Happy Friday, friends!
It has been another remarkable week. Protests against racism and police brutality continue around the world, and there is a new groundswell of popular interest in and support for anti-racist efforts.
As Christians, we gladly join in these efforts as a simple outworking of the gospel in our cultural context. I hope it’s not a flash in the pan. I’m praying and hoping and learning how to work for the long-term systemic change we need to ensure that we don’t go “back to normal” in a few weeks.
I find myself cautiously encouraged by the mass support we are seeing for justice right now. As Jemar Tisby has been saying, “Something different is happening this time…” And while some celebrities and politicians might be just jumping on the anti-racism bandwagon to garner fans or votes, and least this is the bandwagon they’re jumping on!
As the Apostle Paul said about those who were preaching Christ for false motives while he was in prison, “What does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Phil 1:18).
So let us continue to repent and lament and pray and hope and listen and learn to work for justice, then, as a simple outworking of our Lord’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves. We hope the curated links this week will help you to do just that (and there are quite a few)!
- The editor of Christianity Today is calling for the church to make restitution for racial sin. My friend JR Rozko called this article “a profound and poignant summary of the history and realities that we (white Christians) must grapple with in this moment.”
- Esau McCaulley contends that Christians coming to terms with racism need to be re-enchanted by the Resurrection.
- Another one from Esau McCaulley, from last year: Preaching Against Racism Is Not a Distraction from the Gospel
- The AND Campaign has some helpful Steps for Christian Civic Engagement on Racial Injustice.
- We pulled together some resources for anti-racism for our church.
- From NPR: Why Talking About Systemic Racism Can Be Difficult For Evangelical Pastors
- An Open Letter to My Fellow White Christians, by Margaret Renkl: “We created Derek Chauvin.”
- Need some resources for prayer? Rich Villodas wrote a prayer of lament for these troubled times, and Blair Linn wrote a prayer of defiant hope.
- Rosie Villodas on how to talk to your kids about racism.
- A brief article from me expanding on some of my thoughts above: Preaching Black Lives Matter With False Motives?
- We had TWO podcast episodes this week, Andrew Root talking about the end of youth ministry, and Mike Frost talking about what the pandemic is revealing about the church and Western society.
- The link between racism and mental health issues in the Black community.
- Finally, here’s a beautiful portrait of the Black painter Henry Ossawa Tanner, who created one of my favorite paintings: The Annunciation.
That’s all for this week, friends! I leave you with a thought from Juliet Liu, pastor at Life on the Vine Christian Community in the Chicago suburbs:
Asphyxiation was often the cause of death for those who were crucified. Contemplating, this morning, a Lord who lived and died in solidarity with those who have cried, ‘I can’t breathe.’ This is the Messiah now reigning from the heavens to establish a just, mercy-filled kingdom.
Grace and peace,
Ben S [for Gravity Leadership]
P.S. Join us later this month for a FREE Learning Lab on Leading in Anxious Times. We’ll be discussing Edwin Friedman’s classic leadership book A Failure of Nerve and what it has to teach us in our current cultural moment. Wed June 24 at 1pm EDT (we’ll send the recording after if you can’t make the time). Register and join us!
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