A Call to Listen
This is a time to listen. For me, as a white, English woman, it's a time to listen and to learn.
So after a few verses and thoughts of mine, I have given this blog over as a platform for black voices. Here are 5 people who speak into the situation with far more knowledge and insight than I ever could. Worth listening to!
When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, the LORD appeared to him at night and said: 'I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land'.
2 Chronicles 7 v 11-14
This is a call to prayer
This scripture speaks directly to many of current crises in the world. Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, India are among the countries which battling a plague of locusts. There is drought in Europe and the States. The entire world has been affected by COVID-19.
It also speaks to the situation in the States, where a black minority has been discriminated against, abused and even murdered for too long. This is the crisis I'm going to focus on.
I do not presume as a privileged, white woman to tell people who have been oppressed for centuries what they should do.
To my black brothers and sisters in Christ, and to any other black person who is reading this - Welcome and I am so sorry.
I cannot walk in your shoes, but I can walk along side you, shoulder to shoulder,
hand in hand if you accept me.
I can listen to you and follow your leadership on how to change society.
I can speak up when I hear any form of racism or discrimination,
but I can also be quiet to give you space to speak.
I can examine my heart before the Lord and I can be willing to change.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139 v 23-24
This is a call to examine our hearts
To my non-black brothers and sisters in Christ and to any other non-black readers -
Welcome. I want to say a few things in response to things I've heard and read.
Yes, of course All Lives Matter.
That's almost the point! Nobody is saying that a life is unimportant, except people like that white cop who killed George Floyd. Black lives matter.
Yes, many cops are good people doing a difficult job
It's just a few bad cops, not the system
It's true that many American police officers are appalled at what one cop did - but why did the 3 other cops who were there not stop him? What is it about the police department that meant they didn't speak out? Why was a policeman still on active duty after 18 complaints against him? Why are there so many other similar stories of the police's treatment of the black community across America?
This is systemic, institutionalised, endemic and national.
It is more complex than a few bad apples spoiling the good ones.
Yes, looting and rioting are not right
The bible clearly teaches that, but it also clearly teaches that racism, discrimination, violence, oppression and injustice are wrong.
Yes, many of the issues black people face are due to poverty
And yes, this means that poor, white people also face some of these same issues and disadvantages. But a poor, white person has advantages that they may not even notice, because of the colour of their skin.
Jesus brought good news for the poor, regardless of their ethnicity.
John Piper, the well known bible teacher, who lives in Minneapolis,
wrote this prayer on May 29th 2020.
O Jesus for this you died!
That you might reconcile hopeless, hostile people to God and to each other.
You have done it for millions through faith.
Do it, Lord Jesus, in Minneapolis, we pray.
A Platform for Black Voices
The rest of this blog I leave for black voices.
London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco
A balanced speech from the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, whose cousin was killed by the San Francisco police department in 2006.
Barak Obama, Former President of USA
You cannot keep politics out of this debate, but this is not about party politics. Barak Obama talks to the families who have lost loved ones, to young people in America, to law enforcement agencies who have marched with the protesters and to local activists. He considers history, reforms, voting, protests and the civil rights movement of the 1960's.
A wide ranching, thoughtful, hopeful speech.
Tamika Mallory, Protester
Tamika Mallory has given a voice to the passion that many people feel and explains why the buildings are burning.
Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Activist
Al Sharpton talks about a different time and a different season - a more hopeful one - at George Floyd's memorial service. He uses the powerful and poignant phrase 'your knee on our neck' to describe the black experience in America.
Pastor Agu Irukwu, Senior Pastor, Jesus House, London
A response from London from a man of God, who is a black, British, Nigerian Christian. He gives us guidance on 6 appropriate responses for Christians, and for the church. He finishes with a powerful prayer.
This is a call to listen
This is a call to action
This is a call to prayer
One final thought - What would Jesus do?
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
We Need to Talk About Race - Ben Lindsay
God's New Tribe - John Kpikpi
July's People - Nadine Gordimer
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home - Richard Foster