Liberty and Justice for All

Racism as a topic is a growing edge for Delores and me in our knowledge and experience of God. We have been stirred about God’s heart for justice for some time. But racism as an aspect of this has not received in-depth attention until recently.

“Many white Americans tend to see this problem (stories of young black men being killed by white police) as unfortunate incidents based on individual circumstances. Black Americans see a system in which their black lives matter less than white lives. That is a fundamental difference of experience between white and black Americans, between black and white parents, even between white and black Christians. The question is: Are we white people going to listen or not?” Taken from a pastoral letter to white Americans by Jim Wallis — God’s Politics Blog

I made a significant journal entry last September about God possibly using us to advance racial reconciliation. Reflections like the one above have surely contributed to my journey of thought in this area.

Aly, Delores and I Launch Out
When the new season of life groups were being envisioned at our church, I approached our pastor about Delores and me leading a group on racism. He was very positive about our doing this and wanted us to co-lead with Aly Daniels.

Aly is a young African American woman in her mid-twenties and a new friend to us. The group began five weeks ago and currently has ten members. To date it has proven to be the most challenging group Delores and I have ever helped lead. We did not anticipate the challenge of  group members being in so many different places on this subject. As the old song says, “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love by our love, yes, they will know we are Christians by our love”. We are being brought forward in love as we work on this topic together.

My History
In the six decades of my church life, I only remember one teaching on the subject of racism and this was in a seminary class. Besides that, to the best of my memory, I have never heard a sermon or been in a class or Bible study group on this topic. Knowing what I know now, this is amazing to me.

Racism in America
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”, so states King Solomon in his book of wisdom, Ecclesiastes. Nothing could be more apparent in this current season than the fact that God has decided it is time to make further progress in our country in the area of racial reconciliation.

The topic of racism in America is being given voice on every front in the media. The church of Jesus Christ has an important part in America getting to a better place…a place of greater reality in “liberty and justice for all”.

God’s Heart
I am always moved by what the prophet Micah said the Lord requires of us, “…to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God”.  A little later in the text he says, “…and the powerful dictate what they desire; thus they pervert justice.” My desire is to become aware of how my own use of power has contributed to the perverting of justice. Digging into the various aspects of how all this came about in our country is creating a deep compassion in Delores and me. As part of our passion for healthier and more fruitful churches, we want to make a redemptive contribution to the church playing its part in racial reconciliation in our country. Then, as the old song goes,

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

This is Scott,
reporting from the field, for the two of us

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