Sibling singers Lynda Randle and Michael Tait of Newsboys fame dish on hot topics like family dynamics, race relations and the unifying power of music. Musical artist Jon Reddick expounds on the conversation. Don’t miss a single episode of Dinner Conversations — subscribe below! 


TRANSCRIPT FROM THE SHOW

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Mark: Well, today’s conversation is interesting. It’s about siblings, the love and the rivalry, being a preacher’s kid, that extra added pressure of.

Andrew: Weight.

Mark: You know, you’re not just a kid, you’re my kid, you represent me, the pastor.

Andrew: Right.

Mark: It’s Michael Tait and Lynda Randle.

Andrew: Tait.

Mark: Randle.

Andrew: Oh, that’s right ‘cause that’s her maiden name.

Mark: Yeah, ’cause they’re siblings.

Andrew: And some people still don’t even know they’re siblings.

Mark: Yeah.

Andrew: We were talking today with Shelley Breen where we filmed this, and she was like, “Lynda Randle is Michael Tait’s…?” Of course, I think they look the same with different hair.

Mark: They do, they do. And you’re gonna love this talk. There’s one seat left at the table and it’s yours, so let’s join the conversation.


Andrew: First question a lot of people have, well, they don’t even know you’re brother and sister. Like we were… Look at y’all and look at each other.

Michael: They don’t know.

Andrew: I know.

Mark: Who knew?

Andrew: We’re in, you know, David and Shelley Breen’s house, and Shelley was like, “Wait a second,” and she had to think twice.

Mark: Are you serious?

Andrew: Yeah, Shelley was like and I was like, now have you ever looked at ’em real close?

Lynda: That’s funny people are still discovering.

Michael: When I was a kid, I couldn’t, I didn’t understand how a boy and a girl could look alike and not be each other. I’m like, mom says, “Honey, you can look like your sister, but you’re still a boy.” I said, “Thanks, mom.” You know?

Mark: Now who is the oldest?

Lynda: Um, to tell the truth, no, I am, I am, four years.

Andrew: Yeah, like twins.

Lynda: Yeah, like twins.

Mark: I didn’t know that. Well, you know what, ‘cause we went to, okay, I came…

Lynda: But I was, you were ahead of me at Liberty.

Mark: Many years. How many years? I graduated in ’80.

Lynda: And I was ’85.

Mark: Okay, so you’re five.

Lynda: ’85, yeah.

Michael: I came in ’84.

Lynda: Yeah, so wow.

Andrew: Oh, ’cause you were at Liberty too, that’s right. So all of y’all were under that weight.

Lynda: Yes, yes. We were fundamentalist. No, I’m just kidding.

Mark: How did y’all end up there?

Lynda: Well, you know what, actually,

Michael: We were the first.

Lynda: Jerry Falwell came to our church in Kansas City. Sorry, Washington, D.C. Kansas City, Missouri, Washington, D.C. We had a bus ministry. At the time, we had the fastest growing bus ministry in the country. We had 500 kids on bus ministry in our Sunday schools. So they… You remember Lynn Sandy? Do you remember the guy at Liberty University? Well, he had Dr. Falwell come in, and he spoke at our church. I remember he came, he didn’t have security, anything, he just came to our little humble church, and then he said, “When you’re ready for school, I’ll give you a scholarship.”

Michael: Thank you, Jerry. We love you.

Lynda: And that was pretty much…

Mark: And you know, I came to your church too.

Lynda: Yeah, I know, I know, Mark.

Michael: True that.

Lynda: My parents love you.

Mark: Their daddy’s church. Listen to me. I was a student at Liberty,

Michael: Yes!

Mark: I walked in, and do y’all remember what they were hollering at me from the street?

Lynda: No, I don’t remember.

Mark: Somebody called me a cracker.

Lynda: No, they did not. Oh my, no!

Mark: Remember that?

Lynda: No, I don’t.

Michael: Cracker, ya cracker jack.

Lynda: Well.

Michael: No, it’s funny.

Mark: But the church was precious.

Lynda: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Was it a predominantly African American church?

Lynda: Well, yeah, all so much, but… Well, I shouldn’t say…

Andrew: You can.

Lynda: You can cut stuff out.

Andrew: Yeah, we won’t.

Lynda: But we were taught to love people no matter what, but there was one white family in our neighborhood. I remember Patrick. I don’t remember his last name. But I got upset with him one day, and I called him a white cracker.

Mark: Uh oh.

Michael: Lynda Randle.

Lynda: I did, and I got a whipping when they used to whip kids back then.

Andrew: Sure.

Michael: You know what James says about the tongue? James 1, right?

Lynda: What’s it say?

Michael: Unruly evil.

Lynda: Yeah, well. Anyway, anyway. I would say it’s unruly, but yeah, I just kind of got vexed in my spirit and I didn’t know what else to say, but I’d heard somebody say white cracker, but you don’t say that. But I didn’t know it then.

Mark: You know, I’d never been called that name. I love crackers. I love it with peanut butter.

Michael: Me too.

Mark: Okay, question. So have y’all always been very close?

Michael: Yeah.

Lynda: I think best friends forever. Like okay, so here’s a story I told Mike just recently.

Michael: We’ve drifted here and there.

Lynda: And he didn’t know, but when my mother went to give birth to him–

Michael: Oh goodness, not this story.

Lynda: I was standing on the front porch of our humble home there in D.C., and I saw my mom go out like this and she got in my dad’s, my dad drove a cab, got in the cab and went off to the hospital. And a few days later, she comes back with this little bundle. I was four, don’t forget.

Andrew: Right.

Lynda: And it was this kid, and I remember just being in awe of that moment, like you know, I don’t remember any other deliveries in my–

Michael: Just a beautiful brown boy. What a beautiful child.

Lynda: That’s not what I thought. He’s got a big head. So anyways, no, that’s…

Michael: Born this day.

Andrew: Yeah, born this day.

Lynda: That’s not what I thought, but no, so from day one I think, you know, I always felt like I was a big sister and stuff, so yeah, you have sibling stuff that goes on because we’re human.

Andrew: Well, is there anybody between y’all? Or are y’all?

Michael: Yeah, oh yeah.

Lynda: Yeah, there was seven of us.

Andrew: Okay, there’s seven total.

Lynda: So I’m in the middle of seven kids, so there were… Six of us are stair-stepping in age.

Michael: They saved the best for last.

Lynda: And then he’s the baby.

Mark: Are you close to any of the others?

Lynda: Yeah, we’re close.

Michael: I’d say regular.

Mark: But y’all got something special.

Michael: I love all my sisters, I love all my sisters and my brothers. I’m saying, but we…

Mark: So you are in touch with your other siblings?

Michael: Absolutely, yeah. I think because we sing, because we sing, you know, we just kind of have the same kind of lifestyle, so to speak.

Lynda: Yeah. And five out of seven of us sang. Two are with the Lord now, but five out of seven, so we’re the ones that were blessed to do it full time.

Mark: Wait, before we go any further, give me a little bit of your mother.

Lynda: Oh my word.

Mark: She can imitate her mother. This is her mother.

