I have just woke up after returning from a trip traversing Uganda. While there, I caught a breaking news report concerning the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina. It was a depressing and disturbing feeling watching the news report about more Black Americans being shot in the U.S.
My heart broke. “This is too much.”
As an obvious white American in a room of Ugandans, I thought, “I wonder if he is a racist too?”
As of this moment I have not had to endure all the spin from the Left and the Right as you have. I have not had to wade through the polarizing news reports. It has been apparent that racism and a hatred of black people was the root of the problem.
I have prayed; repented for our nation; confessed my own “isms.” I have struggled with the moral temperature of our nation; I have tried to enter the pain of my African-American brothers and sisters in Christ in a very insufficient way as I will never fully understand the pain they experience.
As a follower of Jesus, I am spiritually and soul-ularly connected to every other follower of Jesus regardless of race, gender, color of skin, ideology, social status etc.
As a follower of Jesus, I am called to stand in the gap for my brothers and sisters who are hurting, suffering, and have lost their voice.
As a follower of Jesus, I -do- feel the pain and enter into the journey of suffering with those who suffer.
Paul the Apostle said is this way:
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26
So I weep those who weep…I grieve with those who grieve…I cry with those who cry.
But, as a follower of Christ I also denounce the violence in our country that continues to be directed towards the Black community. I am amazed that we are actually arguing whether or not the Confederate flag (a symbol of racism) should be allowed to fly. I wonder (not really) if Germany would argue similarly about reviving the Nazi Swastika; I’m sure (or I would hope) it would be rejected out of hand.
Until we recognize and deal with our national racism the violence will continue.
The lives represented by the list of victims matters:
Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41
Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45
Rev. DePayne Doctor, 49
Sharonda Singleton, 45
Myra Thompson, 59
Tywanza Sanders, 26
Ethel Lance, 70
Cynthia Hurd, 54
Susie Jackson, 87
The problem with lists and statistics is that they don’t cry. Each name represents a significant larger story. Each person matters. Each life was intended by God.
If you are a white Christian in the U.S you need to begin reading the stories and articles that are pouring out from the black community. Enter into their pain and feel their faith. It is no longer sufficient to say, “Well I didn’t cause this.” or “Things are way better than they used to be.” or “It’s not my problem.”
While this generation may not have caused the problem, we have inherited it and are called to do something about any and all injustice that we encounter.
While things are better than they once were, there are still miles to go until we reach true equality.
And this is all our problem…
It is time to get off the bench and into the game.
It is time to stand up against any and all forms of violence.
It is time to stand in solidarity with the Black community.
It is time to put people first above ideologies.
Choosing to disengage from the reality of violence in our midst is to join the side of the violence…no one is neutral when it comes to events that affect our nation.
Charleston, my heart and prayers are with you. May the grace and peace of God saturate you hearts and community.