Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Some believe that as Christians we should not be angry about injustice. I can tell you right now, that isn't my story! I am a child of God, African-American AND ANGRY about racial injustice! We once had a white relative come to our home and as an answer to us having black art and literature, later gift us a book entitled, "More Christian than African American." Some people think that being proud of who God made me to be lessens my love for Jesus or translates into disliking who God made others to be, that's just foolery. God made me His, female and African-American! I'm celebrating all 3 of those gifts - cause I can...and I should. Creators create with intentionality, like on purpose! Who am I to downplay the creator of the universes work? Nah, I'm not gonna do it! To all that stand shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight for justice, thank you. Please keep having the uncomfortable but necessary conversations with your elected officials, at work, in your homes, and your places of worship! These conversations are difficult because something is deeply wrong! May we see our similarities and celebrate our differences as we seek justice.
I recently read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 and it hit differently. Per usual, "experts" in the law were testing Jesus and asking, "Who is my neighbor?" Many assumed their neighbor was someone who looked like, worshipped like, or maybe came from the same country as them-sound familiar? Jesus' answer... a parable-cause Jesus kept a good story then restated your question back to you for you to answer. Sounds like my mother! Anywho, my summarization: A man (Jewish) had been beaten, robbed, stripped naked and left on the side of the road. As he lay there, a PRIEST (man of God) and a LEVITE (church folks) passed him, crossed to the other side and left him there to die. They pretended not to see what was right in front of their faces. Then a Samaritan (Jewish & Samaritans hated one another) comes by sees him, shows compassion and acts. He puts the injured man on his donkey, nurses his wounds, pays for his hotel stay, basically says his life matters. Then Jesus asks the expert, "Which of the three was a neighbor to the man?" We all know the answer, right!
You don't have to be a certain race, religion or align with a particular political party to be on the side of humanity. This silence (pretending not to see), the offense and rage at the words Black Lives Matter only further prove that racism and privilege exist. The Bible says in Ephesians be angry and sin not. I am angry about systemic racism, about racial injustice. As one of my friends put it, "There's a riot in my soul!" If I am being honest, this riot has been on a slow burn for some time, probably since I read my grandmother's birth certificate (it was the nigger girl born to Harriet that got me) or when she shared stories about life on Lockgarden plantation in Mississippi where she was born. This riot burns when:
-my daughter's white teacher tells her she looks better with straight hair.
-white students refer to African-American students as "the ratchets."
-I take my daughters out to eat and a white family discusses how ashamed I should be for having so many children with no father in sight
-people call themselves followers of Christ but seem to forget that Christ. Is. Love. and that He always kicked it with, cared for and healed the marginalized-that he practiced relationship over religion.
-white neighbors, church members or acquaintances post black lives matter but rarely speak to black lives in person,
-countless people are murdered on the streets
-a simple statement: BLACK LIVES MATTER- meaning are Important, have significance is made and people are upset yet say they are pro-life...
-people think the discussion is Pro-political party when it is PRO-HUMANITY
So what do we do with this anger? As a family we channel our anger by helping in our community with dollars, time and dialogue to include speaking up when in spaces that throw lighter fluid on this burning fire. We are intentional about supporting businesses owned by African-Americans. We write letters to elected officials, vote and not just in presidential elections. We have participated in peaceful protests, not riots. If people condemned systemic racism the way they do riots what a beautiful world this could be! The Christian, African-American and Female in me believes that people should be tried in the court of law by a jury of THEIR peers, not on the streets by people who believe they are judge, juror and executioner! I believe this is referred to as due process in the 14th amendment!
However, like Abraham even when there seems to be no reason for hope, I keep hoping! I feel hopeful when:
-I see people of all races speaking against racial injustice
-Pastors, Elected officials and CEO's have honest, difficult conversations about systemic racism and implement changes to policies and procedures
-police officers like Carlton Wilhoit take a knee with protesters
-I see younger Minneapolis people like Ashli Henderson, Jarret Westbrook or Maya Marchelle use their gifts to serve our community or bring awareness through the arts
-policy changes like the CROWN Act are approved
-officers like Carione Horne intervene when a fellow officer held a black suspect in a chokehold
-politicians speak out against racial injustice regardless of party affiliation
-my daughters speak up in class, at work or highlight a scripture (Proverbs 31: 8-9) as an answer to frustration and next moves
What I know for sure is, God gives us free will and He can change hearts but only when individuals recognize the need for change and are ready to do the work. Jesus says in John 13: 34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Lord, help us to see our "neighbors." Help us to empathize and recognize that you created ALL of humanity in YOUR image. May we celebrate our differences, see our similarities and show compassion towards one another like the Samaritan did. May we, like you, practice relationship over religion! Let the world know us by our love!
How are you finding hope or using your voice? I'd love to hear about it!
If you're interested in the Seeking Justice tee, hop on over to the bouchic!