Lynda: If my mother were here she would say, she’d say, “Mark,” she always have to do our, “Mark, Andrew, I love you. I’m praying for you.”

Michael: That’s spot on.

Lynda: “And now I’m meeting in heaven the Mary of the ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ that you wrote. I know her now.” That’s what my mom, that’s my mom. Seriously.

Mark: Is that great?

Lynda: If you were to meet my mom, that was her voice. That was her voice.

Mark: I met her, I met her, I knew her.

Andrew: Is she here?

Lynda: No, she’s with the Lord.

Mark: She’s in heaven.

Michael: Her spirit is here.

Lynda: And she was, mom was so funny ’cause of course she’s proud of all of us and everything, but she somehow got wind that the Chick-fil-A stores, you know, they are familiar with of course Newsboys, familiar with Gaither, and they kind of give you free stuff sometimes because of that.

Mark: What?

Michael: My momma loved–

Mark: So wait, so wait, so–

Michael: My momma loved free stuff.

Mark: Wait, wait, wait.

Lynda: So wait, wait, Mark. This is the, this is the best one, okay.

Mark: I was with Gaither sometimes.

Lynda: I know.

Mark: I never got a free sandwich.

Lynda: So I don’t go into Chick-fil-A and say, “Hey, I’m gonna get” ‘cause, you know, some of the people, they kind of know.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Lynda: Okay, so my mom lived with us in Kansas City a couple years before she passed, so we’re in the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A.

Michael: Oh boy.

Lynda: And we’re ordering and it’s only about 11 bucks. That’s it, and so we get up to the window, and the lady says it’ll be $11. Before the lady got it out really good, my mother said, “My daughter sings with the Gaithers and my son is with Michael with Newsboys,” and I got so… I said, “Mom, we’ve got eleven dollars.”

Michael: Looking for a deal.

Lynda: “We can pay.” Yeah, she was looking for the free food.

Andrew: She was!

Mark: And the lady should’ve said, “Well, then you can afford it.”

Lynda: That’s what I told her. I said, “We can afford this.”

Michael: My mom was a hustler.

Lynda: Yeah, I know she was.

Michael: That lady, sweetie pie, but if she wanted something, she got it.

Lynda: Yeah, she’s sweet, and she loved you too, Mark.

Mark: I loved her.

Lynda: My mother, I’m not just saying that. She adored Mark. Yeah, you can have that.

Mark: I love this. Now, that’s a first.

Lynda: I didn’t want to get green stuff in teeth.

Andrew: Yeah, that is a first.

Mark: I love that someone’s actually loving our food. First time anybody’s ever loved this food. No, I’m kidding.

Andrew: We have to encourage you to eat.

Mark: What is the point of this?

Andrew: The conversation.

Lynda: That’s good food.

Mark: No, but I mean the siblings. What’s your point?

Andrew: Think about, well, sibling dynamics. I’m interested about sibling rivalry. ‘Cause I think it’s like, and I was even talking to my dad just last night about, I have two older brothers, okay. We’re separated by about 10 years total.

Lynda: Okay, wow.

Andrew: So we’re split up a little bit, and you know, I was talking to my dad, we’re all close to our parents and my brothers, at times, are going through things at times and I’m going through things, and we talk to our parents about that some. But I don’t remember any like specific rivalry necessarily, but we didn’t pick similar professions. We weren’t interested in the same things.

Lynda: Okay.

Andrew: So was that ever a thing with you guys? Was there ever any kind of tension of like, you know?

Michael: Well, I’ll tell you a true story. When Lynda and I, when Lynda was at Liberty,

Lynda: A true story. Liberty, there’s a Liberty.

Michael: At Liberty, at Liberty, uh, uh.

Lynda: Remember when TobyMac called the house to talk to you one time and he never heard dad’s voice on the phone, and he said, “Yeah, Mr. Tait, is Mike Tait?” Toby was like, “Who is…?” I said that’s my dad talking. He couldn’t understand, and he said, “What did your dad say?”

Michael: Was there a the in there Michael Tait?

Lynda: But my dad–

Michael: Lynda goes off to Liberty and I’m still in high school, and I’m like singing and making cassette tapes and the Good Life soundtrack. Remember those Good Life soundtracks?

Lynda: Yes, Good Life, wow, Publications.

Michael: And the studio series?

Lynda: Yeah.

Michael: They were the best, by the way. So Lynda goes to Liberty, and I was, for some reason, I was just jealous. I was like, how come she gets to do this music, gets to make her CD, her own little tape. What about me?

Mark: Is that what you thought?

Michael: Mark, but then I was like… And she was so sweet.

Andrew: And how old were you?

Lynda: Teenager, 18, 17?

Mark: So you had literally told her, “What about me?” Or you just thought that?

Michael: No, I thought that, yeah.

Lynda: But you didn’t tell me. You didn’t tell me till years later.

Michael: But you never knew it till like Christmas.

Lynda: A few years ago. But what’s crazy is I was so proud of him, like see, so every chance I got to sing, I took him out with me to sing. There was nothing in my, not even a halfway jealous bone, body, nothing.

Mark: Well, you’re older too.

Lynda: But I just, it never even crossed my mind that he would be because it wasn’t like I was coming home going, “I sold 100 cassettes tonight.” It was nothing like that.

Michael: And what’s crazy–

Lynda: But my, but my dad would say, we would mess with dad too, ’cause at the end of the day, for my dad, the bottom line was–

Michael: Chub, Chub, what’d you do?

Lynda: It was, my nickname was Chub, he said, after a concert, he said, “Chub, how’d you make out?”

Michael: “Chub, how much more you get, Chub?”

Lynda: So I knew, I knew he wasn’t asking about salvation or the mission. I knew. But see, what we would do.

Michael: No, but we knew our dad was…

Lynda: But we would make it up. So he’d say–

Michael: He was a soul winner.

Lynda: “Chub, how’d you make out?” and I said, “Daddy, tonight five people came to know the Lord.” And then that got him riled up a little bit, and then he would ask, he said, and I finally got him to say it, he said, “Chub, how’d your tape sales go?” I said, “Daddy, we sold a lot of tapes.” And sometimes Mike would hear those conversations.

Michael: But he was sad about that because dad would think, “Okay, bigger offering time now. Lynda’s got more money. Give to the ministry, make bait.”

Lynda: Yeah, because he was a missionary in the inner city and he lived on the support of people and his cab, and so we got to bless he and my momma in so many ways. My mom worked a government job, but it was funny ’cause it was, “Chub, how you make out, baby?” And then, Mark, he would always have no matter where we went, he would say, he would go with these pastors meetings and he said, “Chub, always have a tape on you, always, ’cause you never know.” So he was always kind of our like impromptu manager kind of thing, like you know, whatever. Basically, it was like, how much did you sell, how much you were gonna get.

Michael: And it was every time we got the chance to sing, sing.

Lynda: And one time I told him seriously, I told my soul back then I said, it was like $1,500. He said, “Chub, you hit the jackpot!” I mean, he was like, you know how happy dad was when it came to money and stuff, but yeah.

