Why are we so afraid to talk about the racial issues that are presented to us? In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case we have multiple opportunities to dialog on the topic of racism, but I find many Christ followers have remained relatively silent.
It appears to me to be a problem linked to our ability to listen. Are we hearing the painful cries beneath the surface uttered by our brothers and sisters of color? We get distracted by tangential things that don’t move the process forward. Things like “what about black on black crime, or color on color.” Certainly that is a concern, but it is also a distraction from hearing the real pain. I’ve heard criticisms like, “the voices we always hear aren’t worthy of listening to. There are welfare cheats, and people trying to get into the media spotlight, there are those who’ve abandoned their families and others who’ve squandered opportunities” …and the list goes on.
I suggest that we set all of those people aside, take them out of the mix completely and I propose that we will still hear the voices of millions who are crying out for justice and mercy to a God that they are trying to walk humbly with. And we have to listen! We need to listen, to hear the cries beneath the surface.
When I went on the Justice Journey I learned how my privilege affects the way I think and act. I think many in the dominant culture, of which I’m a part, only feel comfortable when everyone looks like them, even if that’s an ungodly attitude.
I recently read a helpful blogpost by Noel Castellanos, the CEO of CCDA (Christian Community Development Association). He said, “The actuality today is that, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington DC, most African-Americans are still waiting for the day when they will be judged and treated more by the content of their character, than by the color of their skin. While we acknowledge that much progress has been made related to race, we must conclude that our nation still struggles with issues of racism that must not be ignored if we are going to continue to make progress.”
I agree with Castellanos about the struggle that is still happening in our nation, but what about in our churches?
He goes on to say, “The truth is, the church is not fully engaged in confronting systemic injustice to address oppression that destroys lives and entire communities. Instead, we too often sit on the sidelines without getting personally involved. Worse, there is minimal organizational investment by our churches, which instead opt to spend millions on buildings and programs for our own comfort and edification, while throwing crumbs to the poor. Instead of working seriously to transform our most vulnerable communities by creating jobs and investing in rebuilding neighborhoods from within these communities, we argue about whether this kind of activity detracts us from the real Gospel-centered work of telling people about Jesus.”
What do you think about his thoughts and about how we can move forward in dialogue?
Anita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.