Charlotte Readers Podcast: Martha Kearse

“The Sun is Up” – White Minister Speaks on White Privilege

In today’s episode, we meet Martha Kearse, author of “The Sun is Up,” a book that acknowledges white privilege and explores hospitality theology against the backdrop of Charlotte’s racial history.

Greg Jarrell, author of “Riff of Love,” says that “in a church culture that loves its willful blindness, this memoir comes from a powerful white lady who has seen the light, and now has an important song to sing.”

Charlotte Readers Podcast is sponsored by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Learn More About This Episode
Learn More About This Episode

In today’s episode, we meet Martha Kearse, author of “The Sun is Up,” a book that acknowledges white privilege and explores hospitality theology against the backdrop of Charlotte’s racial history.

Greg Jarrell, author of “Riff of Love,” says that “in a church culture that loves its willful blindness, this memoir comes from a powerful white lady who has seen the light, and now has an important song to sing.”

We start with Martha reading about the work that needs to be done, where she identifies what she calls “the very ugly, very large elephant in the room.” Martha ticks off some of the problems early in the book, including:

  1. White people don’t like to have these uncomfortable conversations;
  2. White people are tuned into their own rights and feel they are being blamed for things over which they had no control–slavery and Jim Crow laws;
  3. White people believe their systems–educational, judicial, employment and housing–to be fair; and
  4. White people don’t like change.

Author Martha Kearse has always been a storyteller, whether as a Charlotte high school teacher, or later, as a minister to children and in the pulpit at St. John’s Baptist Church in Charlotte and now as pastor to Peakland Baptist Church in Lynchburg Virginia. Her book, The Sun is Up, is part memoir and part lesson plan for how white people need to think about racial conciliation, but she is just as hard on herself as she is on other white people who have for years thought the problems of race were behind them.

Martha completed her Doctor of Ministry degree at Gardner-Webb University, writing her doctoral paper on racial reconciliation and the theology of hospitality. Before being called to her current church in Virginia, she served on the Executive Board for Charlotte CROP Walk and was an active participant with Charlotte Habitat for Humanity, QC Family Tree (a ministry working with the Enderly Park neighborhood in Charlotte), Charlotte Family Housing and the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice. Martha also continues an active relationship with the community of South Sudanese people living in Charlotte, many of whom she regards as family.

In pursuit of sanity, Martha likes hiking in the mountains, reading books, watching movies, taking walks with friends, binge-watching Netflix, biking, dogs, jeans over dresses, flats over heels, blue over orange, Jesus over Paul, and chocolate over just about any other food.

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