It’s been several weeks since I’ve written anything. As the events of January 6th unfolded, I was at a loss to make sense of my myriads of feelings. I wanted to give myself time to sort things through before I tried to write or post. It was important to me that I not shake my fist in the air at no one in particular. I also didn’t want to simply join the chorus of immediately trite restatements of the obvious that added nothing significant to the national discussion. But this night, my thoughts were weighing so heavily on me that I couldn’t sleep. As I lay in bed trying to drown them out with music, I believe the cloud lifted a bit and I began to see more clearly what has been eating at me so badly.
My chief concern is for the church, adrift in this sea of chaos. And there’s this one belief that I am both convinced of and deeply disturbed by. That in the churches near me, attended by men and women that I know and love, are those who think like, sympathize with, or have blinders that unite them to, those who stormed the Capitol in Washington. They are probably aghast now like the rest of us, and would like to believe they would never have participated in what happened, but so many of those in Washington came from churches just like theirs. Some may have even been from their church. All white, in communities growing more and more diverse around them, content with the lack of diversity inside, and unable to understand the deeper reasons why the President’s call to Make America Great Again appeals to them so much. They will say it was all about the Pro-life position, but it took an insurrection to shake them, hopefully, from their unwavering support. And because it’s “just not right to talk about race in church”, these sentiments were allowed to grow unchallenged in their churches. Pastors who were unwilling to “cause” division among them, ignored the elephant and allowed division with us to grow.
Your brothers and sisters of color have been shouting for four years that the flames of racism and white supramacy were being stoked to a blaze. We’ve been pleading with you to recognize the obvious existence of systemic racism and privilege, and our pleas were labeled CRT and dismissed as Marxists. And it’s tearing me up inside. You have no idea how deeply affecting this has been. It manifests as anger, but please know, deep down, it’s disillusionment and pain. Centuries of pain.
Making matters worse, it has not escaped our notice that the church has again fallen silent. The same silence many found complicity in. Saying nothing does not preserve unity when the relationship is already fractured. For reconciliation to occur, you will have to stand with us and for us. The juxtaposition of the responses to protests this summer and the one this week, leaves no more room for equivocation. The few calls for prayer that I’ve heard sound too eerily like let’s move on and get back to normal. Prayer is a good start, but alone, it’s insufficient.
You can’t wait this out while you post pictures of smiling children and passages from the Psalms over backgrounds of pretty meadows. The reconciliation that resulted from Calvary was beautiful, but the hill itself was ugly. The reconciliation that comes from this can be beautiful too, but Jesus asked us to take up our cross and follow Him to the hill. We simply must see in you that our lives matter, to you.
I know this is a frightening time for you too, and people of color are everywhere shaking their fingers at you saying, “I told you so.” For that I’m sorry. But we who have been forgiven will be forgiving. We know well what was required for the forgiveness of sin. The Savior’s blood was not shed in vain. We also know what the end will be. You will worship beside us equally one day. And every time you pray, “on earth as it is in heaven,” you are praying for diversity in your churches and in your families. And thanks be to God that He hears and answers pray. I love you, and it’s my love for you and for the our Father’s plan for us all that compels me.