Mark: Well, your genres of music were so different.

Lynda: But not when we started that way.

Michael: I started in Liberty, you know. Singing with Falwell on the Old Time Gospel Hour, so a bit more on the conservative side till I met this guy named TobyMac. And then we started mixing things up a bit, and then the roads kind of split.

Lynda: ‘Cause you were doing some Leon Patillo.

Andrew: Wow.

Lynda: You were doing Larnelle Harris, and who else? I mean, yeah, he was, yeah.

Michael: Wayne Watson, do you know who Wayne Watson is? Russ Taff. Probably my favorite.

Mark: What is?

Michael: Russ Taff.

The hands of time go round and round

They don’t slow down when you lose your way

At every turn, the things you learn

I love you, Russ.

Lynda: Love you, Russ.

Andrew: Do you ever like, overhearing those conversations, was it like wanting some attention from your dad, maybe? That was a little bit of jealousy or?

Michael: No, no, because you know what, little did I know that inside I didn’t have the gumption to actually do it, but she was doing what I wanted to do, so I was like, hold up, slow down a bit.

Lynda: And I never knew he was.

Michael: Let me catch up.

Lynda: I never knew he wanted to do it, and he’s doing it in a big way too. I mean, like, you know, it’s–

Michael: Bottom line is you were young, you know? You had emotions everywhere.

Lynda: But when he told me how jealous he was, it shocked me because I’m thinking all this time, we were so–

Michael: I didn’t tell you the whole story though. I had thoughts of going… Yeah, I thought about it.

Mark: What?

Michael: Just.

Lynda: But you know what?

Michael: I never did.

Lynda: Anyway.

Michael: Come here.

Lynda: I love you.

Mark: Aww.

Michael: I’d never do that.

Lynda: But yeah, and I’m so proud. It’s funny people ask me now, aren’t you proud of your brother? And I say, well, I was always proud of my brother. I don’t like when they equate me being proud because of–

Mark: His success.

Lynda: His success or something. I go, I was always proud. Yeah, I’m proud. That’s great, but that’s not what our relationship is based on.

Michael: Thank the Lord.

Lynda: And when we get to sing together, like we’re gonna do some Christmas stuff, which is fun.

Mark: That’s gonna be good.

Lynda: And it’s pretty exciting. But so I’m not wanting to hang out, you know, ’cause he’s doing Newsboys and all that kind of stuff now. I’m on the Gaither side too, and we’ve got a blessed following as well. It’s just because we’re siblings, we’re close, and we just make beautiful music.

Michael: And she gets free tickets to all my shows.

Lynda: You know what.

Michael: I give her backstage pass to come and see me.

Lynda: Oh yeah, tell us about that.


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Lynda Randle and Michael Tait singing “At The Cross”

Alas and did my Savior bleed

And did my Sovereign die

Would He devote

That sacred head

For sinners such as I

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light

And the burdens of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light

And the burden of my heart, they rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day

And now we are happy all the day

And now I am happy

All the day

Michael: Come on now, Jesus.

Lynda: Yeah!

Lynda: We grew up in this space. We grew up in that duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. Yeah, we grew up right there, you know what. We used to shout and dance, okay. That’s good.

Michael: That’s fun.

Andrew: All right.


Mark: What would you tell parents? How can you foster that your kids will like each other?

Michael: I think you, I think you… Well, I don’t have kids, but I will tell you something. Watching my nieces and nephews grow up–

Lynda: I’m trying to get him a wife.

Michael: And raise some of them with Lynda, kids obviously watch their parents, whether they do good or bad or whatever. Using Lynda and Mike as an example, Lynda and Mike Randle, their two daughters, Joy and Patience.

Lynda: Hey Pay, Joy.

Michael: They are besties.

Lynda: Oh, they are so close.

Michael: Because they watched mom and dad love each other, and I think that that love example goes around. It’s reciprocal, and the kids watch that.

Andrew: You think the parent example of the parents loving one another.

Lynda: Yeah, and plus, you are not supposed to, and we just never did this with our kids, like pit them against each other and say, why can’t you be like your sister? Why can’t you be like your brother?

Michael: Right.

Lynda: ‘Cause there was an article that came out in Kansas City about Patience and it was just great, in the newspaper or whatever, and we were sharing it with somebody and Joy was in the room, and they said, and they said, “Well now, what are you gonna do?” And I said, “No, no, no, no, no. We don’t do that with our kids.”

Michael: Yeah, right, back it up.

Lynda: Joy is brilliant. God’s gifted her in ways he hasn’t gifted Pay. They’re best friends, and this is what we don’t do.

Andrew: Yeah, we can all just celebrate each kid to be celebrated by their peers, by their parents–

Lynda: Absolutely.

Andrew: Without them feeling like, oh, I didn’t do something, just ’cause I’m not being celebrated in this moment.

Lynda: Absolutely, and they are best buds.

Michael: And I think if mom and dad celebrate the kid, if Lynda just celebrated Patience or Joy, or the other. That feels like a major lack, like what’s going on? Am I, you know, minced meat? What am I?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. And you see that in sibling groups ’cause I’ve seen sibling groups of friends where it’s like they do kind of obviously favor one, and the favoritism doesn’t come out verbally but you look at the attention, even the way they provide for one child over the other. Maybe that one is aspiring to something that one parent understands. So I would think as a parent, you have to pay attention to your kids.

Lynda: Yeah, absolutely. And I heard Chuck Swindoll say years ago one that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, not the way you think they should go but the child’s bent.” So you kind of know after, three, four. Patience, I knew Patience. Like we always would watch these little VeggieTale videos and things like that, and I said, “This girl really likes film.” She ended up getting her degree in filmmaking and everything, so it’s great and you just kind of, you kind of foster that and encourage that, you know, you just find their bent and not train them up in the way you think they should go.

Michael: Preach it. Preach, Chub.

Lynda: And that’s kind of what, that’s kind of what we’ve tried.

Mark: How did you get the name Chub?

Lynda: Well, because my bell bottoms did not flare on me because I was so chunky.

Andrew: Skinny jeans in the first generation.

Michael: When Lynda was young, she had these, she had these cherubim cheeks, cherubim cheeks.

Lynda: Yeah, I was.

Michael: She was a little–

Lynda: I was a little chunker and I’m still, I’ll never be skinny, I’m not trying, but I, so my nickname’s Chub and I love it.

Michael: In the black world, we call you what you are. If you’re skinny, we call you slim. If you’re fat, we call you–

Lynda: If you’re fat? Do you actually use that word? Mike, you have to be politically on point.

Mark: Be sure we’re PC. I can’t hardly talk anymore.

Lynda: I know, I know. I got you.

Michael: Like Fats Domino. Or if you’re small, what’s up shorty?

Lynda: Was Chubby Checker chubby?

Andrew: But is that used as offensive, do you feel like?

Michael: And I don’t, I don’t know.

Andrew: ‘Cause it’s kind of nickname-y.

Michael: Yeah, but its like you don’t think about it that much because it’s okay.

Lynda: I love it. My dad says, “Baby, if you don’t mean it, don’t sing it.” I’ll never forget that.

