LUBBOCK, Texas– An alliance of spiritual leaders in West Texas call themselves the Lubbock Round Table. These individuals travel from all over the Hub City to sit down once a month as equals to discuss some of the hardest topics of today in an effort to find ways to help the community begin to heal and come closer together.
The first meeting took place back in 2020, back in the midst of the pandemic. Alexander Chapel Church of God in Christ’s Bishop William Watson said it’s important for members of the church to have open conversations that are uncomfortable in order to find divine truth and begin the work of healing.
“The Bible is, to me, something that challenges where we are. And, I think as preachers, as pastors, as believers [that] part of our job is to challenge our congregations, challenge our friends, and again, just continue to stretch the minds,” Watson said.
New Dimensions Tabernacle’s Pastor Cory Powell said that the scope of topics and discussions haven’t been the easiest to sit down and have an open and honest conversation about. Powell said some meetings have definitely been uncomfortable. However, it’s that level of transparency that is needed more now than ever before for the sake of progress and growth.
“America is still going through growing pains all these years later,” Powell said. “And so unless we address them, you can’t correct what you won’t confront. We have to have that willingness to sit down and be uncomfortable, to perhaps challenge those thoughts. Perhaps the teachings, the misguiding is that we had to really look at history as it is, and not to sanitize it. Which is a movement that’s really going on right now – to try to divorce us from the truth.
“Because it’s painful to admit that we have some ugly stuff that’s apart of the very fabric of our country, but until you address the ugly, you can’t get to the beauty. So, we want to take the time to sit down together. The Bible is real clear that we have to reason together. And so when we come together and we can learn and listen, then we can lead and make the positive changes,” Powell said.
These leaders put it all on the table. Each member said the group continues to create a safe space to discuss even the most intense and controversial topics that have left many parts of the county divided. Watson said uncomfortable and painful conversations that hit way too close to home. Watson said that by not talking about them doesn’t make them go away.
“When you have black and brown people being called monkeys in our school districts – we’re not there,” Watson said. “When you have an 18-year-old that can take a gun and go into a place and mow down people – we’re not there. When people can go into churches, sit amongst a congregation, and then just start shooting people – we’re not there. There’s no way we’re there.
“When you can come to a group — and I’ll even bring it a little closer to home — when you can come to a group like this and have hard conversations and get so offended that you leave – we’re not there,” Watson said.
Each member also sits at the table with their own reason and deeper sense of purpose to create more healing within the community while also reevaluating their role in the process. Lubbock Baptist Association’s Jerry Jopland said he’s learned a lot about himself because of this group.
“To be educated to learn, to sense my own prejudices that maybe I didn’t know, but in the midst of conversation, go, oh, man, I don’t know if I feel or what’s that look like,” Jopland said. “The endgame for me is for my grandchildren. To be able to pass on a legacy that their Papa did everything he can to try to make this world, their world, a better place. That’s my motivation.”