How We Love Matters

A Call to Practice Relentless Racial Reconciliation


By Albert Tate

Foreword by Lecrae Moore

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This powerful book reimagines discipleship by begging us to acknowledge that racism exists in the Church—and offers the hopeful message that we can disciple it out.

It is not an accident that racism is alive and well in the American church. Racism has, in fact, been taught within the church for so long most of us don’t even recognize it anymore. Pastor Albert Tate guides all of us in acknowledging the racism that keeps us from loving each other the way God intends and encourages siblings in Christ to sit together in racial discomfort, examining the role we may play in someone’s else’s struggle. 

How We Love Matters is a series of nine moving letters that educate, enlighten, and reimagine discipleship in a way that flips the church on its head. In these letters that include Dear Whiteness, Dear America, and Dear Church, Tate calls out racism in the world, the church, within himself and us. These letters present an anti-racist mission and vision for believers to follow that helps us to speak up at the family table and call out this evil so it will not persist in future generations. 

Tate believes that the only way to make change is by telling the truth about where we are—relationally, internally, and spiritually. How We Love Matters is an exposition of relevant Biblical truth, a clarion call for all believers to examine how they see and understand each other, and it is a way forward toward justice, reconciliation, and healing. Because, yes, it is important that we love each other, but it is even more important how we love each other. 



During a hot summer week years ago, I found myself trying to be a model husband, father, leader, and follower of Christ. So like most good-ole American Christians I took my family to a Christian camp. It was a mix of many things I hate—the outdoors, bugs, snakes, heat, and mostly acoustic guitars and Christian songs I don’t know. My family was one of the few families of color and I found myself struggling.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been around mostly white brothers and sisters in Christ before. It wasn’t that I was unaccustomed to places where there was very little Fred Hammond and a lot of Hillsong. It was that I was struggling with the racial tension in America. I was struggling as a follower of Christ to find voices that could speak to my very real racial trauma yet still point me to a hope in the Scriptures. I just knew this summer week would be one where I battled cynicism and grief, but as my grandmother says, God may not show up when you want Him to, but He’s always on time.

Our speaker that week was Albert Tate. Immediately his words began to fill up my thirsty soul with truth and wisdom. I was not only hearing God speak through Albert—I was being healed. Then and now he has a way of communicating so that all listeners can walk away challenged and encouraged, provoked and loved.

There have been many conversations in my community about how much he has blessed us. His words in this book will allow you to see from afar what I have seen up close. He is a mere man, but he allows himself to be an instrument of an extraordinary God.





Take a moment to look at this time stamp. It’s not quite ten minutes, but it’s close. It’s short for a commute—for a walk or a bike ride. Short for a film or an appointment.

But it’s a long song. A long time to not know where your child is. It’s a long time to be in pain and distress, to feel fear.

And it’s a really long time to not be able to breathe.

Those nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds Derek Chauvin held his knee against George Floyd’s neck stopped the entire world in its tracks. Everyone who came across the footage stopped and stared. It spread like wildfire across social media, popping up without warning and showing a man slowly losing his life in one of the most shocking, disgusting, and horrifying ways anyone has ever seen. Even more harrowing was the display of police brutality and racism—a Black man pressed into the ground while a white police officer kneeled on his neck, squeezing the life from him as he cried, over and over again, that he couldn’t breathe.

As suddenly as the world stopped, it exploded. Protests erupted across the country and across the globe. People were marching for Black lives and calling for justice, reform, and healing. The scenes were fraught—and all of this while we were contending with a pandemic.

Let’s park there for just a moment.

The year 2020 was marked by so many dynamics, issues, and concerns that many of us have never fully faced before and are still processing. The pandemic descended on us so suddenly and completely that we didn’t have a moment to think as we adjusted to a new normal: One week we were gathering in buildings without masks, able to talk, hug, and be with our friends and family, and the next we were on lockdown, confined to our homes. People were panic-buying toilet paper until it was scarce; we were sanitizing our groceries once we got home and shedding our clothes to immediately toss them in the washer; we were buying masks, desperate to secure enough for our households and loved ones… I guess what I’m saying is, in 2020 the world was marked by so much uncertainty and fear—anxiety and exhaustion were at an all-time high. And then George Floyd was killed. And those nine minutes? Well, they felt more like nine years.

