I grew up in the church. I went to bible college, if only for a year. I even work at a church. All that to say, I’m pretty well immersed in church culture. White church culture, that is. The face of Christianity that most of North America sees. And really, I do love the Church. I work at a great church that I feel really loves and cares for people. Not that it’s perfect, but it’s certainly trying. Despite that, I feel the weight of my skin in the church.
During the civil rights movement, the church stood by and was generally silent. Most Christians now would consider that to be a mistake, yet here we are suffering the same mistakes. When the Black Lives Matter movement started, I wondered if we’d see support from the Church. When Alton Sterling was murdered while selling cds in a parking lot, I wondered if they’d care. When Philando Castile was killed and bled out over a live streamed video, I wondered if Christians would speak out. And they did, just not in the way I wanted or expected. Christian friends came out of the woodwork to defend the officers doing their jobs, rationalizing how they could have been in fear of their lives, as if admitting they were wrong would cause our society to collapse.
Is this the legacy the Church wants? To defend injustice for the sake of order? To forsake the plight of their black and brown brothers and sisters because it might cause division to admit a problem exists? Even now, I see Christians giving into fear mongering and believing the Christian thing to do is to protect yourself rather than take any sort of risk to protect those who are indisputably in danger of losing their lives. What would Jesus do?
I’ve had people ask me, as a black person, how they can make their churches more diverse. My dream is that one day we, the church, can one day effectively reach people outside of our own socioeconomic circles. To do so, we need to do better. We need to be better. We need to stand up for justice. Stand alongside those who are oppressed. Fight alongside them, instead of standing on the sidelines. All we hear otherwise is “Hey, I don’t love you but Jesus does.” So why would we listen?
28 Days is a project about perspectives of people whose lives intertwine with the black struggle either personally or through others close to them. Along with their perspective they entrust us with what they hope for moving forward.
We hope this helps drive conversation, breaks down barriers and incites change.
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