Photo by khalilmsaadiq.
I’m a white, middle-class American, married with two kids, an education, a nice car, a fulfilling job, and a supportive faith community around me. By all counts, I lead an extremely privileged life (even though it sometimes feels difficult from my wildly limited perspective).
Like me, you might wonder if you have any grounds, any authority to speak into the tangled issues of the racial divide in our country (and on our earth) when you’re sitting in a place of privilege. You might hang back for fear of “stepping on the toes” of the more qualified – those who’ve experienced the pain first-hand, those who know.
But tell me, if you were sinking, wouldn’t you want others to extend their hand toward you? Even—especially—if they weren’t sinking, too? I might be “privileged” but that’s only a dirty word if it means I’m not willing to recognize it and give myself on behalf of others — others who are just as worthy, just as loved, and just as important because they are human.
If we don’t speak up together, who will? When injustice blazes like a wildfire, no excuse makes up for our “lack of authority” or “lack of first hand knowledge or personal experience” if we choose to remain unaware or aware but silent.
Again, if we don’t join our voices together with those who suffer – will their voices be heard at all?
Let’s hold hands across the divide and hand over our microphones to those that need their voices amplified.
Jesus and the ministry of reconciliation
Jesus came to establish that there is no slave or free, Jew or gentile, male and female, black and white, rich and poor, included or excluded in the Upside-Down Kingdom. All of these, he said and demonstrated, are loved immeasurably and unabashedly by the One who created them in His own image. All of these—the least of these, such as me—are worthy of all that He came to offer.
He not only came to demonstrate and speak truth about this kind of Kingdom building, but he left us, the Church, with something — a divine assignment: the ministry of reconciliation to help bring all creation into his care.
And yet we know that this Kingdom Jesus spoke of is still not pulled down enough around us, because we look out our windows (and within our own walls and hearts) and see carnage, heartbreak, and hatred like leaven.
Forgive us, Lord, for being unwilling to see the injustice on our own streets and in our own living rooms.
Forgive us, Lord, for not being love to your beloved.
Jesus came for #Ferguson
If you haven’t yet heard or understood what is going on in #Ferguson, please don’t be unwilling to enter in to the conversation and to make this problem your problem. Because it is. We belong to each other and we belong to the One Who Holds All Things Together, even when it feels like the whole world is falling apart.
When Christians—who by nature and DNA carry the spirit of Jesus within them—are willing to enter in to the pain and suffering of others, we make way for God Himself to enter in. We bring Him in. And there is nothing our groaning earth needs more than the very presence and healing and reconciliation of Jesus to be let loose among the broken.
If you are confused or unaware, these links will help you begin to understand the uprising that is #Ferguson:
What I Saw in Ferguson by Jelani Cobb (The New Yorker)
Racial bias, police brutality, and the dangerous act of being black by Kristen Howerton (Rage Against the Minivan)
#Ferguson and Me, or, Why Should I Care? by Esther Emery (Church in the Canyon)
In which I have a few things to tell you about #Ferguson by Sarah Bessey
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown Shows How Black People Are Portrayed in Mainstream Media by Yesha Callahan (The Root)
Ferguson Police Reportedly Shot Pastor Renita Lamkin With Rubber Bullet During Protest by Yasmin Hafiz (the Huffington Post)
We must learn, speak, pray, and love
We have so much to learn, but we won’t if we are unwilling to try. Even if we struggle to know exactly what to say, at minimum we can enter in, engage our hearts, link our arms, raise our voices, and continue to pray: Come Jesus, come.
And He will.