It had been a few months into this dynamic of lockdown and racial tension when my family and I decided we had to get out of the house. We’d been home every day stuck between news about the virus and the racial unrest, and we needed a change of scenery—to take some time away. So, my wife and I piled the kids into the car, and we went for a drive. We live near the Foothills in Southern California, which means that in just twenty or thirty minutes, we can head up into the hills and find a breathtaking natural scene to enjoy. After a little while we found just that; we pulled over in a little rest area where there was no one else around and got out, still wearing our masks, of course, to enjoy the view before us.

A few minutes later, two police officers showed up, parked maybe a hundred feet or so away from my family. They were just hanging out and chatting, so I didn’t pay them much attention. A moment later, though, I noticed my nine-year-old son head back to the car and get into the back seat. Shortly after he left, my thirteen-year-old daughter headed to the car to check on her charging phone. I was keeping an eye on them, and all was quiet. When my daughter came back, I asked her what her brother was doing. What she said next stopped me cold.

“He’s afraid of the police.”

I looked around to where the police were still standing and chatting and then back to the car where my son was sitting nestled in the back seat. I made my way over to him, opened the car door, and poked my head in.

“Isaac, what are you doing?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“Why are you sitting in here all alone?” I asked.

“No reason,” he said.

“Are you okay? What’s the matter?” I pressed.

“Nothing,” he said again.

I gave it a moment, took a beat. “Son, what’s going on?” I asked again. When he finally answered, he told me just what his sister had said: He was scared of the police.

“Why?” I asked, absolutely taken aback.

“Because I could die.”

As a father, there are many times when my children have come to me with some fear of something that’s either pretty irrational or just plain impossible. Usually in those moments I tell them they’re all right, that what they’re afraid of is really nothing to be scared of at all, and that they don’t need to worry about it. But this wasn’t one of those times.

As a Black father talking to his Black son, I knew his fear was valid and rational. I couldn’t tell him to brush it off and not worry about it—that he’s not really in any danger. When my son said those words, I immediately saw all the moments from my own boyhood when I feared the police. I remembered the stories my father and grandfather told me, about how the police treated them and how they, too, learned to fear them as young men—a fear they carried into adulthood. There is a legacy of this fear for many Black men—in my own family and families across this country. When my son told me what was wrong, it reminded me how early this fear starts, how it is both a tragedy and a necessity.

A necessity because that fear is grounded in the reality of racial tensions in this country and where they can lead. We saw the brutality with which a white police officer killed a Black man, the lack of remorse and the disregard for human life. Those nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds have marked my nine-year-old son’s life. He has been changed by the reality of George Floyd’s killing, and the killings of the dozens of other Black men and women, before and after George, at the hands of police.

I am the pastor of a multiethnic church in Southern California where the majority of the congregation is white. Even so, Isaac has been raised around so many ethnicities. He has aunties of all colors, friends of pretty much every race. We’ve created a diverse family around us, and my children have grown up in a diverse, multiethnic setting. But in that moment in the car, the reality of the racial tensions and dynamics of America were still there. Isaac was still a little Black boy, and he felt unsafe. A whole new generation has already been marked by the reality of racism—and that is why I’m writing this book.

It’s past time to turn the volume up and not down on the realities of racial tension and dynamics in this country. I want my son and his generation to have a greater story—but to get there we have to talk candidly about our own stories and the racism and injustice we’ve faced.

The words that will follow on these pages are driven by this “why”—I want a better tomorrow for my children. I want a better world for the next generation.


A few years ago, I was at a staff retreat. We were all milling around, settling in, and one of my colleagues was on her laptop. All of a sudden she called out, “All right, who wants to join me?” A few people raised their voices in affirmation and I, intrigued, asked what she was talking about. Well, every year Disneyland does something called the Half Marathon—13.1 miles to run (or walk). You can run for a charity or just for the fun of it—and let me tell you, I’m not a “run just for the fun of it” type of guy. In fact, I’m not a runner or even a walker; I’m pretty much just an eater/sleeper. But for some reason that day, I told my colleague to sign me up!

Next time I was preaching, I decided (in my hubris or folly—probably both) to let the congregation in on my new adventure. Everyone erupted in applause at the news, just as excited and enthusiastic as they could be. Well, the race was about six months away at this point, and I hadn’t even begun preparing: no prepping, no working out, nothing.

Enter Justice.

