JP, a minister, has another Comment of the Day, this one inspired by his own recent experience and item #1 of the post, “Wednesday Ethics Jolts, 6/17/2020: I Think We Have Our Answer To Question 13…..” That note concerned the meltdown of the National Book Critics Circle over the refusal of one member to endorse the group’s proposed statement on the George Floyd Freakout. Unfortunately, JP encountered something similar…
You have spent some time on the first issue. Like with all the Covid-19 type pandering. I mostly just roll my eyes when I see it and move forward. After all, I don’t really put much stock in it. I am a firm believer that I be defined by my actions, not by my words. Words are cheap and can change at the drop of a hat. So when all these things started happening, I thought it was a good time to address it to my congregation. I’ll spare you the details, but it seemed to go over quite well. Then we get to Monday.
On Monday I get an email from a local group of ministers (from different denominations) in my town.Once a month we get together to talk about how we as a group can help the community. On their last meeting they wanted to put out some kind of public statement. This is what they decided:
“Micah 6:8 What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” God’s love embraces all and our Christian faith requires of us that same love for others. We confess our sin of racism that continues to plague our nation. May we be people of God’s justice and God’s peace!”
I think my nine year old could have easily picked this apart. But I wanted to help, so I wrote the following reply:
I have three problems with the statement as it is.
First: I have no clue why you’re writing this other than to…grandstand? Virtue signal? It is what is going on in the world? If you have a purpose what is it?
Second. You make racism sound like original sin. This actually creates the third problem.
Third: Not everyone is guilty of it. But even if we are or you are assuming you are, you take on no responsibility or accountability to change.
If I were to write one it would sound more like this:
“As Christians (MA) we daily see a broken and unjust world. It is tempting to look for a man-made solution to ongoing problems, but we know there is only one solution to worldly injustice: being in the mindset of Christ (Phil. 2:5-11). There is no imperfection, brokenness, racism and/or injustice in the mind of Christ and it is our only chance to truly overcome the pain and suffering in the world. However, we recognize that there are those who will claim to love God, but hate their brother (1 John 4:20). While these people wear Christianity like a white coat, they are liars and it is our duty as those in the mindset of Christ not to tolerate their behavior. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ against these so-called Christians and have a responsibility to call them out on their unchristian like behavior. We are not white Christians (though some white Christians have it easier because they are white) and we are not black Christians (though some black Christians have it harder because they are black). We are Christians united in the body (Gal. 3:28) and stand united against ideas contrary to the nature and body of Christ.”
Now, While I know many of you would disagree with the answer, it is very much in line with Christian thinking and the association.
Here is one of the replies I received: “WOW! JP (Minster of CHURCH), I would like to say I appreciate the Ministerial Alliance for taking the initiative to write a letter addressing racism. Racism is a problem in the world and also in our city. I believe Christ wanted us to confess our sins. Many people who call themselves Christians grandstand by not acknowledging their sins. I think it’s appalling to have members of the black community as members of your church and feel it is not necessary to address racism. It seems like you don’t care about the issue and just want to whitewash the matter. I hope we all take on the responsibility to change ourselves and our ways so that we please GOD. I also hope you are advocating for change in the world and in the community. You can call me anytime because I would love to sit and talk with you about the effects of racism and how it has impacted my life; “if you care to hear”.
I should point out this is a white women. My reply was… not as kind as I should have been. My wife said I should have waited to write back. But I’m more struck by the fact that I did nothing wrong, it was a group of peers who respect each other, NO ONE stood up for me, and I was being thrown to the wolves.
My whole point to all of this: I live in a town of 15,000 people. Don’t think you’re going to escape this. Don’t think people who you trust are going to give you the benefit of the doubt, however DO the right thing. It might be easy to just ignore it and pretend it is all going to go away and maybe it might for you, but people are losing their minds over this stuff and we have to hold them accountable as well.