Mark: Oh, I love that. It’s the truth.

Lynda: Yeah, he would tell me that, seriously.

Mark: If you don’t mean it, don’t sing it.

Lynda: You know how we used to play church? We used to play church.

Michael: My dad hated that, yeah.

Lynda: And we grew up in a Pentecostal church when we first started, you know, and they would be preaching and my dad would be sweating and hand behind the ear and they would be squealing and people.

Michael: And the Bible says, God, our Father’s glory, come to me, all you that are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke up.

Mark: Is that the way he preached?

Lynda: Well, yeah, that’s the way we started. That way it was called hooping.

Mark: It’s called what?

Lynda: It’s called hooping.

Andrew: So it’s actually called something.

Michael: Mark is like.

Lynda: Okay, so here’s the thing.

Andrew: I’ve never heard that.

Lynda: So for all of the friends of color that are watching, to be respectful of our culture, that is the way we were taught, as we were, you know, growing up, all the way back through slavery as the way we expressed ourselves, and it was, it’s kind of a–

Michael: The church voice.

Mark: A singsong.

Lynda: It’s kind of a, it’s a singsong.

Michael: Yep, that’s what it is.

Lynda: It’s rhythm, it’s chant, it’s call and response, and so I say that’s why the black church go on so long because we’re talking to the preacher.

Mark: Oh, I love it.

Lynda: You know, but it was a hoop, it was a hoop.

Michael: Hoop and holler.

Lynda: And my parents, my dad started out hooping, and then, of course, somewhere along the way, you know, he realized that, not saying that people that are hooping are not teaching because sometimes they are, but my dad realized it was just a lot of hooping.

Michael: He could teach without the hoop.

Lynda: He could teach without the hoop, so it just became a lot of noises.

Andrew: It became more authentic to him to just be himself.

Lynda: So he started learning, you know, more Bible teaching.

Mark: I love that. Don’t sing it if you don’t mean it. Boy, that’s a great quote.

Andrew: Let’s talk about your dad, Nate Tait, right?

Michael: Reverend Nate Tait, like a cartoon name.

Andrew: So growing up preachers kids, which there are a lot of people who grow up PK. I don’t know if that was a term.

Michael: I know. We’re the worst ones ever.

Andrew: Yeah, I know. I mean, it’s right here in front of us, but when I think about preachers kids, I think about, okay, there is an added element of expectation or weight–

Michael: You think?

Andrew: Whether your dad put on it you, whether the church put it on you, whether whoever, you may put it on yourself, right? So did you feel that way, number one, and then number two, like how did that shape your faith, positively or negatively? Because you’re still people of faith, so it didn’t turn you away.

Michael: Well, quick funny story, next door neighbor. We had a next door neighbor.

Lynda: Miss Janie Payne.

Michael: Her name was Janie Payne, and when mom and dad were gone from the house, she took it upon herself to be the neighborhood police over the Tait family. Thank you, honey.

Lynda: Eat your vegetables.

Michael: Some more meat.

Lynda: I made a mess.

Michael: So Janie Payne would watch us play or do what else we’re doing, and every little tit and tottle she would copy in her brain.

Lynda: Yeah, she would tell him, “Mr. Tait, your kids…”

Michael: Your daughter, you know what Michael did when you were gone? Right when you drove off in that cab, you know what Michael did? Mark, I was like, I’m gonna choke her. But that kind of pressure ’cause, you know, preacher’s kids, other kids can run and do all of this kind of stuff.

Mark: So she was watching y’all particularly?

Lynda: All the time. And we had the brownstone home.

Michael: We were 12-years-old. Of course, you’re gonna be ornery at 12.

Lynda: Yeah, she could hang out of her window, like her bedroom window, and it’s next to our bedroom.

Michael: Yeah, like brownstones.

Lynda: Brownstones. It was, it was crazy. It was insane. And she would always tell on us, but you do feel, yeah, it was pressure ’cause our church was right next door to our home.

Mark: Oh, wow.

Michael: Yeah, it was tough.

Lynda: So we were there all the time. We had, okay, let’s start with like Friday night service. We had Saturday choir rehearsal. We had three services on Sunday, three.

Andrew: Oh my gosh.

Lynda: We’d do the Sunday morning, of course, the Sunday school, and then we’d go down for like a lunch or something. We’d have a musical. We’d have these quartets come. Then we had Wednesday night. Well, actually Wednesday afternoon. It was prayer time, Wednesday afternoon, and then Wednesday night Bible study. So we were in church all the time, and to the point where there was a lot of things, there were a lot of things that have affected me, but I’m not saying it’s negative, but I thought if I missed church, like it’s done, it’s over. God’s gonna be mad. ‘Cause we had to go to church all the time, and I just realized that God is not just sitting up, you know, hanging up there and like when are you going?

Michael: Give you gold star every time you go to church.

Lynda: And strike up those stars and it’s just not about physically going–

Michael: It’s a good thing to do.

Lynda: Which is great

Michael: Right.

Lynda: But that kind of messed with my psyche a little bit, and my husband, you know, as we were traveling sometimes I didn’t go to church, and he said, “Baby, you gotta, you gotta get off of this.” If I’m not in church, which we do go to church a lot because he’s a pastor.

Andrew: Sure.

Lynda: But that’s something for me that if you missed at all, then I felt like it was a brownie point, not a brownie. You know, it’s a mark against me.

Michael: But let me say the impact I felt though. You mentioned the impact. The impact I felt from my dad’s lifestyle and mom’s lifestyle I felt years after ’cause I think when you’re Bible thunked, you’re in school, you go to a Christian probably high school, junior high school, you go to a Christian college, you join a band called DC Talk, you’re always in church situations or Christian situations. It’s like you don’t, you kind of just take for granted, like I’m serving you, God, because I’m working for you, so I’ll talk to you later.

Mark: What now?

Michael: I’m serving you God ’cause I’m working for you.

Andrew: I’m working for you.

Michael: So Oswald Chambers talks about, he says, it’s an insult to, I’m paraphrasing, to work for God and not know Him. God wants you to sit still and just be. We’re called human beings, not human doing. He wants us to be, and I realized as I got older, like my dad had a lot of good words to say and they come back to you. You think you forget about them, but then you go– Oh wait, they’re in your brain. They lie dormant inside your brain and then life comes along and all of a sudden you go, well, dad said this. Oh, I get it now. Oh, walk a mile in his shoes, now talk.

“God wants you to sit still and just be. We’re called human beings, not human doing.” – Michael Tait

Andrew: So it came full circle to understanding that.

Michael: Sometimes it hits me like a freight train.

Lynda: And we had family devotions around the table every single night. If my dad wasn’t there, he was in this cab, my mom would do it, so we’d just sit around the table and we would read the Psalms and the Proverbs and we had to learn… Well, I say we had to learn Bible verses. We did have to, and I’m not mad about it.

Mark: You know, it sounds magical, a little bit to me too. It may have been–

Lynda: No, but in our community, just the fact that our family was together, like the mom and dad–

Mark: Yeah, what an example.

