When I wrote in the last post that we should listen, I was speaking to myself as well as you, dear reader. I know that emotions run high, that we instinctively move into flight or fight responses, that spaces exist when it’s hard to listen. But for many of us, the heightened awareness surrounding Ferguson and Eric Garner is gone, or at least my Facebook feed is far more interested in discussing the whys and wherefores of the last play by the Seahawks in the 2015 Superbowl than commenting about race relations in the USA. So maybe, just maybe, on this gray afternoon (at least in Washington) we can put on some slippers, grab a cup of tea, and settle into some reading.
When epithets flew I asked a black friend of mine what I could do. Her response? Simply: “Get educated.” I think it’s sometimes easy to rush headlong into something (anything) that we feel passionate about, whether or not we actually understand the issues. I remember when Darfur hit the news and I sported a green plastic wristband printed with “Safe Darfur”. In a supermarket one day someone asked me about the details of the conflict…and I’m mortified to admit that I had no idea. The bandwagon looked good and people were dying, so, by golly, I jumped. But I would have made a bigger impact, would have been a better ally, had I taken the time and learned what was at hand, why things were at such a tipping point. Sometimes the best action is not to do, but to humbly learn. By sitting to hear someone else’s story we enlarge our own. Later if we have the opportunity to act, we will have ties to another reality not our own. We will, God willing, have the grace to act in someone else’s best interest, and to use the power we have for justice and righteousness.
Friends, we could all use some education. But for those of you that are my brothers and sisters in Christ, I humbly submit that if we are seeking to live as Jesus did, we don’t have an option to turn a blind eye. We are called to love our neighbor as ourself. If we learn about injustice, we must call it out, for we serve a God of justice. If Jesus really did break down the walls dividing Jews and Greeks, males and females, slaves and free and made us all one in Him, we must care about the resurrected barriers that divide us.
Ok, enough sermonizing. I repeat: I’m preaching to myself. Sometimes I need a good kick in the pants. But if for no other reason, because I care about Tioni I’m reading and learning. Won’t you come along?
I get that it’s sometimes hard to know where to start, so I’m linking some articles from folks I respect. I’ve read a chunk of them, but not all.
- Tyler Huckabee’s interview with rapper Propaganda: Justice for Black Lives Must Begin With Us
- Tony Evans: Reflections on Ferguson
- Trillia Newbell: The Sin of Racism
- HB Charles, Jr.: Two Churches Merge with Hopes of Bridging the Racial Divide
- Bryan Loritts: A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelical Respond?
- Rich Villodas: Ferguson, Church, and Continuing the Conversation
- Russell Moore: Eric Garner and the Case for Justice
- Benjamin Watson: On Ferguson
- Barnabas Piper: Why White Christians Should Care About Ferguson
- Jefferson Bethke: Ferguson, Hope, & Empathy
- Kevin DeYoung: A Prayer for Ferguson
- Wikipedia: Emmett Till
- Wikipedia: Vincent Chin
Come with me, friends. It’s worth the journey.