I decided to write this post and center it on the Evangelical community. The Sunday after a death related to police brutality or racism, is one of the hardest days of the week for me personally. I have questions forced onto me, suddenly no one's “blind” to my color anymore, interrogations, odd looks and pleading for what can be done, as if suddenly I hold all the answers for the Black Community. I think a lot of other Blacks who are the minority in their congregation relate, mainly because we are still reeling. It can feel like the church has gone back to business as usual and or the majority of the congregation is completely tone deaf. It’s exhausting.
Keeping it 100% real with you. I’m going to say what most of us feel we can’t. “On the Sunday after, I don’t want to hear anything until I hear something similar to :“ Racism is wrong our leadership doesn’t stand for it ,our leadership will dig in as we fight this wrong, our leadership is committed to taking an active stance against racism of any kind” from the pulpit from the main leader of the ministry I have dedicated my time, funds and energy to. Secondly, these words need to be backed up with action.
The Sunday after churches usually tap dance around the issue, but I’m hopeful that as the world tunes in online during this pandemic that they see America’s churches take a stand and speak the truth. I’m hopeful we see Sunday Best.
So, here are 21 things that I feel we should observe and think about to show our Sunday best.
1. White Evangelical leaders- This weekend you will want to ask your willing (because we always are) Black leaders to walk the plank of talking about racism in your church for you. Join them, fine, but then use your own voice. The same one that speaks to the congregation about Vision, Financial Stewardship and Getting plugged in, should speak directly on racism. Just to be clear you should speak on Racism.
2. American Church- These reconciliation conversations, bridging etc. are not the last step. They are the first of many many steps. They are not the end solution, they are a tools to go to work.
3. White Friends- Before you jump onto your keyboard sending informative articles, books, videos, screenshots, etc on racism to your Black friends during this time, be humane and ask them how they’re doing first, and then don’t send them any of the aforementioned. Send those things to all the non-Black people who would never search for them.
4. Evangelicals- A Kingdom mindset is not a manifesto for colorblindness. The discriminatory ideology behind variance that is so prevalent in the church is what needs to be eradicated. Not the variation.
5. Reply to a person's pain with a response related to THEIR pain. Stop the centering of yourself please.
6. Please don’t quote MLK unless you have read his Letters from Birmingham or his “The Other America’’ speech.
7. 21 days, 10 days, 30 days---cool but these are not formulas for prayer. Why do we only talk to God for specific increments of time on these long, deeply held widespread issues? Pray everyday about what you can do and then do something. This is an issue we should all be praying about, researching and fighting on a regular basis.
8. If you are a Christian Pastor and you are silent right now on racism, what are you even doing? see#1
9. You can’t address racism in this country in a silo. You have to address, the history of it’s founding, the chattel slavery, the slave codes, the Jim Crow laws, the lynchings, the segregation, the civil rights, boycotts, the education and health disparities and how they are all descendants of White Supremacy as well.
10. Choosing to speak out specifically against Anti-Black racism, is not racist.
11. Please stop taking pictures with random Black people and friends and acquaintances around these times to prove that you are not racist. Black people are not anti-racism props. Just don’t be racist.
13. Being an ally doesn’t mean using my platform to showcase your "wokeness". Come alongside or sidestep please. No more platform pirating.
14. “This is all the Devil's work” is a passive doctrine. Be accountable. We make the actual choice. We do the actual work, just make sure your work, your words are not the Devil’s will.
15. Black Friends- if your first, very first concern is to tend to the sensitivities of your White friends when a Black person is killed, if you don’t feel free to not be okay with your White Friends, ask yourself why.
16. Black Friends- Check on your Black friends. We need to really remember to do this. Yes. Black people express their anger towards racism, more than we check on the pain we share between each other. Check on your Black friends.
17. Black Friends- It’s not your job, cross or burden to explain racism to anyone in a way that makes them feel comfortable about its definition.
18. Black Friends -If someone has to erase, or see past the color of skin you were created with in order to see your heart...I mean really. Are we still doin this? Appreciation of all the varied forms of humanity is worship of God’s creativity.….See #4
19. Unity does not mean sameness or lack of variation. Moving as one unit based on the Creators terms - 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart. 2. Love Your neighbor as yourself is solidarity not sameness.
20. White Friends- Learn the history of how White Supremacy impacted White people before it even reached the shores of Africa. There are books.
21.Looking someone in the eye and throwing a theology book, or cliche church phrase at a person during times like this is a tone deaf move. Water, food, prayer, healing, time, those were the tangible responses of Jesus. He threw verses at religious hypocrites and Satan.
What does the sacrifice of speaking up look like in your life? What is the risk? Are people’s lives worth it to you?
We forget the disciples and followers of Christ mourned after they saw his body and soul split in front of their eyes . We have seen the same, yet behave as if mourning is an affront to Christianity. Why is mourning so unwelcome in evangelical circles?
Do you know your church’s stance on racism? Why? Why not?