Sometimes in our lives we feel like we can’t do things because we might upset someone. We know the boundaries, the rules, the expectations, and the acceptable compromises in our social circles.
But sometimes something happens and our thinking changes. We’re in the same groups, but the logic doesn’t work anymore. The shortcomings, pitfalls, and injustice are more obvious. We were not purposefully overlooking things before, it’s just that now we see and we can’t go back.
Nor should we. Compromise is not bad in the right context, but it can’t take the place of justice. We have to figure it out again and hopefully this time all that’s left is seeing the people, how the people are being treated, and what it means for our culture that all of us are created in the image of God.
God never meant for us to all agree or speak the same language to build our towers to heaven on the sinking sand of our own sin. It’s ok to think differently, challenge ideas, confront what is wrong, and systemically change our own thinking. It’s even ok to upset people.
We’re meant to encourage, discourage, test, try, challenge, and exhort each other toward bringing the vision of God’s kingdom into our earthy accommodations. Which sounds good, but this is messier business than we might want to take part in. Our ideas might put us outside of the realm of normal, sometimes even what is accepted, in our circles.
Some of us may feel a great risk in standing up against the history of injustice we’ve been enculturated not to see. Our opinions might cause people to give us the side eye. People might say we’re wrong and they’re right. You might have to find new groups and people to help you grow in faith and mission. There will be messy conversations I hope. That’s ok. Sometimes this can’t be helped.
Even just small moments of speaking up to someone you know can be nerve-wracking, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Sometimes our people are waiting for that nudge of change and maybe you taking a stand and risking a little bit of your belonging might make the change come sooner. Risk it.
I’d like to avoid offending people. I’d like to offer middle ground in every discussion, but sometimes, and arguably more often than we do, we have to take a stand.
We have to start saying the hard words.
We have to speak up.
Whether our journey started yesterday or years ago we have to be people of integrity and take a stand against injustice in meaningful ways using our voices, our bodies, our communities, and our vote to change the future.
Be brave and realize it’s hard for everyone in different ways.
If you’re white and just beginning your journey into antiracism work the best thing you can do is put yourself in the place to listen well. Don’t go and ask a million things of black activists, leaders, acquantances or friends, just put yourself in a position to listen. If you have questions or feel uncomfortable find a (probably white) friend (don’t wear out brown people more, they are tired) doing the same work to talk it out with. (Don’t have anyone? Pick me! – Instagram, Facebook, email) Open up your feeds and change who you are following to include more people of color, who are addressing racism, teaching activism, and taking a new way forward. Listen. Read books. Be as open as you can to hearing new perspectives. Avoid being defensive. Commit yourself to listening and learning quietly. Find other people who are going through the same process to walk alongside. You can do this.
Our culture is on the brink of change regarding how policing and systemic racism collide and it’s time to get on the right side of history. We’ve got this.
Here are some people I’m following you can find Instagram or facebook: Terence Lester, Osheta Moore, Austin Channing Brown, Latasha Morrison, NAACP.
Here are some books to read and appreciated: https://bookshop.org/lists/anti-racism-resources-i-ve-read
God’s got this, too. It’s going to be ok. But we have to also work hard alongside to make important changes in our nation.
PS – It’s also ok to be quiet while you learn. It’s actually very important <3