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Healing Conversations on Race, Part I (with Veola Vazquez)


Alisa: Hey, welcome back to another episode of the Art of Relationships podcast. I'm Alisa Grace, and I'm with my husband, Dr. Chris Grace. And good morning, Chris.

Chris: Hey, good morning. I'm awake, man, it's a good day. I'm here. And, yeah, this is fun to keep doing this fun podcast with you. 

Alisa: It is. And we have a great guest with us today. And today, what we're going to talk about is the fact that race complicates our relationships. And even when we reject racism and we're really seeking to walk in a better, more Christlike way, how do we get our thinking and our conversations unstuck from the kind of healthy patterns that we learn growing up that we maybe brought from our families, our neighborhoods, our cultures? And so what we want to ask today is, is there really a way we can challenge injustice that just like Jesus, that we could welcome those rejected by society and engage in healing just like he did, where we are absolutely committed to biblical fidelity. And we are absolutely committed to a heart for people, just like Jesus did. 

Chris: Yeah. And I think, Lisa, what you and Know have experienced in life has a lot to do with just the cultures we were raised in right. And where we were raised. I remember finding Know and knowing you were from Texas and somebody from Colorado never dated at anybody from Texas because Texans were like the bane of Colorado people's existence. 

Alisa: Because we took over your ski slope. 

Chris: Yeah, you took over your ski slopes, but also just it felt like it was a very different culture down there, southern Baptist culture. And I grew up a non Christian, grew up in a racially mixed house and realizing that my experience was different than a lot of the Christians that I then met when I became a Christian in college.

Alisa: Yeah, it was even different from some of your friends that you grew up with in Southern Colorado right. And especially being from a mixed race family. 

Chris: Yeah, it was very different and it was unique. And I reflect back on it oftentimes, maybe not as much as I should, but it does come to influence, especially when you talk about relationships. Right. You start to have close friendships or close relationships and sometimes people are finding more and more that their histories are having a big impact on how they connect with others and especially trying to apply scripture to that. 

Chris: Lisa that's right.

Alisa: And so today we have a really special guest with us. And, Chris, why don't you go ahead and introduce her for us? 

Chris: I'd love to. Veola Vazquez. Dr. Veola Vazquez, are you on the line with us, Dr. Vazquez? 

Veola: Yes, I am. 

Chris: Hey, how's it you know, Dr. Veola, just so you guys know, Dr. Vazquez is a licensed psychologist. She has a psychotherapy practice here in Southern California. She's a tenured professor and I really hate to say this at Cal Baptist University clinical psych program. And Veola you love Cal Baptist don't you?

Veola: I do. I love Cal Baptist. Did my undergrad here. I love Biola also though, because I did my grad work at Biola. I did my grad work there and I worked there for a while. 

Chris: You worked there. Who hired you, Veola, to be a professor in psychology?

Veola: A really great dean. I'm not sure I remember his name. 

Chris: You don't remember his name? I think he was chair at the time.

Alisa: I think he was Dr. Chris Grace. 

Veola: That's right. 

Chris: Veola, I have to say this. You've done so much, but I think you peaked in 1998 through 2002 while you were a professor here. I think that you hit the top of your career mostly because of, I don't know, mentoring, a professor. 

Alisa: being in the presence of greatness, you know, like that.

Chris: Do you agree? You're kind of quiet. I don't know if you agree with that. 

Veola: Yeah, I think that would mean things have gone downhill since then.That would be a sad thing to say. 

Chris: That would be a very sad thing to say. But it's okay. 

Alisa: But I think one of the things that we also want to tack on to that introduction is that Veola is actually not only a former colleague and sister in Christ, but she's also a really good friend that we love and we have known for, gosh, 25 years. We go back that far at least? 

Veola: That far more. 