Now, Justice is a member of the congregation, and this man is something else. He’s absolutely ripped. His arms are the size of small cars, his physique is that of a bodybuilder, and he did, in fact, compete as a bodybuilder. Main point? Justice was in peak physical shape. As the weeks had been going by and the Half Marathon was getting closer, Justice was watching me every Sunday and, I guess, he was getting a little concerned. Eventually he contacted the church office to set up a meeting with me, and when he came in, we exchanged pleasantries, chatted a bit, and then Justice got down to business. He told me that he’d been watching me and hadn’t noticed any change in me or my body (how could he tell? I wanted to know). He asked what I was doing to prepare for the Half Marathon, and I said nothing. I don’t think he was all that surprised. So, Justice told me he has a gym, that he was a trainer, and that he wanted to train me for free to get ready for the Half Marathon.

I went ahead and took him up on it.

For our first meeting, Justice came over to my house with balls, ropes, and all kinds of exercise equipment I’d never used before. I was side-eyeing him pretty hard, and sure enough, those first twenty minutes were excruciating.

Justice had me exercising like I had never exercised in my life. I was sweating, huffing and puffing, out of breath, exhausted, and just about ready to give up and tap out. Around that time, I heard Justice say, “All right, Albert.”

I thought that “All right” meant we were done for the day—that I’d completed my first workout and lived to tell the tale. But Justice kept talking: “Let’s get the workout started.”

I looked at Justice incredulously. “What was that we just did for twenty minutes?”

“That was just stretching,” he said. “That was just the prep for the workout to come. You had to stretch your muscles first.”

I shook my head in disbelief. That stretching almost took me out.

Friends, when I think about the next few chapters we’ll journey through together, I think about the justice of the gospel and what it demands of us: Racial reconciliation will stretch us, offend us, go into our comfort zones and totally disrupt them—and just when we’re about ready to give up and don’t want to be stretched any further? That’s when we hear Jesus calling, saying, “We’re just getting started.”

Over those months of training, I did not enjoy Justice, but I was thankful for him. I did not like Justice, but I loved him. I did not appreciate him, but I respected him and acknowledged that he was a necessary force and blessing to get me to the place I desired to go. This work of reconciliation ahead of us… you may not like it, but it will help us love one another better. We may not appreciate it, but it will help us respect each other better. This work makes us better so that we can, in turn, create a better world.

So, I invite you to be stretched—to be offended, to allow justice to be your trainer. Because the justice of God flows directly from the love of God.

Let’s let justice stretch us through these pages, so that by the end, we’re ready to get started.


One of the most profound themes and visions of how Jesus sees mankind in the Scriptures is this: We are His family. We are the family of faith, the family of God. And in this family, there are ways we are supposed to treat one another.

Two words capture this family and who God is to all of us: Our Father.

There are huge implications here: (1) We have a Father, and it is God; (2) He is good and loving toward His family and children; (3) we are Our Father’s children, and that makes all of us siblings.

I have four children of my own: two daughters and two sons. How my kids treat one another is a major deal to me. It matters that they are kind and loving toward one another, that they stick up for each other and protect one another. If how my kids act is such a big deal to me, then imagine how big a deal how we treat each other is for God.

So, yeah, how we love our siblings really, really matters.

Everything falls into submission at the table stained with the blood of the precious lamb. Everyone is invited to the table where we are reminded of these greatest commandments and how they must color every aspect of our being.

But unfortunately, most tables don’t look like Christ’s blood-stained table. Most Christians won’t comfortably sit there. Instead, a lot of tables found in the modern church, especially the American church, are centered around whiteness as normative. What I mean by this is that whiteness is seen as both the standard and the norm in our nation. It shows up everywhere:

• For years Band-Aid colors have been made to match only white complexions.

• When the iPhone face ID was being developed, all the people used as subjects to train the tech were white, which meant that the ID initially couldn’t recognize people of color or their facial features well once the devices were in consumers’ hands.

• Until recently, emojis on our smartphones and tablets depicted only white people and skin tones. Varying shades of brown weren’t even an option.

• “Americans” refer to white people, while all other Americans require a hyphenated term that includes their race.

While these things may seem small, they still drive my point home: Even the smallest aspects of life in much of the world, but especially in our America, are claimed for whiteness. Whiteness is the first thought, the default. It is the norm. And so, it makes sense that even our tables are centered around whiteness when they should be centered only around God and His heart.

The family table is one of every nation, every tongue, and every tribe, centered around Christ Jesus, but it has moved away from that. To get back to where we’re meant to be, we must display godly sibling love, and that’s why it matters how we treat each other and show up for one another.

