How many minutes per week do you think you can be exactly yourself?

That’s the question host Steve Cuss poses at the beginning of this episode, and it takes on specific meaning as he converses with his guest, Marvin Williams. Williams is the lead pastor of Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan, and is currently earning his doctorate in systems theory, particularly as it pertains to the African American experience. His forthcoming dissertation, My Whole Black Self, considers what it’s like to be exactly yourself and what happens when people cannot be exactly themselves.

Cuss and Williams discuss what drew Williams to systems theory, how leadership starts with personal transformation, and what it looks like to live in one’s identity fully. They talk about bullying; anxiety; and the Black writers, thinkers, and experts who have influenced Williams’s perspective. The two discuss connectedness, what it’s like to be in majority culture spaces, and how calmness is not always the opposite of anxiety. Their discussion also explores violence against Black Americans, the nuances of pastoring, and the role of politics in the life of the church.

The Expectation Gap by Steve Cuss is now available—order here!

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

“Being Human with Steve Cuss” is a production of Christianity Today
Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Mike Cosper
Produced and Edited by Matt Stevens
Associate Producers: McKenzie Hill, Raed Gilliam, and Abby Perry
Theme song by Dan Phelps
Original Music by Andy Gullahorn
Mix Engineer: Kevin Morris
Graphic Design: Amy Jones