Chris: But anyway, so Veola actually has a brand new book that has come out. Let me tell you what's amazing about this book. To me, some of the things that she has in this book. You guys are amazing. So let me just read the here here's one of my favorite. It's called the penny predicament and the nickel nuisance and the quarter question. And Veola, as you wrote those books, I mean, that's amazing. It's called the Chronicles of the Coin. When did you write those books?

Veola: Oh, it's been a few years ago now. I started writing those ones when I had younger children and was wanting to give something to kids that were like eight to twelve age range, that they could read, that had a Christian foundation and message and also was still kind of fun. 

Chris: That is so cool. Listeners, get out there. If you have young kids, get them the penny predicament, the nickel nuisance and the quarter, what was it? Question, right? Yeah, that is actually absolutely not what we're going to talk about today. Shout out to a great author who wrote books for children. But Veola, you recently published a really amazing book and I'm going to give the title, it's called Healing Conversations on Race and then it's the four key practices from scripture and psychology. 

Alisa: Veola, you co-wrote this with a couple of colleagues and I think it just came out, what, in 2022, is that right? 

Veola: No, it came out February 23, a little over a month and a half ago. 

Chris: It's only a month and a half ago. Brand spanking new. Well, Veola, let's talk about this. Lisa, go ahead. 

Alisa: Yeah, so Chris mentioned, Veola, that you co-wrote this with a team of people and why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your team and why you needed to write this book, why you wanted to write this book.

Veola: Yeah, racial issues have always been something that have been at the forefront of my mind because I come from a mixed race family. Like Chris, I didn't actually know that about you, Chris. 

Chris: Yeah, my mom's Hispanic, and so, yeah, 

Veola: That's my part black, part white, so my dad is black, my mom is white. And so those things have always been really something I think about all the time, mainly because I'm confronted with people asking me questions about my background as well as just having daily experiences with even race related issues. And then I'm also married to a man who's white as far as what he appears like, but as far as culturally, he's European, he's Spanish from Spain, and so we have kids who are mixed racially and culturally. So I just have a lot of personal stake in talking about race related issues. But for me and my co authors, a lot of our conversations surrounding race started in 2020 when a lot of other people were also having conversations about race because of the murder of George Floyd and a lot of the race related protests that were going on and a lot of conflict even among Christians and churches and family members. So we started talking about how to respond to these type of issues within our own lives and university. And as we did that, we started to really think about the fact that we didn't necessarily connect with a lot of the approaches that people were using because we felt like they were just causing more conflict and they weren't always based upon, for Christians, a biblical perspective or worldview. So we said we've got to potentially have something to share, given that we have our own experiences. We're all Christians and we are all in the behavioral sciences, and we thought we probably know something that can help people do this in a better way. 

Chris: Yeah. As you guys sat around and talked about this and started thinking about the layout, the topics, you do come up with these key practices. In fact, four key practices. And I know, Veola, you've been committed to this idea of integration of scripture and psychology. And that's where you guys landed on this, right? And saying, okay, we have great psychology. That's awesome. I know one of your co authors is a pastor as well and licensed in the area. But all of you share, as you said, one thing in common, and that's this love for Jesus, love for the church and a deep foundation of Scripture. And tell us a little bit about when you developed this model. How that love for bringing a scientific, psychological approach to better understand something so deeply divisive in our country, how did that come into play, this idea of what can psychology do and then how can it add to Scripture?

Veola: Yeah. So like you said, first and foremost, we prioritize Scripture and what the Bible says about who we are as human beings, who God is, his character, what he desires in us, our character, the nature of sin, and how that impacts us. So we prioritize that understanding of people and of God first. And then within that, though, we said that Scripture can give us the guidance for how we live our lives, and psychology can help us and provide us some research based practices that we can then use to live that out. Go ahead. 

Chris: No, keep going. You're good. 