Dr. Korie L. Edwards, acclaimed sociologist, professor, and author of The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches,1 once said that “being diverse doesn’t mean White people are not going to still be in charge of things.” Through her research on the multiethnic church, Edwards became an ambassador for it, telling the truth about where it is and where it has the potential to go. Naturally, I’ve been incredibly intrigued by her and her research. Edwards found that while the value and vision of the multiethnic church are strong and compelling, the church itself has its limitations. The biggest one? Getting the whole family to sit and stay together at the table.

Over the years Edwards found that whenever multiethnic spaces of faith were cultivated, they were only as diverse and progressive as the comfort of the white members. Read that again.

Once the white members got uncomfortable about something, diversity stopped. And if the multiethnic church dared to keep going? The white members would eventually just leave. Edwards’s research shows us that the biggest challenge to the multiethnic church, then, is how well we convince our white siblings to stay at the table to be stretched with us beyond their comfort zones.

This is not to say that I and other pastors of multiethnic churches want to target and push our white siblings. No, what we want to do is make the family table what it was always meant to be: a space for everyone to learn, to be stretched, to grow, and to know Our Father better.

To my white siblings who’ve found this book in your hands, I just want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to not fall into the statistical problem of leaving the table when things get tough. Instead, I want to invite you to lean in when it gets uncomfortable, to find comfort in the blood of the lamb and the love of your siblings.

This is my call for hope and healing. For a family table that’s gathered to hear and learn from Christ. For us as a family to practice sibling love so that we may honor one another, honor Our Father, and so that we may make positive, lasting change for the generations to come.





In my work as a pastor, one of my great privileges has been traveling to Angola Prison in Louisiana. Angola is a state penitentiary and is widely known as one of the bloodiest prisons in the country. It houses the most violent criminals you can imagine. Many of the men locked in there were convicted of rape or sexual assault, murder, or some other highly violent crime—and they’re serving life sentences. In other words, many of these men won’t return to society—they’re going to eventually die in Angola because of the severity of their crimes.

With such a hard reputation, it will probably surprise readers to know that the prison is also one of the places I’ve seen God show up and move the most. The story of what God has done and continues to do in Angola is worthy of a book in and of itself. His work has been phenomenal and impactful, and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to witness it over the years.

I was first connected with Angola through a ministry that regularly goes into prisons and supports pastors with leadership development. I know, it probably sounds a little funny: pastoral leadership development in prison. Well, a few years ago New Orleans Seminary was invited to have a campus in the prison so that the men in Angola could earn a Master of Divinity and other preaching and pastoral degrees. The warden at the time, Warden Cane, decided to do something pretty revolutionary and let the seminary grads plant and launch churches right there in the prison. Over time, revival broke out. Angola went from one of the bloodiest prisons to the most blood bought.

Men were coming to Christ left and right, souls were being saved, and the gospel was spreading far and wide. As the years went by, my work with the prison led me to know some of the men on the inside pretty well. Going in, it’s hard not to remember that any given conversation with someone in the prison was a conversation with someone who has seriously hurt and abused someone. Knowing that, I normally would have been filled with anxiety and fear just being around these men and knowing what they were capable of. But it’s amazing how all of that fear and apprehension falls away in the presence of God. When we are all in the presence of our Lord together, worshipping and fellowshipping, the reality of their crimes and the worst of what they’ve done becomes irrelevant. I have to say that the men of Angola are honestly the freest men I’ve ever seen solely because of their relationship with God.

There’s a photographer in the prison who takes pictures inside. He documents the services and sermons, and his pictures were put into a newsletter that was circulated among the prisoners with updates on local news, events, and stories. The photographer’s name was Lee—this rather heavy-set Asian man who honestly stood out among the other men because Angola was filled with mostly Black, white, and Latino men. I don’t know why Lee is in Angola—I’ve never asked him that—but I believe it was something particularly violent. Over my years visiting Angola and preaching and connecting with the men there, Lee became my brother. I’ll tell you: We are so close. Whenever I see him, we always greet with a warm embrace and have a good chat to just catch up with each other.

So, one day while I was at Angola, Lee and I were having lunch together. Over our meal, he told me how and when he accepted Jesus as his personal savior while serving his sentence and about how amazing and serious his profession of faith was. It was life changing and earth shattering, but then Lee said, “But Pastor, I didn’t know it was real until something happened to me.”

I asked what he meant. So, Lee told me the story.

