The events of the past few weeks have once again sent our country into a polarized state. This is extremely disheartening for the church and those that call themselves followers of Jesus.
There is a song that came out recently called Grand Design. One line in the song says the following, “You (God) made dust your grand design.” Do we believe that as a Christian, and if so, is that valid for all of humanity or just reserved for those that look like, think like, speak like, and have the same, dare I say “political” beliefs that I might have?
As a Christian, if that statement is true, how should that shape the lens through which we look?
The church should reshape reality, not be driven by it.
Living in an all African American community provides us with a little different perspective than most. It certainly provides us with a different lifestyle context.
I was reminded of this the other day when I went out for a run. I used to head to Cleveland, MS (10 miles away) to the track to run, but when COVID-19 took over and shut down the world, parks were not an option. So we created our own. I would leave my house, run through 2 neighborhoods to get to the downtown area where I could then run around the “tracks,” which was roughly six-tenths of one mile.
While running around the large rectangle, people from our community are exercising, or maybe walking to the store. Either way, we pass each other.
That is when this dawned on me…
Why am I not afraid of someone stopping me, questioning me, or jumping me because I don’t have the same skin color resemblance as that of my community? Why do I not have to think about the ramifications or potential outcomes of moving freely in my community? Why am I “accepted,” or why does it at least appear that way?
We have a strong and diverse board of directors.
Our Board President is Ms. LaToya Lee, who took over after Dr. Charles Moore and Dave Sonderman. LaToya has extensive knowledge, leadership, and background specific to the non-profit sector.
LaToya is not only our Board President, but she also is a great friend, and in the light of the recent and past events, she shared a bit of her heart, and I have permission to share that with you now.
“I’m exhausted. Mentally and emotionally. It’s easy not to say anything, but not saying anything adds to the injustices of everything. What is everything? The inability to freely speak without filtering your words so you won’t sound like the BLACK victim. The inability to walk freely and not be judged because you’re the BLACK roamer who may steal or break into someone’s house or car. The inability to dine in a 5-star restaurant or stay at a 5-star hotel or resort without being questioned about your career to see how a BLACK person can afford it. The inability to drive a luxury car without being labeled as scheming to get it because you’re BLACK. The inability to be a good parent because you’re single, with multiple children and BLACK. The inability to speak correctly because you’re actually educated but of course because you’re BLACK and you probably received some type of special scholarship (athletic, 1st generation to go to college, minority, untraditional, etc.), it doesn’t really count. I’ve been silent. I’ve prayed. I pray. I don’t hate white people. I HATE INJUSTICE. Love, pray, stand for justice, and speak! I love you, black man…”
As a white person, I have never had to think about, or even contemplate what LaToya and others feel. I can’t imagine, nor do I pretend to know what that has to be like. I will tell you that Kym cried when she read this because this is a good friend of hers.
I started by saying that our hearts are breaking. I also asked the question regarding the song where it states that God made “dust his grand design.”
Didn’t he make all of us his grand design, or is that just something that we sing about and we don’t believe?
Shouldn’t our hearts break for what breaks God’s?
Racism and racist acts have no place in God’s kingdom because they are contradictory to the very nature of God.
We lament with our brothers and sisters over what continues to happen. We will speak up and speak out against injustice and stand side by side with our brothers and sisters.
Most of us know what Micah 6:8 says. From the NLT, it is worded this way, “ the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
There are so many great police officers in our country. They serve and protect as they were called to, and to all of you, we say thank you. You willingly put yourself in harm’s way to do what is right.
As a collective church, we can no longer afford to stay silent when it comes to issues like this. We cannot leave the car in the parked position; we have to move and do something.
We need to lament with our brothers and sisters. Our heart needs to break for what breaks God’s, which has nothing to do with our political stance one way or another. God is bigger, and if we sing that on Sunday, then we need to put that into action Monday through Saturday.
Our goal as a ministry has been to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. That requires us to stand when we need to stand and have a voice. That prompts us to call things wrong when they are not right. That calls us to push against systems that are not working well and need a change.
God made dust His grand design, and Jesus simply said, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Lament, pray, speak, and “do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.”