Coming off last week’s panel discussion with Pastor Micah, Pastor DeWayne, and myself, we’ve heard from a number of people how much they appreciated the dialogue and us speaking out against racism and injustice, especially against the black community. Our hope was that it would be both informative and model how we can engage in a civil conversation on an emotionally charged topic.
Many people want to get involved and be a part of the solution instead of just standing on the sidelines demanding that something be done yet unsure of exactly what that something is and what role they play in making it happen. Activists are pushing for sweeping reforms in our police forces, in some places insisting that entire law enforcement departments be de-funded. Sensing that the moment must be seized immediately or the sharp blade of the cause will become dull, hasty solutions are being offered without much consideration for the unintended consequences that could create more problems than they solve.
When Paul wrote his letter to the church at Philippi, he prayed that their love would abound with knowledge and all discernment. I think those wise words apply to us today. We need to increase in knowledge and discernment. That’s not to say we must become experts on racism before we take any action. Prayer is action. Starting a conversation is action. Voting is action. Joining a protest is action. There are many things that can be done immediately. But racism and injustice have been around a long time and growing in our knowledge can help us to persevere long after the current events make their way into yesterday’s news cycle trash bin. Reading books, watching films and documentaries, and listening to people’s stories all contribute to deepening our understanding of this evil.
Along with knowledge, discernment is needed. Discernment is the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit that leads Christians and churches to engage appropriately. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us to those particular actions that he wants us to participate in. There are many who are reacting to this crisis but the evil of the oppression doesn’t justify everything being espoused or done. The Lord wants His people to approve that which is excellent – things that are consistent with God’s heart and character. This Sunday, our Community Group leaders and coaches will be meeting and we will be encouraging our CG’s to continue the conversation about racism and injustice and seek how individuals and entire groups are being led to engage in this issue.
As we become more aware and use our voices to speak out against racism and injustice, we must do so with righteous anger while guarding our hearts against self-righteous smugness. The best antidote is to allow the Lord to reveal any of our own prejudices tucked away in the recesses of our hearts and to remember that we are all sinful and desperately in need of grace. This is why Paul says that a deep spiritual maturity is needed when dealing with other people’s sins (Galatians 6:1) because the goal is to see people changed, not shamed and discarded among the unforgiveable. No doubt as we engage with people there will be times when someone will express an ill-advised comment or insensitive remark. Being quick to label people a racist won’t win many hearts and we will end up operating just like the rest of the world, using our social power to ruin reputations and squelch meaningful dialogue. Agreeing that injustice and racism is evil aligns our hearts with God’s heart but knowledge and discernment will keep us on the path so the fruit of our righteousness will bring glory and praise to God.
Thanks PJ - amen :)
Thanks for sharing! The bottom line is how are we as people to respond based on biblical principles. What heart posture should we have when having these conversations.
What can we as Cstone contribute to the radical transformation to make a change? If we don’t say anything, we as a church is complicit to the problem. Cstone has stayed very quiet on controversial topics, but this one is not political. It’s a humanitarian issue that definitely falls in line with the Bible. Can you offer practical ways to make this change as a Christian? As a church? I’m enjoying see more diversity on staff. We need more of this and to be example for one another. Cstone is a very affluent church. Nothing wrong, but we could to do better to bridge the divide or put resources into certain ministries.
I think easy things we can do to stop feeding into this disparity...
1. Help tutor a student
2. Stop the idea of... going to xx where your child will get the best education or live in the best part of the city away from a diverse population
3. See others as God sees us.
I’m sure there’s more...
Also, with more diversity, are we going to position ourselves as a multi cultural church? I was looking at the mission statement recently bc I’m working on mine. It seems a bit vague. Maybe it’s a good time to restructure that and put some more definition about who you are, who you minister to? What makes Cstone unique than other churches and what is the result... though the “passionate” is already implied. All the ministries and things we do should always line up with the mission and help with your decision making process of what ministries to pursue, where resources should go...
By the way, if you haven’t already, you should listen to last week’s Bel Pres sharing!m with P. Dudley and P. Harvey. I don’t normally watch a video twice, but I loved all the biblical context!! “It’s not a skin problem, it’s a sin problem”.
Also, I forget which church is doing this, but they’re marching together in solidarity today! I’ve never heard of a church do this together. So cool!
I know these are challenging times as a church in terms of how to navigate the issues of the world, but I’m excited!!! Finally, we can talk about social issues and how it relates to how we live as Christians!! Talk about real-world application!
Thank you for all you do!