Veola: Okay. So for the psychological part of it, as you said, I'm a licensed psychologist. Josh NAB, one of my co authors, is also a licensed psychologist. Then we have two social workers on my team. So Crystal Hayes, who's a doctoral level social worker, and then Charles Lee Johnson, who's a doctoral level social worker and also a pastor, like you said. So all of us really believe that we can learn from the science of psychology or the social sciences, and we. 1s Draw from emotionally focused therapy, which is an empirically based, scientifically backed approach to helping couples respond to conflict in their relationship. And we believe that we can take some of the practices from that to help people when they're talking about race related issues in either like a one on one conversation or even in a group conversation station to apply. Some of those practices to those conversations to help people respond to conflict or to avoid conflict even, and even deeper than that, to draw people closer together in their relationships with others so that they can begin to find healing from maybe times when they've experienced woundedness and cross cultural relationships. 

Chris: Yeah, let's unpack some of that real quickly, because you said a lot of interesting things and some of our listeners aren't psychologically sophisticated. I don't mean that, but they don't have a PhD like you do in psychology and clinical Psych. This idea of using the attachment model and attachment theory and emotionally focused therapy and even the heal model.Let's unpack that real quick, because I think it's so important for people to understand exactly what it means when they start to bring in not only attachment, that idea of how we connect to others emotionally and how we bring our stuff and how it influences our ability to connect with others. Right. And then what? You talk about emotionally focused therapy, getting down to a deeper understanding of what's going on below the surface, right? If I get irritated with somebody, it could know, let's say she does something that bothers me, which is rare, I'll be honest with you. It's usually the other way around. But when it is the other way around, and let's say I haven't cleaned up my mess, Alisa gets very frustrated  but deep down, our little conflict isn't always about the dishes, right? It's about something deeper. It's about not feeling heard or understood and recognized. So Veola unpack that for us. You could start if you want, with what the Heal model is, what each of the letters stand for, because you talk about healing in that way. 

Veola: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So we wanted to give people, like, an easy to remember acronym and so Heal. H stands for Humility, e is empathy, A is acceptance of emotions, and then L is Christlike Love. And so, like you said, we do unpack what each of those means, the Biblical foundations as well as the psychological foundations. But to maybe give you an idea of what they would look like in conversations, how those things might be applied, is that in a cross racial conversation, typically if people try and talk about race, race related issues or racism, lots of emotions come up, right? People get angry, they get defensive. It's just hard because people oftentimes view things very differently or have different experiences. And so a lot of people either avoid those conversations or they just argue. And for Christians, we really think that we want to help people to use things like a humble approach where they try to understand other people emotions with empathy and demonstrating Christlike love, which is an attitude of. Really putting others above ourselves and trying to seek how to meet others needs. So as we do that in a cross racial conversation, what we're hoping in our approach is that people can slow down the conversation and remain emotionally present with other people. So meaning, like, instead of in the middle of conversation just emotionally shutting down or just deciding, I'm not going to listen anymore, but to really stay engaged in the conversation by recognizing that the emotions that they might be experiencing, let's say anger. That typically those are surface level emotions and there's probably something below that that they're experiencing that is more what we might call a primary emotion. Emotion that is a little bit more vulnerable like sadness or fear or even shame. And oftentimes below the anger there is something like that.  So if people can slow down their conversation and be able to start to try and figure out what is that deeper thing they're feeling and what the other person might be feeling if they can connect with that. And then verbalize it, like, actually say something like, when I talk about this, I have a lot of fear that you might think I'm a racist. Or When I talk about this, I have a lot of fear that you won't understand me or you'll reject me. If we can actually verbalize some of the deeper, more vulnerable feelings, people tend to think that they'll get rejected if they do that. But more commonly, people are drawn together by doing that because we all feel those things and then we can identify with the other better. And what emotionally focused therapy tells us and what the attachment literature tells us is that if we can begin to engage with people on these deeper emotional levels that we will be drawn closer together. And that by drawing closer together emotionally and relationally, like in our relationship with the other person. If we can draw closer, then that relationship with that other person can begin to teach us that not everybody is going to be like the people who've been angry with me or not everybody is going to be like the people who have rejected me. And if we can do that cross racially we might learn that this person of a different race actually can be close to me and I can be close to them. And hopefully our model is the idea is that that will begin to change our expectations or relationships with people of that other racial background and maybe we'd be able to have a relationship with someone else in the future who's of that racial background. 

