Statement on Race, Tragedy, and State of Our Nation
At Mid-Cities we believe the kingdom of God is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural...
I’ve had the opportunity to do some marriage counseling over the years. It seems like it always starts out the same. Both sides are talking, nobody is listening. Each side is trying desperately to be understood but not necessarily trying to understand the other side. And it’s really hard to WANT to understand the other side if there are hurts and wounds that exist. It piles helplessness on top of hopelessness. And yet sometimes when things settle down, there shines a glimmer of hope. A wound acknowledged, a cessation of words as ears perk up in an effort to listen and understand. And maybe, just maybe, the must-have ingredient to bring reconciliation to the marriage emerges. Forgiveness.
This past week has been tragic for our Nation. The fatal shooting deaths of African American men, Philando Castille and Alton Sterling at the hands of police has gripped a nation. The subsequent ambush and fatal shooting of 5 Dallas police officers (others shot and wounded) was a kick in the gut to an already reeling nation.
Already on social media and news outlets those with differing ideologies have run to their corners working on talking points. To win the argument. To make sure their side is understood. The events of this week, another hurt, another wound to an already sensitive area. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, resentment rise up and it’s hard to hear. Hard to listen. Hard to forgive.
I can tell you from experience, this path leads not to reconciliation but to separation and eventually divorce.
It’s important we seek to understand all sides of an issue.
The fear that exists within much of the African American community today is real. The context is as fresh as recently baked bread in my granny’s kitchen. For it was in her generation that jim crow laws existed and the constitution was not evenly applied to men and women with dark skin. Often this injustice was meted out by local law enforcement in towns and cities across America. This of course was compounded on top of the decades of slavery and systemic racism that preceded the 1960’s. Fast forward 56 years. Whether real or perceived injustices, the deaths of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling pick at the scab events not long ago. Here it goes again. Will that be my son, my daughter? Will the law protect me or injure me?
The fear that exist within law enforcement officers who have to walk into some of the most dangerous, emotionally charged scenarios every single day is real. In a cultural environment that is increasingly partisan and public support has waned because of the unjust actions of a few, these men and women continue to put their lives on the lines for their communities. Most of us don’t know what it’s like to engage in a violent world daily. To be dealing with potential life and death at any moment. But we can listen and seek to understand.
The world tries to pit groups against one another.
Black vs White
White vs Brown
Black vs Blue
UNDERSTAND ME, each side yells!
But that won’t bring reconciliation and healing. Seeking to be understood without seeking to understand will only bring separation. Divorce. Trust me, there are no winners in that scenario.
What if Christians of all races didn’t run to their ideological corner but engaged their African American brothers and sisters and listened so as to seek to understand and empathize? What if Christians of all races engaged with local law enforcement to seek to support and understand the difficulties they face daily? What if we didn’t talk, what if we DID something? Maybe we could be that glimmer of hope. Maybe we could bring healing to a wound that allows for the must-have ingredient for reconciliation, FORGIVENESS.
We can make all the laws in the world to try to prevent the events of this past week from happening again, but the reality is that this world is broken. Sin. It comes not from institutions or from anything outside a man but from the inside. From the heart. It is the home to racism, anger, resentment, and hate. Sin is not black or white, but it does bring death. Jesus is our hope. He is the one who can ease the fears of men & women. It is in Him that forgiveness holds hands with justice.
As Christians we are recipients of God’s forgiveness having been reconciled to him through Jesus Christ. He has given us a new heart! We don’t simply have to try to win the argument or get another law passed. In the gospel we have a truth that doesn’t just REFORM people and culture, it is the only truth that can TRANSFORM people and culture. Entrance into God’s kingdom occurs only through Jesus and when it does your identity is transformed. You become a follower of Jesus, adopted into God’s family, and that becomes your primary identity. Not the color of your skin or the vocation you choose.
At Mid-Cities we believe the kingdom of God is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Our Savior was a Jew in first century Palestine who spoke Aramaic!
We have not, nor ever will be a mono-ethnic congregation.
We value all people because God values all people.
We love our brother because God has loved us.
We mourn with those who are mourning.
We seek justice for those who are denied justice because we serve a just God.
We pray for our leaders, even the ones we disagree with because that’s what Jesus taught us to do.
We love our enemy, and bless those who persecute us, because that’s what Jesus did.
We seek not to be understood but to understand so that we might be used by God as a healing salve in our culture. As salt and light to our communities and our nation.
We boldly proclaim the gospel because there is no other hope by which ALL men, ALL ethnicities can be saved.
The problem is Sin. The answer is repentance & surrender.
The next step is prayer.
For our Leaders, for our law enforcement, for ALL people.