"Martin Luther King Jr. said,' There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.' This study is not about discrediting the church or Christians. I love the church. My concern for the church and for the well-being of its people motivates my exploration of Christian complicity in racism. The goal is to build up the body of Christ by 'speaking the truth in love,' even if that truth comes at the price of pain." - Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise
I 100% agree with Dr. King Jr. and Mr. Tisby. Anyone who knows me knows that I love God and the church. However, through my observations and experiences through the years, even recently, I must say that I am deeply disappointed. I've always been one to stand for what is right, not matter what or who is involved. That is not just because it's the moral thing to do, but it's what Jesus modeled in scripture.
I've been taking time to read and reflect on history and scripture to gain a better understanding as to why the church culture (at least in America) has become what it is, especially in predominantly Black churches. While I believe that the common struggles are now more often about power than skin-color, the issues are still rooted in the culture of slavery from the beginning of the American church...It just looks different today, and is more subtle since it's become "normal". However, my goal is that in everything I would get understanding. It's why I ask questions. It's why I initiate tough conversations. It's why I too speak the truth in love, whether to people or to power (which often excludes itself from people).
Jesus was never silent nor inactive about injustice. He saw ALL partiality as sin. He did not "play it safe". He did not place the power of His "brand" over the power of His blood. He did not settle with "pretty, political" conversations and marketing campaigns to say, "See, look what I'm doing guys! Please don't cancel me!". He challenged leaders for real transformation, without even having a title. He worked to dismantle systemic problems that did not reflect His heart for humanity. He spoke and stood against the house of prayer being a market place and "pastors" acting like slave-masters...and the funny part is that He wasn't always "dainty" about it either. He was a true agent of change.
I encourage every Christian to learn about Christianity in the context of the American church while aligning it with what Jesus taught and lived in scripture. When you identify the discrepancies, consider how God may want to bring justice through YOU. Often times, that thing in your gut that says "something is not right" - is RIGHT! lol Silence will never change it. Inaction will never break it. Prayer and faith alone will never move it. The dysfunction and strongholds will only grow bigger and stronger. So to what extent are YOU available for God to bring justice, not just in "the Church", but in YOUR church, as well as YOUR neighborhood, YOUR job, YOUR sphere of influence, etc? Sure, it may come with some costs, but God never orders what He cannot pay.
Truth in Love