Christian Living

The Black Lives Conversation and Me

My blog has been silent for a long time. There are a few reasons behind it as life has gone through some adjustments over the past year or so.

Finding my writing voice feels low on the list of things to do in a year where I had a heart attack in February, my oldest daughter graduated, I started a new job, we moved because of the job, after settling in the holiday rush came followed by COVID-19.

The main topic of conversation online now is racism. I grew up on a border suburb of Minneapolis, worked downtown for a couple of years, and the images and news from my home area boggle my mind. We use that term but think about the game of Boggle where all the pieces are jumbled up and you have to make sense out of them.

It is an accurate picture of everything I knew and experienced versus what has transpired. My initial reaction was shock and disbelief. This was not the Minnesota I knew. For years I touted my home state as a place far from the division and anger of racism and deep rooted prejudices. Apparently my experience was more unique than I thought.

Something Important

Though I have some things ready to go or at work for the blog, I keep finding myself questioning whether now is the right time for them. What we are going through is important, necessary.

When the big issues come up we have to deal with them. Putting it off again only makes things worse. Thomas Jefferson considered the Declaration of Independence an ideal time to deal with the abolition of slavery. Others believed it too volatile and cut it from the founding document of our nation. Eighty-four years later it exploded into the Civil War.

This season isn’t the first time we’ve heard the call to recognize Black Lives Matter. In many ways it is a different movement. I find messages are better articulated and easier to support. I hope others are reading what I have in an effort to better understand the angles I can’t from my own standing point.

There are a lot of things I do not know and cannot truly know. I can only empathize in ways to help others see my heart.

Something Personal

And yet, it seems everyone needs to say something. Writing it out requires work, but it forces one to be careful and certain about every word. The process is deeply personal if we do it right, and that’s the only way to do it.

I feel the rushed response of “All Lives Matter” stomped down the first attempt at this conversation. A television host was benched this week because her words were “careless” in a group meeting.

I like to consider myself a man of words, yet I am constantly without them lately. Not because I don’t care or prefer to be silent, but because my words seem inadequate. On “Black Out Tuesday” I read several posts encouraging us not to try to use our own words, but to share and hear the words of men and women who lived the struggle. Good advice.

Something Biblical

As a Christian and pastor, I remind myself and others of one rule when it comes to race, gender, language, economic status, or any other way we might categorize or divide each other. In Christ we are all the same.

You were all baptized into Christ, and so you were all clothed with Christ. This means that you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26-28, NCV

To a group which was easily divided, Paul wrote a reminder of how each and every Believer is the pinnacle of pyramid. We are each a fully adopted son of God, co-heir with Christ, with all the rights and privileges that affords us. No one is greater or lesser than another.

Reminds of Jesus’ words:

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.”

John 3:16a, NCV

And for those who maybe don’t believe in Jesus, God loves us all equally with a love greater than we could ever imagine. Jesus didn’t say, “God so loved the Jews,” or, “God so loved ‘the white man,’ ” or, “God so loved the people who have their lives all cleaned up and don’t swear or drink or smoke or yell at their kids or hate their job.”

God so loved the world. Not just His friends, or the people who agree with Him, or those who bribe Him to get on His good side (which isn’t a thing that works, by the way). God loved, and loves, everyone.

You can read in the Gospels how frustrated and angry Jesus became when people tried to create hierarchy, belittle others, or hold someone back. With God, any and all are welcome. He wiped away all boundaries except one, Jesus.

Okay, I got off track, but you get a glimpse into my process here.

  • God loves all and welcomes all. So will I.
  • Jesus was angry and took a stand when people the people in charge or charged to protect made life more difficult for or demeaned others. So will I.
  • Jesus and the Apostles welcomed the difficult conversation in order to lead others to a redemptive understanding of the Gospel. So will I.