Lynda: Was there, that was pretty amazing.

Mark: But I mean, I know it sounds kind of horrible on one side to think you’re right next to your church, which means your people were there all the time. There’s no privacy.

Lynda: Yeah, and we would catch them look in my mother’s pots. What you got cooking mom, Mama Tait? You know, yeah.

Mark: But yet on the other hand, what a cool childhood, kind of. ‘Cause our house was like that, a lot of activities, and when you’re a kid, it’s kind of magical when you look back on it.

Lynda: And I remember some of the saints of old. In our church, we had the mothers of the church, like some of the older–

Michael: Missionaries in the front row.

Lynda: The missionaries and they would wear their white and stuff–

Michael: We had water jugs.

Mark: What was their job?

Lynda: Well, their job was that they were praying and they were covering us as a body, and one night, a guy came in and he was robbing our church. He came in with a gun, and I’ll never forget this, Missionary Carter. You remember Missionary Carter?

Michael: Yes, Lynda.

Lynda: She had this old black patent leather purse. I’ll never forget it, probably not a dime in it, if a dime was in it, right? And the guy had the gun to her, and I remember before I crawled under the pews to crawl down the back stairs of the church to go to our house to call the police. One of the other ladies, Sister Johnson, she’s still alive. I love you, sweetheart. But she stood up and said, “Don’t shoot the pastor.” That’s the first thing she said, hands outstretched. “Don’t shoot the pastor.” So the guy with the gun was tussling with Missionary Carter. Now you talk about hindsight looking back. Who would do that now? But her faith, you can call it foolishness or faith ’cause she’s one of those old praying mamas, like you can shoot me, you can kill me, you’re not getting this person, we’re in the house of God.

Michael: Don’t shoot the pastor.

Lynda: You don’t do this. This was years, this is like over 40-plus years ago, and they don’t make saints too much like that anymore.

Mark: So what happened?

Lynda: Yeah, well, the police came. I thank God there was no shootout.

Mark: I thought there was a purse story behind all this.

Andrew: She kept her purse and said, “Not today.”

Michael: Not today, Satan.

Lynda: ‘Cause I remember some of those, like some of our old saints with the little black, but she didn’t do anything with her purse.

Mark: So did everybody, it turn out all right?

Lynda: Turned out great. The police got it. But no, she was just like, “You’re not getting in there.”

Michael: Did he get the offering plate?

Lynda: I don’t even know.

Andrew: This book right here, Lynda, The Cab Driver’s Daughter, which I love, so this is you?

Lynda: Yes.

Andrew: Right, and this is Nate Tait? Reverend Nate Tait.

Michael: Bishop. I’m kidding.

Andrew: Your dad had some significant experiences living in D.C. I don’t know if that was from being pastor and cab driver or just cab driver or whatever with some interesting racism poignant and pointed racism, racial oppression.

Lynda: He is from Alabama, born and raised in Alabama.

Michael: He never taught us how to hate.

Lynda: And yeah, but you know when we do these, I try not to like we’re not the only two that have been touched with these stories.

Andrew: But you are some.

Mark: But it’s your story.

Lynda: But it’s my story, right, but I do try to tell it in the light of other people watching. It’s not like we’re, you know, something special in that regard, but we’ve had, my dad, they’ve had their struggles with racism and my mom in different stories. And even when we attended Liberty University, I had my struggles. I mean, somebody didn’t rent me an apartment because I was black, and on the phone, the lady says to me, when I was asking about the apartment, she said, “May I ask what your nationality is?” And I said, “Excuse me.”

Andrew: Over the phone.

Lynda: She’s over the phone, and I said, “Well, I’m black and I’m Negroid.” And she said “I can’t rent you this apartment.”

Michael: You said Negroid?

Lynda: Yeah, that’s Negroid. That’s the proper name.

Mark: What year was that?

Lynda: This was the ‘80s. And then one of the, I sang with a white girl at Liberty and a white guy, and we would tour around a little bit.

Michael: Oh, let me tell the story.

Lynda: And we went to one church.

Michael: And the guy said, “No tracks, no slacks, no blacks.”

Lynda: Oh no, not the same story.

Mark: They are like a married couple.

Michael: There was a Falwell story because–

Lynda: He is trying to tell my story.

Michael: My sister story.

Lynda: No, I heard it, right. That Jerry Falwell had gone out with some of the light singers and one of the groups had one of their first black people on the praise team or whatever, and they got to a church.

Michael: They saw an old chocolate guy.

Lynda: They went to Dr. Falwell ’cause they weren’t into soundtracks, and remember soundtracks were of the devil back then too. So they looked at Jerry Falwell, and they said, “No tracks, no slacks, and no blacks.”

Michael: You remember what Jerry did?

Lynda: And I forget what he said. He had another rhyme, and he come back with a rhyme and then he went off. But the story–

Mark: Now back to your story.

Lynda: So we were singing, and then something didn’t work out with our hotel situation. So my friend David, I won’t say his last name, David, he drives up to his grandma’s home in Winston Salem, North Carolina. And we pull in the driveway and we needed a place to stay and she looked down that driveway and saw me in the car, and she said, “Get that N out of my yard.” I sat in that car and tears streamed down my face, and we ended up, ’cause we were breaking the rules at Liberty. We couldn’t stay in the same hotel room because we were, you know, male and female. We ended up going to a hotel. We had the same room. We took a lamp, put it in between the bed. I’m not kidding. We gotta sleep in the same bed, seriously, because we had nowhere to stay and we couldn’t drive back. But it doesn’t make you… It’s allowed me to build more bridges ’cause ignorant people will say a lot of stuff.

Andrew: How did your peers react in that scenario?

Lynda: They were disappointed. He didn’t even know his grandmother was that way.

Michael: It’s like I got it in Tennessee about 10 years ago. A guy says he’s gonna hang me. Yeah, a little country store.

Mark: They’ll hang you?

Michael: “Boy, it’s getting dark outside. We’ll hang you out here.”

Andrew: Whoa.

Michael: I got in my car–

Andrew: 10 years ago?

Michael: Told my wife, got back in my car, and started to cry too because I’m thinking imagine what our forefathers went through. I mean, just here we are successful people, bless, safe, heaven-bound, and that one word in my life that one little negative little.

Andrew: Why do you think that is like why is it so powerful? Like you said, here I am. I don’t have anything to prove. I don’t have any need from this individual who’s been disrespectful to me. But why does that still hurt?

Michael: People crave love. We all want to be loved. We want to match each other, you know. You want to enjoy people. It’s about relationships, you know. And when this is in line, this is in line. When the vertical works, the horizontal works. But something my dad always said, “Son, colors don’t hate. People do.” He says, we are God’s bouquet. The beauty of the human race is found in the diversity, and we can celebrate each other. But we can’t do it. Even if we were all green, it would be like, well, you’re dark green. Well, I’m light green. We’ll fuss and argue about it. Christianity, Protestants, and Catholics, you know.

“People crave love. We all want to be loved.” – Michael Tait

Lynda: And one of the big myths that people, I mean, they go around and say that God is colorblind, and I said, no, he isn’t colorblind.

