Note: I wrote this post Sunday, June 21st after the June 17th shooting of nine African-Americans by a white man in a Charleston, SC church during Bible study. It took me a couple days to get my head around what happened and where it happened. This post was/is my personal response.
The likelihood of attending the funeral of my sons or being killed myself has just increased. It seems the Christian ministry of reconciliation has failed in its transformative purpose of reconciling us to God then reconciling us to each other. We have instead maintained the racial division by alienating each other in times of normalcy so when a tragedy occurs we are uncertain of how to proceed at the time of Christian brothers and sisters greatest need. How can those of us who call Christ our savior do things differently in the midst of this great wrong? Do we need to add indifference and complacency to the list of the deadly sins? Because African-American men and women are dying and I refuse believe we can’t do something different that will save lives in the coming days, months and years.
I’m Not Angry
In the last year I have openly cried for my sons. Each for different reasons at different times, but I have also cried for them collectively while I prayed for their safety as young African-American men in America. What can I do for their safety? What can I do for their future? Why is it that when I lay them at the foot of the cross in prayer I want to run back and hold them close and protect them from a world that seems to want to do them harm? Lord I believe. Help my unbelief! I’m not angry, but as my wife has observed – I’m troubled.
Troubled because of the nations and churches seeming inaction to do things differently in regards to race. We are not post-racial. We’re smack in the middle of racial tension that has been building up to what we see today. The Negro problem became the Black civil rights problem which has become the African-American 21st century policing problem that has put so many African-American sons in jail or has contributed to them being shot down in the streets. Our safe places aren’t safe anymore. Our sacred places have been defiled. Hate appears to be winning out. Is this war? Are African-American playing checkers regarding racial equality while those who will do African-Americans harm are playing chess? Are we accepting the promise of a better tomorrow at the expense of justice today? We aren’t experiencing racial peace. On the contrary we are in a time of racial conflict that’s different from what we’ve experienced in the past; though just as deadly.>
What will it take for there to be true peace? That God-given spiritual place that must be sought after, but in the end is a gift. A gift that provides clarity of thought and discernment of intentions. It requires trust and dependence on Christ. It allows you to perform right action for the right reason in the midst of conflict. It allows for anger with the absence of sin. I’m troubled.
How Do We Make Charleston matter?
Nine African-Americans were killed last week by a white racist while attending Bible study. On April 4th a white police officer shot an unarmed African-American man in the back while he was fleeing. Both the police officer and the racist are in jail awaiting trial. But the mindset that made them believe their actions were okay is still present. How do we change the attitude that this is okay? How can Christians become the catalyst for spiritual transformation and racial reconciliation that we are called to be? Aren’t I your brother as you are mine? Don’t my sons have value? Are African-Americans alone in this? Am I alone in this?
How do churches — and the Christians in those churches — learn to do better, because God knows we know better. Have we let our color determine our brothers and sisters? Have we let our fears suppress our love? Have we forgotten that our neighbors may not be like us?
I’m troubled; though I’m seeking peace and when I find that peace that only God provides in situations like this I will be angry. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I should have been angry long ago.