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June 11 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

by Pastor Mark Adams

June 11, 2020
I imagine that like me, many of you have wondered how to respond to the murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.  

Nicky Gumbel, author of the popular Alpha outreach Bible Study series writes, "When injustices around the world are screaming 'your life is of no value,' the Church cannot remain silent. Apathy makes excuses. Love finds a way."

Agreed! But what is our "way?"

Rev. Kevin L. Walker, pictured above, is the superintendent of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church's Metropolitan District (New Jersey and portions of New York including New York City). He has some wonderful suggestions and I thought it would be good to share some of them in the fervent hope that this will help us find ways to help. The following are taken from his blog:

  1. Sit in the lament with those that are lamenting – without offering suggestions on "Another way to see this…" or "At least, things aren’t as bad as they were." Lament is not a time to soothe or escape the discomfort of the pain. Neither is it a time to invalidate the realities that black and brown people face every day in this world. Lament is designed to openly and honestly express the pain of the situation. You bring hope when you sit in the pain with me without trying to discredit, ease, or escape my pain.  

  2. Listen to learn, not to refute. They say that experience is the best teacher. While it may not be your experience, listening to the experiences of black and brown people in TODAY'S America, and what we've been forced to learn and endure just so we can survive, will teach you more than a course on racism and injustice detached from story and experience will ever teach you. Story and experience are POWERFUL.  

  3. When acts of racism and injustice happen, break the habit of vilifying the victim and putting his/her past on display. And, don't allow others to do it. There is no justification for any act of racism or injustice. Whether it is caught on camera, or (as in the majority of cases) is hidden from the camera, it is wrong. It is sinful. It is dehumanizing and strips people of their dignity – PERIOD.  

  4. Use your voice to speak out against it. Do not give in to the fear of the backlash you might possibly receive from your friends, your community, and/or, your colleagues. When we sit silent, we sit complicit. This perpetuates the injustice and allows the racist acts/attitudes/patterns to go unchallenged.  

  5. Read and educate yourself on the ongoing issues with racism and injustice in the world. Listen to podcasts. Watch Ted Talks. Further, and this is the hard truth, educate yourself on the ongoing issues with racism and injustice in the Church. Then, with the power of the Holy Spirit, refuse to allow it to continue under your watch.
     
  6. Hope with me that Jesus will return soon and right every unjust and racist action that has taken place in the world. Until then, we lament, we speak out, we challenge unjust systems/actions/attitudes, and we long for the day where life will be here on earth as it is in Heaven.  

Redland, we must remember that "When one part of the body hurts, we hurt all over." (1st Corinthians 12:26 CEV) Part of our body is hurting. Ironically to be healthy, we need to learn to hurt with them.

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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