There are plenty of blogs out there on this issue. Very good ones. In the past I have assumed my people were reading those blogs and therefore I did not see how my voice would be an important aspect of shepherding, not just in conveying truth but in also leading as a pastor. I don’t think I can be silent anymore. If you stumble on this as a person outside my church, great. But, for those of you at the Bible Church, I want you to hear your pastor publicly care about recent events in Ferguson, New York, and in many other situations, recently.
I want to begin with the question: How do we respond?
1. We are responding, one way or the other. If you think you are staying out of it by silence, that is a response. That says something. The issues we are facing demand we acknowledge our response and then to be intentional with it. Is it Biblical? Is it defined by the Gospel?
2. I think we need to admit there is something very wrong in our system. When very conservative evangelical leaders, not known for their progressive bent toward social issues, are decrying the handling of police force against minorities lately, then the canary has died in the mineshaft. I think we need to face the facts. Something is very wrong. We certainly need to admit that minorities in this country are experiencing profound hurt. Regardless of all the contingencies and mishandling of that hurt, we should feel compassion and we need to address system. Personal sin is a very crucial doctrine, but so is corporate and systemic sin. We must keep both doctrines at the center of this, and work toward repentance in both domains.
3. We need to acknowledge, if we are a majority ethnicity and/or if we have never experienced racism, that we cannot tell people who have what to feel. I do not know what it is liked to be followed in a store as I window shop. I have never been pulled over out of suspicion due to my race (plenty of time for speeding, unfortunately). My bi-racial status was always accepted in the milieu of the San Fransisco Bay Area. If anything, the fact that I am half Indian, part European, and part Native American, from a privileged family, with a good education, given how I present myself in clothing, and speaking, and the lot, has only opened doors for me. We need to know that living life as an African American is not neutral, even in very liberal cities. I am coming to grips with my own naiveté in these days.
4. We need to pray. There is not much more to be said, but we need to start making this a regular feature of our intercession. That will reveal a lot about what we believe, how we feel, and most importantly it will be used of God to bring transformation by the power of the Gospel.
5. We need to respect our law enforcers still. Remember, this is about a handful of policemen and other leaders in question. The vast majority of our law enforcers are good people, who do their job with justice, who try and protect life, and are comprised of white, black, latino, asian, and more.
6. We need to do something. That is now an agenda for the leadership of our church. I do not have a timetable. I do not have a chart. But, the leadership is praying, talking, and seeking ways of being a church that stands for the glory of God in doing something in our city to show that God is glorified in the unity, love, equality, friendship, partnership, and esteem of all races. Will you join us in seeking God in what He would have of us? Would you be willing to be willing to join with us in addressing these issues as a church for the name and fame of Christ?