Mark: He couldn’t have invented the rainbows.

Lynda: Right, so why, and some people, you know, I’ve had people who say, “I don’t see you as black.” I go, well, I am. I mean, is that a problem? ‘Cause I am. Yeah, we’re brown, right. But people, I think that’s a way to end that people don’t know how to deal in certain ways, and so they just feel like they could just dismiss, you know.

Andrew: And dismiss by categories.


Dinner Conversations Sponsorship Message

Mark: I have sponsored children for as long as I can remember, and I love doing it. I’ve never had a child, and it’s the best way for a single person to have a child, you know. Sponsor them. You’re not really responsible, but you help, you know, and I like that. I’ve got five right now I’m sponsoring with ChildFund, and I couldn’t be happier. I love these kids and I’m glad I can help, but I’m glad they’re not really mine. So go to childfund.org/dinnerconversations and sponsor your child you don’t have to really invest that much into. Can you imagine if you only had to spend $36 a month on the ones you’ve birthed? This is a deal. To learn more about Dinner Conversations, visit dinner-conversations.com.

Andrew: And while you’re there, check out some of our friendly merch. We’ve got show mugs and Season One and Two DVDs, and we got these little note cards so Mark can write me a note that says you’re the best cohost.

Mark: Oh yes, well, you know, you get that after every episode. And what about this mug with our faces on it?

Andrew: What says good morning better?

Mark: It’s like we’re on both sides, so lefty or righty, you get to see us every morning.

Andrew: You know, I think it’s time we get back to those guests.

Mark: Yeah, probably.


Jon Reddick, Church of the City

Andrew: All right, so Mr. Jon Reddick, we first met in Aspen, Colorado. We got to sit down and have a conversation. I remember thinking we had not really ever talked before before we talked on camera, and I remember thinking and being impressed as I walked away by how articulate you are, not just about spiritual conversations but the way our spirituality interacts in very real day-to-day matters and conversations. And so as we were having, as Mark and I, for the show, we’re having this kind of larger conversation with Michael Tait, Lynda Randle, who you know. I was texting with Lynda after that and you came up over and over and we had just met, and so I’m grateful to have another opportunity to hear from your mind and your heart on these matters. But for our audience who’s being introduced to you, some of them, take me back again to growing up because you basically grew up in the church.

Jon: Yeah, in the church.

Andrew: Son of a preacher man, right?

Jon: Yeah, my father and he’s still ministering and everything like that. So my father would always preach, and my mom would always play.

Andrew: Would she play as a response to his preaching?

Jon: Well, lemme see. Well, it wasn’t set up like that. Maybe. I can’t remember actually. But I just remember my dad was preaching, my mom was playing the piano, and my sister and I would be in the choir. So yes, so all through childhood, that was life.

Andrew: And you grew up in Memphis. I was in Memphis just a couple months ago, yeah, for the first time went to the Lorraine Motel, which of course is the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and really a lot of people would consider that the apex and the climax of the energy of the civil rights movement, at least in America, and the racial tension and strife, which of course has been a part of our culture here in America for hundreds of years, not just the last several decades. As I was listening and reading a lot of the recallings of the conflict that led up to his death, even in his own his last speech, right. “But that mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Why do you think there is so much spiritual energy? Why do you think the conversation around racial, again, both division, both the negative and the positive reconciliation, is such a spiritual conversation, and even more specifically, like a Christian conversation?

Jon: I think part of it is that if the problems of racism or the difficulties that we face would be healed, I think that the church is at the foundation of a lot of that. And so I think it’s automatically something that God has his hand on in order to heal us, and it’s used different ways.

Andrew: I mean, you are embedded into music, music is embedded into you, you know, throughout your history. Not only are you now a Gotee Record singer, songwriter, artist, but you’ve been a musical director for other artists on the road for years and been a part of the church like talking about since you were a child, and we’re sitting here at Church of the City, which is based out of Nashville, you know, where you lead many weekends when you are home. What is it about music for you that extends the grace to actually be with others, think about others, change and shift your perspectives about things or people you don’t understand?

Jon: Well, when I first started, I would pray this prayer and it would always be, God, help me to hear the cries of your people. Like I just want to be able to hear in some kind of way to help me to hear the cries, or now it’s the stories, of your people because I think that’s where you’re broken and you get broken into a way where you’re really trying to understand.

“God, help me to hear the cries of your people.” – Jon Reddick

Andrew: Well, and our pain is also our common denominator as people. It’s kind of like the level floor that we all find ourselves eventually and then exist out of in our surrender to God in our positioning.

Jon: It’s a journey. I think one of the key things is for us to just keep getting people in the room, not to just get them in the room just for their presence but to also hear the story, so I think the more we keep being consistent about getting people in the room, getting to hear their stories, then we start getting more understanding of how we can even get together and make this thing mesh or build off of it versus fear. I think that’s what is at the basis of all what we’re talking about. Fear, fears that connect us to the things that we don’t know, but fears about what we don’t know.

Andrew: Or don’t understand.

Jon: Or don’t understand.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s a control thing ultimately, fear is, right. How do we place that, what do we do with that fear so that we can… I don’t think that we’re supposed to wait until heaven, the other side of life, to like get it all together in the sense of loving one another. So what can, from your perspective, your experiences, all that we’ve talked about, what do you think we can do?

Jon: Number one is hearing stories for me. It’s the sympathy that’s learned or gained in hearing the story. When you hear things that other people have gone through or when you hear things that people are afraid of or when you hear, there’s so many aspects of this topic that we’re talking about. Where so many people find themselves in so many different places and it’s emotional pain, like you say, for them. The other thing is to educate ourselves on what has happened in the past or what may be happening currently and allowing ourselves to know that, for whatever reason, that is that person’s truth, you know, and I think, also is, when all else fails, this is a journey that we’re traveling on, you know, and it’s a hard journey. It’s a difficult one. I mean, there’s beauty in it. At the surface level, people are jumping in diversity and are like, man, this is great, I love this, and then there’s that one comment there like (gasps) wait, you just test on all this stuff. And the funny thing about it is it’ll tap on things that we didn’t even know that we were harboring inside.

Andrew: Oh 100%, I have experienced that.

Jon: It’s crazy, and so it’s the desire to get in it with each other. It’s being vulnerable in those times and reminding ourselves that this is a journey that all of us are on and probably in different places, but I do believe that we’ll look back and realize we’re not where we wanna be but we’re not where we used to be.

Andrew: It’s interesting, I think, the biases that we have against others, usually, I’ve experienced in my own life comes out of my own insecurity about myself, and my own insecurities come out of my inability to believe that I am who God is saying I am, which brings us back to the spiritual experience, why it’s so important to come together, to worship together, to press in together, because I think it’s a way of surrendering my perspective of myself back to how God sees me. And if I believe I am who God says I am, then I think I’m more readily open even though we’re different and I don’t understand everything about you and you don’t understand everything about me. I’m more open to God sees you the same way, and then you become a beautiful person to me, not someone who’s just strikingly different. Although, the difference is the beauty too. Like you said, we gotta jump into it.

