Jul 31, 2020

Statement on Racism: Q&A

  1. Isn’t this just a political issue? Yes, it is political. But it isn’t just political. Standing up against oppression and injustice are Biblical commands from God to his people and his church, even when they have political implications and expressions. We should not be guided or driven by politics, but we should be ready to engage with politics when guided and driven by the Spirit and Word of God.
  2. What if I don’t like the politics, beliefs or methods of some of the people involved? This is a common complaint. Every social endeavor in a diverse culture means working with people you don’t agree with. It is normal. It is expected. Even Jesus chose disciples and ministry partners with misguided beliefs and priorities, not to mention sordid pasts. For those of us who are not the perfect Son of God, participating in this diversity can help us expose and correct our own blind spots and misaligned thinking. As Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”[1] You will have to draw some lines to work with people in good conscience, but do not have to be perfectly aligned to pursue the same goal together.
  3. Do you condone the riots? No. Yet, it is hard for those who have not been part of a people group who have experienced oppression for hundreds of years to understand the emotion of those experiencing new examples of egregious violence. We are seriously committed to pursuing peace and showing love to our enemies. We don’t support the destruction of people or property, but of the two, we err on the side of prioritizing people. We cannot allow messy expressions of rage or despair, let alone bad actors taking advantage of chaos, to divert us from addressing our defining national sin.
  4. What about the problems in the black community? Black-on-black crime, the dissolution of black families, problematic themes in hip hop, a victim mentality and other critiques of black culture in America are common counterpoints offered by opponents or skeptics of racial justice. Some of these so-called cultural flaws are myths or mischaracterizations; others have some basis in fact. Whatever the case, these issues are effects, not causes, of systemic racism and white supremacy. They are almost never causes of oppressive or unjust actions, but are nearly always employed as excuses or diversions after the fact. Every human being and human culture is sinful, desperately in need of redemption and sanctification. However, no cultural or individual flaw—whether real, exaggerated or imagined—can be a justification for abuse or oppression, nor a reason to avoid pursuing justice.
  5. Where do we start? None of us were sure how to start when the Lord first called us into the cause of justice. For specific ideas, you can check out our action guide, or the hundreds of others published online. The good news is that the problem of not knowing how to get involved will disappear shortly after you take your first steps. If you start somewhere, almost anywhere, and keep moving forward, you will not lack for opportunities. One of the best things you can do is simply be present in places where injustice is occurring and/or people are responding to it. Show up at school meetings, explore local politics, look up nonprofits that take volunteers, join a prison ministry, or visit churches in poor or marginalized communities. Pray, listen to the Holy Spirit and do something.

Action Steps

[1] Mark 9:38-41