Alisa: Gosh, I really love that. I love that an acronym that you guys used. It's easy to remember and just the meaning behind it. And what I especially love about it, Veola is that you guys started with the word humility. You started the whole conversation from a heart posture of humility. And there's a book by old pastor in the 18 hundreds, english pastor Andrew Murray. I think some of his books have been almost as formative in my spiritual walk; it comes second only to the Bible. But he has a book called Humility. And in that book what he says about the virtue of humility is that as opposed to it being a virtue like love, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness like those fruit of the Spirit, his perspective. He says that humility is actually the root from which all those other virtues come. And so if we want to have empathy we want to have acceptance, we want to love like Christ it's really going to start with that heart posture of humility. And can you talk a little bit about what special role humility plays and why you put it first in this whole four step process? 

Veola: Yeah, it definitely is a foundational element. And although we kind of see all of the pieces of the model as interacting and you can't really have one without the other, humility is foundational because as Christ, we think about Philippians, chapter two, who took on the form of a servant and he humbled himself even to the point of death on the cross. This idea of him being self sacrificing as the model of how we're supposed to also be in our relationship. It's so important because I think that is something that many other approaches that are currently out there today secular approaches, typically about how to deal with race relations they don't necessarily always encourage humility on the part of all people involved in these type of conversations. We're commonly given the idea that, let's say, like white people are the ones who should be humble and people of color then should have the voice that is stronger or heard more. And because people of color will often sometimes feel like they've been told to be humble all their lives and that being humble has led to oppression. And so a lot of the models that are out there will.Discourage humility in people of color but will encourage that it's more important for white people, let's say. And what we're saying is that Christ's model wasn't that only some people should be humble, but Christ's model is that we should all be humble and take on this form of self denial.And we can all do that in our cross racial relationship and conversations. And if everybody is willing to do that, then we can move forward in building deeper relationships. It's really hard to do that when only one person is doing it. 

Chris: Yeah, one side of the equation. Hey, that brings up a question for me, Veola, about a little bit of something you said earlier. This idea that the book is in general about this idea of practices, race issues that are going on among people, but you also bring in something about couples. Does that come into play for you as well? And if so, how? I mean, you are obviously in a mixed marriage in the sense of a biracial marriage age. My parents were you're an offspring and they're a unique thing. Is the focus or can people deal with this at that level, at a couple level? Or is this book better thought of as how we get along with each other in the church in regard to these issues? 

Veola: I think it can be applied in all relationships. So as a couple, if it's a mixed race couple or if it's a couple who is of the same racial background, but definitely I think this can be applied across relationships because why wouldn't humility work well for couples, right? And empathy and acceptance definitely. I think even in my own relationship, as I've been working through writing the book and speaking about it, that it's cultivated lots of conversations between me and my husband about race related issues. And both of us have worked to attempt to apply the model because we don't always see everything the same way. And so it's helped us to be able to talk about some of the things that we see in the news, for example, in a way that doesn't cause conflict between us, but instead draws us closer together. I have found it's been working for us as well. And then within the churches, of course. I think it would be a good avenue to help people. 

Chris: Yeah, it does. I remember, Veola, maybe I don't know how long ago it was that Lisa, you and I and maybe one or two others flew out to Detroit and did a marriage conference there in inner city church there. And I remember you were just spectacular there. Again, just testament to my training of you. 

Veola: Very true. Thank you so much.

