of their dignity and relegated them to a position of subordination.”[2]

In the book, Lloyd expands on the meaning of dignity. “Black dignity is fundamentally committed to equality, and to the equal distribution of dignity. . . Black dignity is fundamentally committed to equality is the view that systems of dominance are so expansive, so numerous, so interconnected, that we are each, all of the time, both master and slave.” [3]

I was not yet twenty-one when I met David, when I went to his church. I felt uncomfortable because of my as yet unrecognized racism. At that age, I would have told you that I was not racist, that I believed in equality. I did not understand the difference between equality and equity. Lloyd writes, “Our struggles are not only external, against laws and institutions, but internal, against our own habits, feelings, and values.” [4] In March of 2017, I had the opportunity to attend Greater Grace Church in Ferguson, MO, not far from where Michael Brown was shot by a policeman. It was the one-year anniversary of the death of my father-in-law and I could think of no better way to honor him. He taught me to see beyond the external. He pulled me out of my comfort zone to a place where I had to confront my worldview. I was no longer the reluctant attendee at a church where I was the minority. Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Advance two years ago and going to Cape Town last year have both been life altering experiences for me. My world view continues to expand.

“In short, we have to be able to cut through the jumble of culture that captures our attention in order to notice the workings of domination and the struggle against domination. But once we do, we are able to access a realm of truth that transcends culture. With struggle comes a kind of flourishing that we can never achieve simply by inhabiting a culture well.” [5]

I long for the day when, as Paul puts it in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, [black nor white] for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all God’s children. I pray that I will continue to learn and grow, continue to be more like David in how I embrace those who are different from me.

[1] Vincent W. Lloyd, Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022), 2.

[2] https://chat.openai.com/c/6176e0d8-b64b-472f-944c-59e6c75a4d98

[3] Lloyd, 16-17.

[4]Ibid., 17.

[5] Ibid., 155.

About the Author


Becca Hald

Becca is an ordained Foursquare minister, serving as the Online Community Pastor at Shepherd's House Church. She has over twenty-five years of leadership experience both inside and outside the church. Becca has served her community in many capacities ranging from Administrative Assistant and Children’s Ministry Director to Secretary and President of multiple school organizations. She and her husband, Andrew have been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children, Drew and Evelyn. Her great passion is to equip others, to raise awareness about mental health, and to help reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. In her free time, she loves going to Disneyland, reading, sewing, and making cards.

10 responses to “More Like David”

  1. mm David Beavis says:

    Thank you for sharing your story of your father-in-law, Becca! I’m curious, what was the turning point for you going from 21-year-old who did not recognize her own racism to where you are at now actively doing the work to recognize and dislodge racism and unwarranted, unconscious biases?

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you David. I think it has been a process over 27 years of marriage. My husband is such an example to me of someone who truly seeks to see people, and love people. We have made decisions in our lives and marriage to seek to grow and learn. It is hard to remain ignorant if you seek growth.

  2. mm Daron George says:


    Thank you for your vulnerability. In your post, you stated that the young 21 year old Becca did not understand the difference between equality and equity. That is a very eye openeing statement and very important in any race discussion. How did you come to understand the difference?

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Daron. I think the difference between equality and equity is something I have learned over time. Raising a child with autism certainly helped my understanding. The key is to have a growth mindset and that is something my husband and I have chosen throughout our life and ministry. As the old public service announcement went, “the more you know…”

  3. Becca – I’m so curious to learn more about your thoughts on the difference between equality and equity. How would you explain that in light of the book Black Dignity?

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Laura, great question. There is a video I have watched that I think really highlights the privilege I have had growing up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJAgPF5FNTQ

      I think Lloyd would describe Black Dignity as creating a society based on equity, not equality. Equity is about understanding our differences and how they impact our lives. When I was in high school, I thought that college acceptance should be based on SAT scores, grades, etc. I thought that someone should not get into college because they check a minority box. What I did not realize or think about at the time was that they did not have the same opportunities I had. I am a third generation college graduate. I lived in an affluent neighborhood with great schools. I had advantages that I did not even realize. Until we can recognize those discrepancies and accommodate the differences, equality does not exist.

  4. Kristy Newport says:

    Great quote:
    “Our struggles are not only external, against laws and institutions, but internal, against our own habits, feelings, and values.” [4]

    What a fantastic picture of you and your father in law!! What an honor you give him in this blog. I hope Andrew has read this! Great job.
    The cohort has asked some great questions above. I hope to hear/read your answers.

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Kristy. I will have to have my hubby read this. That quote really struck me because I have struggled against the internal. I strive to continually grow, to keep moving forward. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” May I always press on towards growth.

  5. Becca,
    Thanks for sharing a beautiful story of dignity. “to treat someone with dignity is to treat them as fellow humans, worthy of respect.”
    That’s a true statement, if we value others as fellow humans, we give them the dignity they deserve. David is our witness.

Leave a Reply