Jon: No, you’re right. I think there’s also value in… One of the things we find when we’re educating ourselves is that we find out about what shared power does, right. We find out about what it means to celebrate differences, not just acknowledge differences. We find out what it means to make people a part instead of making people a beautiful other because making people other is still making people something else, you know. And if people are already feeling like they are not a part of what is not less than, then we prepare to perpetuate the situation. I do wanna, for a second, one of the things I said is we’re not where we wanna be, but we’re not where he used to be. I think that’s a very sensitive topic because when you hear those stories from different people, the needle may barely be moving for some, you know. In 60 years, I’ve talked to people who said they can play clips from Malcolm X or Martin Luther King and it feel like it was a news clip from today. But then you talk to people who feel progression and who’ve walked in some progressive things, so it’s like, I think that’s a very, it’s hearing the story.

Andrew: Sure, it’s hearing the story, and it’s honoring the story, and it’s honoring the perspective not to say “Well, haven’t we gotten over that” to someone, but to say, okay, to hear how it has played out in their story, even though it’s not playing out in my story in the same way. And I gotta bring it back to music. I just think if we sing together, I mean, some people still aren’t ready to hear someone’s story, but within the context of music, there’s a massaging of our heart, there’s a softening. I really believe that, and you see it. I mean, you see it week to week. What have you learned about God by seeing so many thousands of people worship and so many people from so many different walks of life, even when they don’t look that different. We know that we’re all extremely unique. What has that taught you, or what have you felt like you’ve learned about God because of being in that leadership role?

Jon: One of the things I’ve learned is that he knew what he was doing when he placed music as a part of our lives, and I think music is one of those things that in this whole situation. I mean, it’s music, sports, and war. You want to add what brings us together.

Andrew: Do not discriminate.

Jon: Right, right, because it’s almost like Newton’s Law where he’s like, you know, if fear is going this way, an equal and opposite reaction is what will stop it, so music, that opposite thing of the fear brings it. You know, war is just a bigger fear, so now we’re all afraid of that. Sports, we’re having fun. So what it’s taught me is that God does hear us and see us and even though he doesn’t always come through when we’re wanting him to come through, it’s not on our time, right? There is something that he’s doing and there is something that he’s working on, and I’m crazy enough to believe that he uses the things that are hard, he allows the things that are hard to shape us to be better, to shape us in some kind of way to be better, whether it’s to lose pride or to overcome fear or to, you know, whatever all the different things may be. He’s shaping us by allowing these things to help shape us, and music is the place… I mean, I said it earlier. It’s the place where we lay down all of our crowns. It’s the place where we’re most vulnerable. At least we’re most…

Andrew: Open or?

Jon: Yeah, we’re more open when there’s music going on because it hits us in different places.

Andrew: Yeah, it absolutely does. It’s interesting, too, I remember one time someone on, I don’t know, somewhere on some platform or maybe over the radio said something about “and then God showed up” or something,and I was with my dad. This was when I was growing up, and he says, “I don’t like that.” I said, “What don’t you like about that?” He said, “God doesn’t show up. We show up,” you know. Or more is revealed to us or more, you know, is taken away. It’s what you’re saying. God is always working. He’s always at play. It’s where is our posture, and music is allowing us the posture, I think, to open. It’s not just an openness of heart. That openness of heart is the eyes to see, you know what I’m saying, so if you think about it, what a privilege that music is a part of your story and that that is helping thread for so many thousands of people their story to God, you know? Yes, it’s our privilege to be… Yeah, it’s your privilege, and it’s our privilege.

Jon: It’s our privilege.

Andrew: To be part of, yeah. What a great ending.


Mark: I think the best thing a child can do when their parents are racist is marry one.

Michael: Mark.

Mark: You know what I mean? You talk about healing and fixing it, and trust me you, will have beautiful babies. You mix the cream and black, you come up with gorgeous babies.

Lynda: Seth and Nirva. 

Andrew: Oh yeah, they’ve been at this table.

Michael: I think God did that on purpose because when they mix, and come up with this.

Mark: God loves diversity. He loves it. Obviously, he created it.

Andrew: Yeah, and this isn’t accurate maybe or something, but you think about children that have so many races involved in their makeup, you know, that aren’t they even like, isn’t it even more direct reflection of God somehow because he is reflecting all of this diversity instead of just being lily white. I don’t know.

Lynda: None of us, I mean, we’re all, you know, same source. It’s like nobody’s a hundred percent anything.

Mark: We all bleed red.

Lynda: Yeah, and that’s, but I think, what you guys are doing, to the conversations, I did something a few years ago, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. It was a little video I had and basically inviting people to your dinner table that don’t look like you, start conversations. And so many people, you know, they just talk a lot of smack, but they have never sat down with anybody that doesn’t look like them exactly, and that’s kind of where it starts and because they’re ignorant a lot of, you know, as far as building bridges, they don’t understand, and so it’s kind of like the opportunity that we have, what you’re doing, is this is where I think the healing begins.

Mark: The Dinner Conversations we did with Nicole C. Mullen. I called you after that and said I learned so much.

Lynda: I know, I know, I know.

Mark: I mean, that’s why I love this because I had not heard so much of what she taught me that day  about racism in the church.

Michael: And the truth is too, Mark, we’re such creatures of comfort. I mean, you automatically, not because… Well, I’ll give an example. I was a Liberty. A lot of my black friends would go sit with the black kids in chapel, and I would go sit with my other buddies, and they would think, okay, what’s up with that. But I get it. They felt comfortable. But the point is if we’re gonna ever come together, we say it all the time, you’re gonna have to consciously–

Lynda: Yeah, it’s intentional.

Michael: On purpose, yeah, walk outside that little comfort box of it looks like you, walks like you, talks like you, smells like you, is like you, lives where you live, and go over here and go, oh, no way. So there’s that too? There’s cheese pizza and pepperoni and meat lovers and veggie? No way, all those things? If all you have is cheese pizza your whole life, it’s like, oh, cheese is the best thing ever. Until you get a bit of meat lovers. It’ll change your life.

Lynda: Yeah, I like fish, but anyways.

Michael: I love fish.

Lynda: No, that’s true. We did the same thing on purpose. When I would go in to the cafeteria, what was it Saga, and I would see all of my black friends over here, all of my white friends over here, and they were all at their tables. I would go over and sit at the white table–

Michael: Me too, Chub.

Lynda: With those wonderful folk, and it was great.

Michael: We love Caucasians.

Mark: Let me ask you this. What was that like?

Lynda: See, it’s Caucasian, it’s Negroid. It’s in the same family. It’s a proper word.

Mark: At those years you all were at Liberty when it was predominantly white.

Lynda: Yes.

Mark: You may have been the only black people there.

Michael: Might have been.

Lynda: Well, it was just few of us.

Mark: I mean, not many.

Andrew: It was a strong minority at that point.

Mark: Except the ones I’ve recruited for sports maybe.

Lynda: No, that’s true. That’s very true, yeah.

Mark: So my question is what was that like? I mean, as far as I think it would be interesting for me to be the only white person in an all African American school.

