I am still processing through the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery. (The story is HERE if you haven’t yet seen or heard.)
There is mourning and lament. There is a deeper call of the Spirit to keep stepping up… a journey I have been on for several years now. A journey to be anti-racist.
The journey began when a friend referred me to the book The New Jim Crow. It was a shattering moment for me. The book gave me a new paradigm of thinking.
We were living in the Twin Cities and the journey took me through the shootings of Jamar Clark in North Minneapolis and then Philando Castille in a tiny suburb between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Philando’s murder had come the day after the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and the two together grieved me so deeply my wife and I actually went to a protest rally.
Moving to Alabama, I knew my journey would be accelerated. I joined a group of churches who are involved in talking together about racial justice. Alabama is home to the Equal Justice Initiative, so I read Just Mercy. My relationships with black pastors and churches has deepened.
Now… this. This… lynching. Today, I lament.
In the past couple of weeks I have watched “protests” at state capitals and other places over the “stay at home” orders. People marching for their right to get a haircut. Armed white men.
One of those protests took place in front of the same governor’s mansion I had been at to rally with people lamenting the shooting of Philando. The irony wasn’t lost on me. I would bet money that a lot of the folks in front of the governor’s mansion to protest “stay at home” orders were angry at African Americans for protesting Philando’s death.
I have heard folks say, “I’m tired of these stay at home orders for the last two months.”
Fair enough. I’m tired of black men getting lynched in America.
I am weary of organized white terrorists who hide behind masks protesting over their inconveniences while black men can’t jog in freedom in their own neighborhoods.
I am weary of fundamentalist Christians bringing out their charts about the endtimes, “wary” of government control (from a government they voted for in 2016) while they say nothing about the above average death rate of black Americans from this same virus.
This collect for Social Justice in the Book of Common Prayer (2019) has become my Psalm of Lament:
Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression; and to help us use our freedom RIGHTLY in the establishment of JUSTICE in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.