A year ago there was hope. The shock of Ahmaud Arbery’s mugging, then Breonna Taylor, and then George Floyd provided a time when there was hope that white evangelical America was actually listening. I loaned out books. I bought books for others. I invited folks into conversation.
Then… well, we got tired. White fatigue set back in.
How hard have we made it, as white evangelicals, for people of color to be in our supposed multi-ethnic spaces? How hard have we made it for black brothers and sisters to voice their concern, their pain, and even their joy in our spaces? Some examples:
Esau McCaulley gets to the core again as he unpacks the trial of Derek Chauvin, convicted yesterday in the murder of George Floyd.
The United States demands too much wisdom from Black parents. We must walk that fine line between telling the truth about how cruel America can be toward Black bodies and souls and the hope that our children can be their free Black selves. America requires too much of its clerics, who must minister, console, lead and organize a people weary of Black death.
In a time when the American Church should have fallen to its knees in repentance before God, we chose to double down on our stiff-necked responses and tried to hold onto what little power that remained.
It’s more than being tone deaf, but it’s something I’ve mentioned for years and it’s now being exposed in deeper ways for a simple reason: white evangelicals are refusing to listen to what is going on around them.
Over time when visiting Montgomery, Alabama we’ve been able to visit different significant spots regarding Civil Rights history.
One we regularly visit is not the place itself, but where the business is located. We always frequent Prevail Coffee when in Montgomery because their coffee is great, but it’s also built on the site of the old Kress Department Store, where Rosa Parks worked. Just down the block is a statue of Parks representing the place where she got on the bus that day in 1955 and refused to move back a few blocks later when the driver ordered her to do so.
One quote I saw going around on social media went something like this: “If you wondered if you would stand up for civil rights in the 1960s, what you’re doing right now is what you would be doing back then.”
It’s taking me two days to work my way through the foreword and introduction of Dennis Edwards’ new book Might from the Margins: The Gospel’s Power to Turn the Tables on Injustice. I read a paragraph, put the book down, weep and repent, then try to get through the next paragraph.
There is a paragraph to quote here from his book that answers the shameful tact white Christians are trying to use on the phrase “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”