Alisa: I'm so sorry, Veola 

Chris: But that was a deeply powerful time. I don't know how you experienced and remembered it, but I just remember thinking that the notion started to become clearer of needs in certain parts of the country. Whether it's white evangelicals in Nebraska or whether it's a predominantly black church in inner city Detroit or whether it's with a Hispanic church here that we work with in Buena Park. And empathy comes into play. But first of all, that was a great conference and I just remember you being able to explore even some of these issues there. What is it about church people and Christianity in general that make your heel model so difficult at times? So you start with humility and the next one is empathy. Is that where you see a lot of issues coming in or is empathy something that people can buy into or talk about? 

Alisa: Yeah. What does it even really mean? How would you define empathy?

Veola: Yeah, I think I guess a simple way to look at empathy would be being able to really step into another person's shoes and see things from their point of view. It's not what I think a lot of people sometimes see empathy as being is kind thinking about their own experiences and trying to find an experience they have that's similar to the other person's and then saying oh yeah, I understand you, that's not really what it is. And actually that tends to make us less likely to be empathic because then we're thinking about our own experience, not the other person's. And so empathy is really trying to see the world through somebody else's eyes and then to understand their deeper emotional experience related to that. And so in the church I think people sometimes do that well. I think we are taught to, as Christians, be able to understand others perspectives. However, though I think the problem can sometimes be that we are also, I think, taught sometimes in churches to. Let's say, minimize issues related to race and culture because we think they're going to cause more conflict for us by addressing those things. And sometimes people are right, sometimes, obviously, they do cause more conflict. But by minimizing those issues in the church for the sake of, let's say, people will say, like, well, we want to be unified and we're going to be unified by focusing on our identity in Christ, which obviously is important because we do have that unifying factor among us as Christians. That's what brings us together. But by only focusing on that and not focusing on issues of diversity and the ways that people might experience things differently, that can oftentimes of cause more division. And so, you know, we you know, I'm sure people have oftentimes used the terms like unity within diversity. Yeah, but. Sometimes it's hard to determine what that looks like. And you might go to, let's say, a black church, and the black church might talk a lot about race and racism and diversity related issues because they have a felt need from their congregation to do that. Whereas in a white church, oftentimes you might see people saying, well, let's just focus on unity. And so you have two different churches who are going at these issues in very different ways, but all feeling like that this is the approach to do it. This is what's going to create unity. And so empathy, if we go back to that, it's really about being able to step into that other person's shoes and see things through their eyes. For the people of color to be able to see the things through the person, through the white person's eyes of that deep desire for unity and the fears related to talking about diversity, and then for the white person to be able to look at the person's color and see things through their eyes. I've just felt need to really address those things for fears of not being treated the same or being hurt and discriminated against. 

Chris: Yeah, that's so good. And I remember, again, referring back to the conference you did together, where the notion of empathy really was deeply powerful for everybody involved. Were we with Crawford Laritz? Do you remember that? 

Veola: I think that's who it was. 

Chris: Yeah, I think Andrea Paxton joined us as 

Veola: Yeah, just saw her the other day, actually. 

Chris: Did you really? Oh, good. I've also trained her. Just you can let her know that. No, she's awesome. She works with us all the time here. Veola humility. It begins with empathy. These are so deeply personal traits and qualities that it takes a lot to get somebody to a place where they're recognizing. I have issues here. I'm not humble when it comes to this. I don't have empathy for somebody I disagree with so strongly or somebody I don't know. And I think that's where this idea of putting them together comes into play. Your next one is what? Acceptance. Right? And acceptance is pretty critical to this whole thing. Lisa 

Alisa: Yeah. In fact, I love the tie of that chapter because you call it acceptance. Embracing emotions with christian disciplines. Talk a little bit about that. What do you mean when you talk about embracing emotions and how does that fit with Christian disciplines? 