Some guys on the cell block jumped Lee one night. Using their advantage of surprise, they beat Lee up, but he eventually got the best of them. One of the guys was able to get away from the fight, and the main guy, the one who had apparently orchestrated the jump, was trying to get himself up to make his escape. As he watched this man struggling to stand, Lee knew he could take the man out if he wanted to.

“Pastor,” he said, “this is what I do. I fight. I was so angry I could have taken him out. It would have been nothing to take his life.”

However, as Lee was beating on him, as he saw the opportunity to easily and swiftly take this man’s life, he stopped. He then stooped down, picked the man up, and sent him on his way.

Lee said that at that moment, Jesus became truly real to him because he didn’t want to fight anymore. In that moment, Jesus and his faith took on a new reality because his enemy, suddenly and miraculously, didn’t look like his enemy anymore. There was just something about the transformative gospel of Christ at work in him that made this man and his cronies suddenly not look like enemies deserving of punishment. Lee said he couldn’t understand it—but God.

Where before Lee could have and would have destroyed that man, a different response naturally came forth because God had changed him. His response and proclivity for violence had been transformed, and in that moment his enemy was just not his enemy anymore—his enemy was now his neighbor.

The power of the gospel is such that Jesus Christ not only changes our hearts, but He changes how we see one another—how we see our enemies and those who have done us wrong or dealt us hurts. Where before we harbored anger and pain, we are now filled with grace, just as Christ has grace for us.

Throughout this book’s development, I had a lot of ideas for titles. Some of them were pretty good and some were really bad. One of the really bad ones was “Jesus and the N-word.” I can still clearly see the look on my wife’s face when I ran it by her. Sweet, caring soul that she is, she was trying her best to be encouraging, but it was also pretty obvious that she was totally mortified and hoping this particular idea would not stick. Well, I got a second opinion from my best friend, Ricky, who, I must say, is a lot less loving and a lot more blunt than my wife. He looked at me and said, “Um, you want people to buy this book, right?” So yeah, “Jesus and the N-word” didn’t make the cut, but I still think it’s an important concept!

See, the “N-word” in this idea is “neighbor,” and I just think that “neighbor” and all that the word entails is important to Jesus. I know we cringe at the idea of the term “N-word” being inappropriate, but I would venture to say that we think of neighbor love as something inappropriate in itself. In the gospels we see the story of the law expert hoping to test Jesus by asking Him what must be done to inherit eternal life. If you know how the story goes, you know Jesus simply steers him to the answer in the Scriptures: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your strength, and all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”1

In other words, the law is built on this faith and love that moves in just two directions:

1. A vertical dynamic where you love the Lord your God

2. A horizontal dynamic where you love your neighbor as yourself

Well, the law expert wasn’t done trying to trap Jesus as well as justify himself, so he asked, “And who is my neighbor?”

I think we all have the capacity to be like the law expert—more than we realize or would like to acknowledge. Who is our neighbor? We want to act neighborly, sure, but who is our neighbor exactly? It’s hard to act neighborly if you don’t know who your neighbor is—the law expert has a point.

But if we really call Christ our savior, we know that argument just doesn’t fly.

When we accept Jesus into our lives, we are brought into this transformative relationship that draws us close to Him. However, what a lot of us miss (or maybe don’t want to acknowledge) is that Jesus and our neighbor are inextricably tied, so to be in relationship with Him is to also be in relationship with them. There’s a direct impact on your relationship with Jesus and your relationship with your neighbor: They have to go together and they have to be connected. If one is separate from the other, you’re missing a big part of what it means to follow Jesus.


On Sale
Mar 8, 2022
Page Count
256 pages

Albert Tate

About the Author

Albert Tate is the founding and lead pastor of Fellowship Church in Los Angeles County California. He began his ministry pastoring just a few families at Sweet Home Church in Mississippi before serving the historic Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California. Hearing the call from God to plant a church, Albert and his wife, LaRosa, launched Fellowship Church in January 2012. In its short history, this gospel-centered, multiethnic, intergenerational church has already established a solid foothold in the region to the glory, honor, and transformational power of Christ. As a dynamic communicator, Albert is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ both locally and globally. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Azusa Pacific University, the Global Leadership Network, and Global Church Planting Organization, Stadia. Albert is the Founder and CEO of The Greatest Story, Inc, and President of Harambee Ministries. He recently published his first book entitled, "How We Love Matters: A Call to Practice Relentless Racial Reconciliation". Albert is the proud father of four children: Zoe, Bethany, Isaac, and Micah.

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