It’s been roughly half a year since I’ve participated in this weekly writing challenge. I read that sentence a few times, hardly believing it. Tonight I intended to join in the chat and reconnect with dear writer friends, but caring for a blind wiener dog whose puppy sisters smacked him in the face yesterday distracted me. So late I am, but here I am. Ready to pick up where I left off.
Kate says: stay.
There are four young African-American women in the youth group. Each is full of potential, promise, and an incredible amount of sugar. (Youth ministry and candy do go hand-in-hand). As I watched them play games and eat all that sugar last night at our first physical gathering in months, I felt a profound sense of gratitude at God’s allowing me to be in their lives. They teach me much. They make me think.
And Church, we have got to start thinking. We have got to start coming to terms with the fact that some of the positions we have taken in regards to political affiliations and the treatment of marginalized populations in no way reflects the Gospel. Yes, I say we, even if these are not positions that you personally take, because we are in this together. When one of us clings to classism, nationalism, racism, or sexism, we are all impacted. We all, frankly, suffer. In turn, the world around us suffers, because the message of grace and truth is obscured by elitist, entitled, and false beliefs.
Church, Black Lives Matter. I shouldn’t have to follow that with an explanation, but I will: Saying “Black Lives Matter” is not equivalent to saying that no other lives matter. It’s not a no-reservations-or-disagreement endorsement of a political organization. It is saying that we have a deeply-rooted, evil problem in this country, one that must be clearly labeled and confronted. People are being murdered, and it’s captured on camera for all to see. No jumping in with some other argument here, some “what about…?” People are being murdered. Men and women who bear the image of God are having their lives taken from them, and those doing the taking must be held accountable.
Church, to say “Black Lives Matter” is to look into the face of our brothers and sisters and say: “You matter.” It is to watch those four young women, so full of life, and determine to do and be better, for them.
Church, we must stay in this discomfort. We must stay engaged in this process of confronting our cherished biases. We must stay standing alongside our brothers and sisters, ears open as they lament. This isn’t about choosing Democrat or Republican. We’re way beyond that. And the truth is that it never was political in the first place. All that is, is a distraction. This is about choosing what is right and just – even if it makes us squirm.