In the past month, God has awakened me to my failure as Christian in issues of race and oppression. White people, hear me out. I think we have reached a point where we have to open ourselves to some very uncomfortable conversations. I am totally unqualified to speak well on this topic, so listen to the voices of wiser and more articulate men than me.
My only suggestion is that you take these voices seriously. Listen with ears willing to hear hard truths. In the safety of your home, at your computer, hear these voices crying out for justice, but listen more intently to the still small voice in your spirit. Ask God to search you, and show you any evil ways in you. I did. And I am still reeling from the violent shift I have experienced in my perception of my world.
What follows is probably the most eye opening thing I have ever heard or seen on the issue of power structure, systemic oppression, and the role of Christ in those issues.
You can download the audio here if you want to listen to it on the go.
These are posts from Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. The first provides some rejoinders to the most common reactions of the white community to issues like Ferguson.
Four Common But Misleading Themes in Ferguson-Like Times
The second clarifies what justice really looks like, and begs the question of whether habitual police violence serves as an intensional definition.
One Man’s Justice Another Man’s Nightmare: It Really Could Have Been Me
Voddie Baucham does an excellent job of speaking as a black man, to the black community, which is to say that white people should be very cautious to repeat his arguments. You can laugh at your dad, but when someone else does, we come in swinging. So hear the voices of the black community without repeating their words.
Read this post from Russel Moore about Garner in New York. No matter what issues are brought up, a man holding up his hands and asking for mercy should never die over selling a pack of cigarettes. Watching the video of his death made one thing undeniable to me; race relations cannot be written off any longer.
Eric Garner and the Call for Justice
Lastly, I want to leave you with a personal story.
When Barack Obama was running for President in ’08, I was attending a Bible college in Louisville, Kentucky. I had a conversation with an African American student in my class, a man in his mid 40’s who told me he was voting for Obama, because being black meant more than voting for Christian values. When I challenged that idea, his response rocked my world.
He told me that I could never understand what it was like to see a man with dark skin leading our country. I pretty much ignored that statement, having heard it a thousand times before, but what he said next was a first for me. He told me that I could never understand him, because I never had a grandfather who was lynched on the Valhalla Golf Course, about thirty minutes away from where we stood.
He was right. I could not understand that. I had gone to that golf course for recreation, watching a Major tournament not long before.
My recreation spot was his grandfather’s instrument of torture and death.
The majority cannot understand the minority, but frequently the minority knows all too well the workings of the majority. And it hurts to hear the truth.