Ready to take a step of faith?
Tired. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Ashamed. Enraged.
The events of last week have left many of us with a lot of emotions to unpack. Police brutality. Systematic Racism. Politicians pandering for power. It seems like we are stuck listening to really bad song on Spotify that just keeps repeating.
The cycle seems to be the same. Something happens. Outrage ensues. People argue on Social Media until their preconceived notions about “the other side” is confirmed, then we dig in doubling down on our beliefs, throwing up our hands thinking nothing will ever change and with a new month, a new incident and on the cycle goes.
For some of us, this cycle is frustrating, causing us to lose sleep, friends and disconnect from family members. For others, this cycle is literally life or death. In this viscous cycle we are left asking: Where is God? Where is the Church? Isn’t the Gospel supposed to be Good News?
The Church has historically been good at meeting needs. When a natural disaster hits, we are there with hammers and casseroles in hand. But when something that shakes the core of our society happens, more often than not the church takes a step back instead of stepping forward.
Why is that? In scripture, the phrase “do not be afraid” is one of the most common phrases used. Yet I think we are afraid. Some are afraid of their congregations losing members or upsetting the fragile peace that exists within our congregations while others are afraid of putting themselves out there only to come up short. Afraid that the gospel is not big enough to handle the ill of our society, afraid that the church has no place in uncomfortable spaces.
Many White Christians live in comfortable spaces. I know I do. I hesitate to go into spaces that are uncomfortable. I know more now than ever that this is a privileged position. Many of our brothers and sisters of color spend a lot of time in uncomfortable spaces, in white spaces. That said, when the white church is forced to deal with complex societal issues, we step back, reinforcing our position in our comfortable space, instead of stepping out to address the issue because that space is uncomfortable and rare for most white Christians.
When faced with struggle many Israelites begged to return to Egypt because they knew what life was before and did not know if God would sustain them as they moved forward. Nostalgia has held the church back for so long. Many plead to go back to the days where our churches were packed and everything was closed on Sunday. We see the past with rose colored glasses forgetting the bad (especially for people of color) that those days brought.
Yet if we trust God to move….if we trust God to sustain us…..If we trust that God is big enough….there might just be something that God is doing in the world that is better than what was before. Yet, we cannot enter into what God is calling us to be if we keep stepping back into a false reality of what was. We are being called to step into uncomfortable spaces.
Part of me knows that it is a privileged view to think we can simply walk into uncomfortable spaces when so many are pushed into them. I think that is why it is so important for us, white church, to stand with our brothers and sisters of color. God calls us to love to stand with those who seek justice and use the privilege that we have to move the world to a more equitable place. This is our moment to step up and advocate in spaces we have hesitated to go before.
While there are so many miles to go on the journey towards justice, perhaps God is calling you and your church to simply concentrate on the mile or two around you. Who are those hurting in your community? Who can you stand with as they face the injustice around them?
If we are going to begin breaking this cycle of violence, racism and political boxing matches we must start where we are. The old adage, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep” works here. Friends, White Church, we have a long way to go. Let’s get to stepping.