Lynda: It’s good that you say that because I remember one of the music people there at the time thought that I was moving too much during the Living Christmas Tree. We were singing “Go Tell It On the Mountain.” And they, I mean, they took me to task and I mean, it just, it hurt.

Michael: Were you gyrating?

Lynda: No, no. But Dr. Falwell had told me, Dr. Falwell said, “I want you to sing like you sing at your home church.” I’ll never forget that. And I looked at him and I said, “I have never sung for this many white folks in all my life, so I don’t think I’m gonna be doing what I do at my home church, so it’s not gonna happen.” I think that’s where I kind of got a conservative edge too because that’s not how we grew up. I used to actually dance before the Lord at church and shout, physically shout. We grew up shouting, and I had a tambourine and everything. But you know, when we were there at Liberty, somebody just like, “No, you know, you move too much.” And we had people in my dorm. They didn’t know when we set, like when we do our hair, you can have curly hair, you can have straight hair, and like so when you straighten your hair, do you put it on an ironing board to press it? I mean, the questions that I got asked, but here’s the thing, I thought, honestly, if I were gonna be the only black person that some of my white friends would ever encounter me–

Michael: Being an ambassador.

Lynda: I want to be an ambassador, I want to be a bridge, and so I wasn’t angry with them. We had a lady that helped us in our home once, and she would help us and we were cleaning and she stopped in the middle of doing something and she said, “Now let me ask you something.” She said, “Now, what black folk,” she said, “If y’all don’t like it, why don’t you just go back to where you came from?” And she helped us in our home. This is a white woman. And somebody said, “Lynda, you just let her say that? You didn’t tell her to go home, get out of your house?” I said, no, because she was honestly asking, and so I just said to her, I said, you know, “First of all, it’s a long boat ride, and I get nauseous.”

Mark: And you were born here.

Lynda: And I was born here. So I said, “I don’t want to go back on the boat.” I was teasing, but no, I did not come on the boat. But no, I said, “No, no, you know, I was born here, so there’s nowhere to go back to.” And so yeah, I was just trying to engage her in another conversation, and then she did get to meet someone. She said she was at the gym and met a woman of color and she started having conversations and started building bridges and she was so excited, like I have a black friend now. We’ve been the only… I can tell you, Facebook, I know I am the only black friend of so many of my followers, and they forget that I’m on there when they start some of these racist remarks. When it gets to politics and stuff, people get kind of crazy. And then I want to just chime in and say, “Hello, I’m here.”

Andrew: Having a lot of your professional career having been in the Gaither world now, which is a predominantly Caucasian world.

Lynda: Yes.

Andrew: Have you ever felt… I’m just curious. This is me being curious.

Lynda: Okay.

Andrew: Have you ever felt like the token black person?

Lynda: No. But. Oh, I can’t say certain… No, I’ve never felt like the token black because I just I’ve always felt loved in everything, but we’ve had a few things that have happened in this group of people over the years here and there where I start to think a little bit. Maybe, you know, I don’t know, but yeah. Let me just say this. I think, politically, the climate that we’re in now, not that I tried to get in this world to pretend I wasn’t black or anything like that. I’m not hiding at all, but I think the true colors have shown in ways with some of my touring mates.

Mark: Because they’re aligning themselves so much politically.

Lynda: Yes, and I’m saying this… I’m a God voter. So I don’t want to be like Democrat, Republican. I’m a God voter, so whatever that means to you, the viewer, you just take that. But the hateful things that have been said by people that you love and you know they love you, it’s kinda made me feel like what do they really think about me? But as far as being a token, no. I’m a bridge builder. And I don’t just sing, which is neat that I’m with Gaither, but we sing in mixed circles all around. I’m singing, thank God, all around the world in so many different genres, and I’m not just limited to the Gaither circle.

Mark: And as far as Gaither himself, I have seen him make a conscious effort–

Lynda: Yeah.

Mark: To include Larnelle back in the day.

Lynda: He said he’s gonna black when he gets to heaven.

Andrew: Oh please, that’s all I’ve hoped for.

Mark: Bill gets it.

Andrew: I could ask the same question of you. I mean, you’re in all–

Mark: I’ve never seen anything like this political environment. I have never seen anything like it.

Michael: What’s crazy being in black and white settings, but yeah, I’ve been with white boys, vanilla boys all my life. Like DC Talk, you know, two white guys, a black guy. Newsboys, three white guys, a black guy. My point is but I call it living integration because we get to live out loud. Can’t a black guy front of pop rock band, making movies that impact culture to talk to people, and they can see, oh my gosh, okay, this is more than just… These guys are like… Like Duncan Phillips is one of my best friends on the planet. Love TobyMac. TobyMac and I started off–

Lynda: It’s like when somebody said one of my best friends is black. That’s not what you think.

Michael: Not at all.

Lynda: No, I was kidding.

Mark: Y’all talk so fast. My Lord, y’all talk fast.

Michael: My point is I don’t think about that hard anymore because, to use millennial terms, haters are gonna hate, and it stinks. I wish it could be different, but the thing is I know I’m called to love. Love. Love. L-O-V-E. Exactly, it’s a verb still. Love is a verb.


Mark: Thank you to Lynda Randle and Michael Tait.

Andrew: Be sure and check out some of their product right here in our Amazon affiliate link in the description of this episode.

Mark: And if you want to binge watch Dinner Conversations, you can do that right now on Amazon Prime. Dinner Conversations is brought to you by ChildFund, a community development organization that has been envisioning a world where every child is free to live with their fullest potential no matter where they’re from or what challenges they face since 1938.

Andrew: Partner with us and our good friends at ChildFund to change the world and the life of a child by considering sponsoring a child today.

Mark: It really does take so little to make a difference.

Andrew: Visit childfund.org/dinnerconversations

Mark: A child is waiting.


ChildFund is a community development organization that has been envisioning a world where every child is free to live at their fullest potent no matter where they are from — or what challenges they face — since 1938.

Partner with us and our good friends at ChildFund to change the world in the life of a child by considering sponsoring a child today. It takes so little to make a difference. A child is waiting. And remember, every one who sponsors a child is invited to a Dinner Conversations Friends & Family Weekend in Nashville, plus receives an autographed Season Two DVD, CD and a special item handmade for you by our communities in Guatemala.

Learn more here: childfund.org/dinnerconversations.


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Watch Our Other Episodes:

S03, E01: Orphans No More featuring Lisa Harper
S03, E02: Perfectly Imperfect featuring Wynonna Judd
S03, E03: Surviving Miscarriage featuring Jason Crabb and Sonya Isaacs
S03, E04: Fear Factors featuring Patsy Clairmont
S03, E05: A New Normal featuring Jaci Velasquez and Nic Gonzales
S03, E06: Suicide: Hiding in Plain Sight featuring Mark Means and Wes Hampton
S03, E07: Personality by Number featuring Ian Morgan Cron and Lisa Whelchel
S03, E08: An Intellectual Faith featuring Eric Metaxas
S03, E09: Finding Beauty in Brokenness featuring Julie Roberts
S03, E10: The Guatemala Episode