0301 - My Great-Grandfather Sold Slaves (w/ Saidi Chishimba)


Host: Isaac Adams

Overview: "And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great." (Job 2:13)

Come hear a man reckon with the hard history of his lineage: His family sold slaves. To kick off Season 3, Isaac Adams travels through Africa to pray with and learn from African pastors about race, the local church, and politics.

In this episode, Isaac sits with Pastor Saidi Chishimba, a pastor in Zambia. Chishimba relays his family’s history through the lenses of the sovereignty of God, the complexity of sin, and the power of lament. How can God be sovereign and slavery exist? How can a man sell another man? How can a pastor smooth tribal lines even in his preaching? How can a president make an effort to break tribal lines? Zambia and the Bemba Kingdom might teach us a lesson.

As season three is about politics, race, and the local church, Chishimba offers insights on the relation between tribalism and politics. “Tribal lines…usually hinge on politics,” he suggests, as he goes on to explain the concepts of cousinship and the good that comes from integration.

While much good was discussed, Chishimba and Isaac lament the death of Isaac’s father, and Chishimba explains why silence is good medicine in Zambia. “It’s not how much you hug me or kiss me,” Chishimba says in light of someone’s death, “it’s how long you sit in silence with me.”

If you’ve ever wondered how to wrestle with individual sin vs. corporate sin, Chishimba offers a faithful model. Come pray with these two brothers, that no tribe would be more devoted to their own tribe than to Jesus.

Links & Show Notes:

5:00 – My Great Grandfather, the slave-trader
14:30 – What is “tribalism” and “cousinship”
23:20 – Tribalism & Zambian churches
30:39 – Lament: You are the Chief Mourner
38:05 – How Chishimba responded to his ancestors trading slaves
44:10 – Prayer

1. Central African Baptist College & Seminary | This is the seminary Isaac traveled to in Zambia. They’re doing great work. (Isaac may have called it Central African Bible College in the episode!) 

2. Article: “My Great-Grandfather, The Nigerian Slave Trader” | It’s striking to compare and contrast how Saidi processes the legacy of his family with the author of this piece in The New Yorker.

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Produced by Josh Deng