Writer, pastor, and international speaker, Elyse Murphy, was raised in Sydney, Australia and grew up as a pastor’s kid. One may take that experience and simply allow it to be part of their upbringing, but Murphy utilized it to reach others. She wrote “Confessions of a Church Kid,” which focuses on the good, bad and ugly of growing up in ministry.
Murphy also graduated from Hillsong Leadership College and has been a pastor for over 10 years now. She seeks to inspire people with the message of grace found in Jesus and the lessons she’s learned this far in life. Currently, Murphy ministers at Oasis Church in Los Angeles. She also finds joy in creating content for her podcast and YouTube channel, where she has collaborated with Lightworkers, Propel Women and more.
Tricia Love: What are your thoughts on today’s times and the push for equality being so prevalent right now?
Elyse Murphy: 2020 is a year no one expected. People were saying at the beginning of 2020 that they wanted a clear vision. No one saw this coming, and yet if we really think about it, it is giving us clarity. The global pandemic of Coronavirus has forced us to sit still for a second. Would we have paid attention to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor before this all had happened? Before this all, it was really easy to numb things that were uncomfortable. Suddenly, we’re in a year where we can’t numb anything. We are faced with injustice and horrific trauma. This is what the Black community has faced for hundreds of years. The reality is that the fight for equality should not have to be fought; but we are fighting for it now. It’s uplifting to see people say, “I’m going to fight with you.” It’s encouraging to see White privilege find a place in our conversation. It’s nice to see people not skirt around the topic, but say, “We are going to commit to this conversation.” Hopefully, it continues after this too.
Tricia Love: You’re originally from Australia. So, what does racism look like in Australia? Does it look different from America?
Elyse Murphy: Racism is an issue everywhere. I think you can really see it as an issue in America, but in Australia, there is racism towards the Aboriginal people. I never grew up looking at the indigenous kids in my classroom and treating them differently because of the color of their skin. However, other people did. Change is starting to happen in Australia because the next generation is saying, “This isn’t okay.” The same can be said for America. I would say Australia wasn’t as intense as America — although, America is a melting pot for people, maybe that is why it is more prevalent. There are different races, religions, and sexual orientations. Even though I come from a diverse country, there was still a lot I needed to learn about racism. I don’t want to excuse myself from the conversations that are happening in America because I’m from Australia. I think that’s dangerous. We should lean in a little more to the conversation and talk about it. It’s important to take responsibility for the privilege we have been given.
Tricia Love: Is it the responsibility of the privileged to educate themselves and to continue conversations about it? Or are we missing something else?
Elyse Murphy: The danger of this season is taking our privilege and allowing ourselves to be numb because of trauma fatigue. We should never be numb to Black people being killed at the hands of the police and racist people. We don’t want it to be normal again. So, set a pace for yourself. Continue to read the books, watch documentaries, and learn. It can be overwhelming, so take a breath. However, you need to recognize that is a privilege we have. That being said, the pace of learning is different for everyone because there are different things that people need to deconstruct to become an anti-racist.
“We should never be numb to Black people being killed at the hands of the police and racist people. We don’t want it to be normal again. So, set a pace for yourself. Continue to read the books, watch documentaries, and learn. It can be overwhelming, so take a breath. However, you need to recognize that is a privilege we have.”
Tricia Love: Yeah, absolutely. So, let’s say we’re having conversations with our grandparents or aunts and uncles, and there is a little bit of racism. How would you go about it? Or what does that look like?
Elyse Murphy: That’s a great question. I had a conversation with a friend recently that said he would not want to rock the boat: I have a big problem with this. The issue is, you can’t make people have these conversations. However, you want to set a good example. Silence is not the answer. So, you set boundaries. You ask people to not talk about those racist things around you. You acknowledge that there is a problem. Be respectful when you call someone out, but do not be silent. I do not want to tolerate anything racist around me, because it is for our children. This is a generational act. We have to get racism out of our system. We have to break the generational cycles of sin. The only way to do this is by being the first one to say no to racism. This is a human issue. This is not your view on drugs; this is your view on another human being, and whether they’re allowed equal rights to be treated as a human. I’m asking everyone to stand up and say that everyone deserves to be honored and valued.
Tricia Love: Exactly. What are your thoughts on those who are very passionate about the movement and get mad when someone is ignorant on a certain topic?
Elyse Murphy: I don’t think that accusatory language is necessarily the solution to all of this. However, you are allowed to have anger in this situation. When people react with anger, it is often because there is trauma. For example, if someone has been sexually abused and you take her to the person who did it right after, they are not going to understand that it is wrong. So, not everyone is going to see that what they believe about race is wrong right away. To expand further, if we take a sexually abused person to the hospital to be treated, and she reacts poorly to a male doctor because she thinks he is going to hurt her even though he is trying to help her, we wouldn’t say, “What’s wrong with you?” We would be nice because she has been through a trauma. So, this is how those who are African American might react towards someone who is ignorant, because they are hurt. Ultimately, what I am saying is, “Can we see each other’s point of view?” We have to let the trauma heal and go somewhere. That’s okay. It’s also okay to not know. We have to give people room to speak and learn. It’s really a lot bigger than us.
Tricia Love: Wow. So, anything else you want to add on this topic or points about what’s happening today?
Elyse Murphy: Yes, I’m learning too. I might have said something that has offended someone. I don’t mean it right now. I am on a journey, too. If I have offended a Black person by what I have said, forgive me. I’m learning every single day. It’s all kinds of messy and I’m trying to learn how to speak out. I want to be on the right side of history.
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