This week, UniteBoston features Terrance Moore, who was a 2015 graduate of the Boston Fellows program . Terrance hosted a conversation at a local church on race – He suggests that each of us, regardless of ethnicity or culture, should:
1. Be prayerful in processing and acting. We are often too quick to act on serious issues without personal brokenness. To understand the hurt, ask the Lord to take you to the place of your own pain and brokenness when he saved you. Pray for: revelation, healing, growth, reconciliation, restoration, overcoming, humility, compassion, work, burden and conviction. Pray against: insensitivity, inconvenience/sleepiness, pride, self-righteousness. (Joel 2:13; Ps. 34:17-19)
2. Make the pain the priority; don’t ignore or minimize it. Whatever the details of any one case, America’s story includes 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of separate-but-equal, 35 years of racist housing policy, and the current state of mass incarceration, police brutality and discrimination, and militarization of inner-city neighborhoods. #BlackLivesMatter is a response to the message that they don’t. Do not discount the pain. Hurt with your brothers and sisters. Approach the Father with it, with them.
3. Educate yourself to the nuance, depth, and perspectives outside of your own experiences on the issue. Ask black friends about their experiences, and listen with an open heart.
4. Embrace the inconvenience and discomfort of the matter; don’t opt out. This is hard work. We don’t feel qualified. It’s uncomfortable, inconvenient, scary, susceptible to conflict. The church must act in practical ways to restore justice. Sometimes this will mean engaging those who hold harmful and ignorant views on the issues, even close friends or relatives.
5. Don’t forsake the opportunity to minister through bearing burdens for the opportunity “to be right” in your opinion. Don’t try to prove that you “get it.” You can’t, not fully. And that’s the point, in part.
6. Actively participate, but be a guest by not taking the attention off the issue or the amplification of black voices. Ask. Listen. Give voice to people silenced and ignored.
“Overall, the state of racial relations in America is a very dismal one. Luckily, the Church must remember, God is in the business of resurrecting what seems dead. The process of reconciliation begins at the source of God’s salvation for us: compassion. If the Church can undertake America’s racial issues at a heart level where we compassionately seek to hurt, listen, walk, and work with its brothers and sisters of the black community under the healing lordship of our Father, we will be the restorers of justice God has called us to be. To do that, we have to move past intentions and obstacles and embrace the dirty and difficult work of reconciliation; just as Jesus did for us.”
*Note: Originally published in a Boston Fellows email; reprinted with permission