Veola: Yeah. So much of what we talk about in the book is about spiritual formation, and we see the process of learning how to have these conversations well as a part of our spiritual formation in Christ. It's a part of us becoming more Christlike. And so we encourage people to delve into Scripture and learning more about various spiritual disciplines, to become more Christlike so that they can be able to accept others emotions and their own in these conversations. So one of the things we encourage people to do is to use a practice called lectio divina, which is a practice from the spiritual formation literature, which involves reading and meditating and praying over Scripture, basically. And as we are formed to be more like Christ through meditating deeply on the Scripture, one of the things that we are hoping that people can do is to be more aware of the emotions that come up as they are in these conversations and then learn how to respond to those emotions. Go ahead, Chris. 

Chris: No, no, I like that. I was just going to say using lectio divina. As you mentioned, prayers know common and spiritual disciplines. And I love the way you guys brought that in and the stories you tell about that. So I'm sorry to interrupt. Keep going. 

Veola: Yeah. Oh no. Yeah, no problem. So thinking about emotions and the ways that we might help people respond to them differently, we encourage people to use certain what we call Christian mental skills, which are really being able to spend time sitting with your emotions and inviting God into your emotional experience. So recognizing the, let's say, anger that might be present and then trying to identify the deeper emotion below that. So maybe sadness and then inviting God to be present in that sadness with you to inviting Him to comfort us in that sadness as we accept that emotional experience. Not ignore it, not try to fight it, not try to change it in ourselves and others, but to invite God into it, to have Him comfort us and help us as we respond to it. 

Alisa: Wow. Veola. I love that so much because one thing about this book is that it's so practical. And so you actually address what do those kind of prayers sound like? How do you articulate those kind of prayers where you impact that with God? And so in that chapter, you actually lay out a couple of questions that you could process with God. And one of the questions you said that you might start with is asking the Lord, what are you revealing to me in this emotional experience, Lord? What is it that you're really what do you want to say to me? What is it you want me to know? Are there lies that I'm believing that you want to administer your truth to? Is there a truth that I'm overlooking that you want to speak to me? Chris, there was something you were going to add? 

Chris: Well, yeah, I think, Lisa, those questions, I think, are so helpful Veola and the stories of of different couples and people in there. I just remember sitting with this for a while, the popularity now of DNA tests and people are finding out all kinds of interesting things about their backgrounds. And I imagine some of them are going, Wait a minute. I'm and I've always didn't realize that. I always knew I came from a Spanish background with my mom, but I didn't know to what level and how much race played a role. But I always knew culturally that we tried to live in a white culture, predominantly as white and that worked. But my cousins, same mix, Hispanic and White then lived very different lives. They lived more in the Hispanic culture. Well, all of that to say, I had to sit with these questions that you asked the readers to sit with and challenge them to do this. And it could be really hard and revealing about some things that could cause pain, like my views of people. Then all of a sudden I recognize, wait a minute, this is part of my background and culture. This is me. Is there like a personal experience with this or in your own life? Could you give us an example of how this has played out or how you have applied this principle of the lectio divina and processing your own emotions with the Lord in a specific situation? 

