A dear brother, a white brother, recently told me he drove to a low-income, rough, inner-city neighborhood. Willingly, he’ll uproot his family from their cozy, opulent street to move there to join a forthcoming predominantly black church plant. Gently padding his humble car’s steering wheel, with calloused palms worn over decades, he saw a towering black man standing in the median. His lanky dreadlocks would be his most striking feature if it weren’t for his sign. It read:
“RACISTS KILLIN’ US IN FERGUSON.
WE GON’ KILL ‘EM BACK.”
My friend’s knuckles whitened as he clutched the wheel a little tighter. I can’t blame him for then thinking of the potential dangers that lay before he and his blonde, frail-bodied wife — their peach-skinned kiddos in the backseat. “Should we turn back?” could have been his perfectly legitimate question. Still, confident in God, he drove on.
Ferguson has revealed and pushed a myriad of positions – some passive, some visceral, while others are well thought through. Make no mistake: all of us, though, in some way, have reacted. Some detachedly wait for more facts, but many use this position to cover their own willful ignorance. I confess to my shame that I, a black man, employed that same thought at first. Causing this thinking is a cultural detachment that undergirds a prideful fear that paralyzes the “We just don’t knows” to seem like, to their minority brothers and sisters at least, “We just don’t cares.” Others of the majority sadly, and often subconsciously, stay entrenched in vile stereotypes – “the thug had it coming.” All the while many minorities cry out in anger, pain, and confusion.
Of course the ever-ephemeral media is turning their energies to the next drama –the Ray Rice tapes of the Twitterverse and so forth. But what of those who cannot scroll down their news-feed to the next hot topic, those of us still dealing with race issues in our homes, offices, and churches? The call-outs have been rightly made, but what next? Not so much what do we think next, but what can we practically do next? Here’s my four thoughts, for those in the church, for what they’re worth:
1. Lovingly think of an application and apply it:
Race and reconciliation are convoluted waters. While swimming in them, it’s easy to be frustrated with a fatigue that demands, “Someone fix this!” – a fatigue that experientially proves human relationships, and thus communication, are broken along with mankind. So it’s natural to and right to want this fixed.
Yet the tendency is all too often to sit back and demand that someone else fix it, usually through some type of magic-bullet solution– a poignant application that can be swiftly and universally applied. A quick fix.
The irony, though, is that when you ask the demanders what they envision such a solution to practically be, they fumble through what amounts to no vision at all. Suddenly, what’s been made to sound so easy to come by ain’t all that easy when you try to come by it.
Hear me squarely – to desire these solutions is a good thing. But it’s the easy thing. To think of them and apply them is much harder.
So if you’re demanding a solution, why not divert some of that energy to coming up with a solution and then practice it. As a Christian, I can’t endorse Ghandi’s theology. But I do love truth, and he has some of it in saying, “be the change you want to see the world.” Brothers and sisters – there is no magic bullet to fix these messy race relations fraught with centuries of painful history. But there are principles we can apply, as churches and individuals, from Scripture. These take thought, time, great patience, loving action, and sacrifice. And their fruit may lie as seeds in the ground ‘til we do.
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SOURCE: The Front Porch