This was the statement I gave to my church in April to ask for church members and attendees to join us in conversation and prayer. Another friend also gave her statement on the same occasion.
One of my most distinct memories is from middle school. I was walking home from school with my Chinese friend when I felt something hard hit my shoulder. When we turned around, we saw two white boys picking up more rocks to throw at us. One them shouted, “Stupid chinks,” and the other, “Go back to China.” I was so stunned that I didn’t know what to say or what to do. From that moment on, though, I realized that racism was still very much a reality and not just something that I studied in my history books.
Today, I don’t get hit by physical rocks anymore, but I still get the message that I don’t belong; that I’m different; that I am less than. The stones come in the form of systems, institutions, policies, attitudes, word choice and silence. I don't get hit by physical rocks anymore, but I still get the message that I don't belong... Click To Tweet
And so I want our church* to be place where we can have the difficult and messy conversation of race – covered in grace and the love that God has called us to. He has called us to love one another – all of us – as He has loved us. John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” But He hasn’t only called us to love one another, He has also called us to a ministry of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. As he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
We are part of a broken world – a broken community – and we need to stand in that gap to be the reconcilers and to reach out with God’s grace and love.
A few of us, through individual conversations and prayer have felt the urging to continue to have these conversations on racial justice and reconciliation. We’re just in the beginnings of talking about race and how we, as a church, as Christians, can be those reconcilers.
We are meeting together to pray and for God to guide and lead us in these conversations, in repentance, with grace and wisdom. If you are interested, we would love for you to join us.
In addition, we will be having a joint service* next Sunday as a step towards recognizing the need for racial justice and unity within the body of Christ. Worshipping together will give us a glimpse of that reconciliation – where we will all worship God together no matter what denomination, race, culture, income, politics and other differences we may have because we’ve broken down those walls. After the worship service, we will hold space during Soul Food where we can have conversations and share ideas with members of both churches. Please contact us to let us know if you are interested in taking part so we can look for you on Sunday and also if you are interested in participating in our prayers and discussion with us.
*church names have been removed
Good for you for starting the tough conversations. I hope they go well!
Churches should definitely be having more of these conversations – because a church that doesn’t embrace diversity isn’t truly following the Bible’s teachings. Thanks for sharing your experience!