Veola: Yeah. So I have a few I could probably think of. But I'll think one one situation that recently occurred to me that was a race related experience that I ended up talking to my husband about and praying about also. Was that we were in a store, and I was at the back of the store looking around, and there was nobody else in the store other than my husband and I. And it was a clothing store, and I was just kind of wandering around, looking at things by myself. And I turned around and the clerk from the store was almost, like, right behind me, but the minute I turned around, they sprinted to the cash register and acted like they were doing something different. And I felt so uncomfortable in the moment. And the first thing I thought is they must have been following me because they thought I was going to steal something. But then I immediately thought, I wonder if it's because I'm black. And then I just kind of ignored that, and I thought, don't worry about it. But I was really disturbed for the rest of the day. And then I asked my husband later on, I said, how often would you say in your life that that type of thing has happened to you? And he thought about it for several seconds, and he probably said, Maybe once. And I told him, well, I think that type of thing has happened to me numerous times, and most of the time I shrug it off as being nothing. But this time, I had a really hard time shrugging it off just because of the obvious nature of kind of what happened, that the person had been right behind me and then ran away. And it really disturbed me a lot. So I thought, I really need to pray through this and not get angry, because my immediate reaction was anger. And then so I did. I said, okay, Lord, let me kind of pray with you. Try to better understand my emotional experience and where you are at it. And I don't remember specifically the scripture I was reading at the time, but really just praying through and meditating because I really believe that I'm typically in the Bible every single day, and I really believe that God is faithful to meet me where I'm at with whatever scripture I'm at at the moment. And so I know he was teaching me through it, but really I recognized that beyond the anger, below that anger was just really a sadness that someone might consider me to be. Someone who might steal something just because of the way I look. And recognizing that I could invite God into that process. And I didn't have to be angry at other people in stores or angry because my husband had never experienced that. But I could just allow God to comfort me in that process and then be able to still be okay in relationship with others who might look like that person or have the same job as that person without transferring my experience onto somebody else because I've allowed God to comfort me in it. Yeah, unveils is just a beautiful practice. A practical example too, of putting in the L to here the love idea, right? The notion that this is painful experience that you've had to go through. And a lot of people really can't identify with this unless it's happened to them in some way. And even then it doesn't always match up with the depth of emotions and pain that this could be, especially for a lifetime. So I think taking that process for you just shows this sense of, man, this is wrong. This hurts. We need to do something about this. And on a personal level, modeling that I imagine it takes time, doesn't it? 

Chris: You've been through a lot of these things and you have such a unique take on this, Veola. I mean, getting back to your know, your story a white mom, black, know, married to someone, uh, Spain, and then raising not just the way you were raised, but then raising children in this bicultural this biracial way. But, Veola, I just love the model that you've always brought. And I think you epitomize. I don't want to build you up too much. Okay, don't do it too much. Yeah. But you really do strike us as someone who takes the hill model and applies that. And that's what this is so cool and why we talk a little bit about this book so high aspect of love in that chapter, because you talk about you equate and use the word or the adjective compassion or the verb actually compassion and talk a little bit about that why is compassion so important? And. In the whole process of the heal model.

Veola: Yeah, if you think about, I think it's first corinthians, right, where they said faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. The reminder that love holds us all together and compassion for others is truly a part of that. Being really able to connect deeply and emotionally with the needs of others, that's a piece that we haven't addressed right yet. But part of the model talks about that our emotions are signals for relational needs. We all have needs in relationships, so we have needs for safety and security in relationships, for comfort, for love, for acceptance and belonging. And love brings and compassion brings together and holds together everything in our model because it allows us, I think if we are committed to Christlike love, it allows us to reach out to others to meet those needs in them. And that's really what we're hoping also is that people can not only recognize and accept emotions, but to try to find a ways to meet the relational needs that other people have as they better understand them. And so if I am feeling afraid, let's say I probably need someone else to help me feel safe. If I'm feeling sad, I probably need someone else to help to comfort me. And love and compassion, I think, can help us to recognize those needs in others as well as respond to them. And that's really what we hope people can do is really try and give those as a gift to other people. 

Chris: Yeah, let's talk about that. I'll tell you what, I think it's an amazing topic. So here's what we're going to do. Thank you for sharing just your wisdom on such an important and critical topic for the church and for people. So let's do this. We love hearing from you and from your guests. I'm just going to repeat the book again, Healing Conversations on Race. It just came out in 2023. Four key practices from scripture and psychology. Dr. Veola Vazquez is our guest. Veola, thank you for joining us today. 

Veola: It was a joy to. 

Alisa: Very well and we are so glad that you have listened to our latest episode of the Art of Relationships podcast. It's produced by the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and we hope that you will hit that like button subscribe and please share it with your friends. We would love that and we'll see you next time.