John C. Richards, Jr. On How the Tragedies in El Paso and Dayton Should Propel Us Towards Both Prayer and Action

John C. Richards, Jr. is the Pastor of Assimilation at Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas and the former Managing Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Howard University School of Law and serves on the Board of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective.


Over the weekend, tragedy once again rocked our country to its core as two separate mass shootings occurred within hours of each other in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

More than that, these senseless shootings revealed a fracture that has long existed in our nation. America has walked with a limp for years now without acknowledging the underlying pain.

Unfortunately, it appears, Christianity in America has shared the same fate—taking its cue from culture on how to best handle tragedy. At times, when men and women of faith genuinely lament about tragedy other men and women of faith tend to read too much into their words.

One need only take a look at Ed Stetzer’s Twitter timeline to see responses to his call for prayer and action in light of this tragedy. The responses range from others calling him a social justice warrior or a right wing conservative.

Homeless Christians, Fractured Culture

Today, I write on behalf of homeless Christians in America. Men and women who sit and watch “conservative” and “liberal” men and women of faith bicker and pose either/or arguments for both/and issues.

Christians who call for our nation to pray and lament are met with resistant from brothers and sister in the Lord proclaiming, “Keep your thoughts and prayers.” Christians who call for our nation to rethink the way it approaches gun ownership are met with resistance from brothers in the sisters in the Lord proclaiming, “Keep your Constitutional criticism. “

How did we get here? As a Christian, what’s wrong with offering thoughts and prayers and a plan of action? As a moderate Christian, I’ve been asked to choose a side. But I care too deeply about the gospel to choose a side in the battle.

Instead, I chose to believe in a God who saves and a God who changes culture—or in the words of Richard Niebuhr, I believe in a Christ who both saves souls and transforms culture. And I won’t apologize about it.

Click here to read more.
Source: Christianity Today