This past week, the president of our denomination, Randy Remington, sent a statement to all the pastors entitled “Uniting the Foursquare Family Against Racism” and calling us to a corporate time of prayer and fasting for three days beginning tomorrow (https://resources.foursquare.org/uniting-the-foursquare-family-against-racism/). Many people in our community struggle with what to say, think, or how to respond in light of the many political narratives in the media regarding racism. Inevitably any statement I make will be categorized as left or right, not enough or too much. For me and many in our church, this is not a political issue; it is a personal and moral one.
As I mentioned two weeks ago, when Keith Jenkins spoke, my silence, in the past, regarding racism in our nation has spoken volumes, and I can no longer be silent. First, racism is wrong in every form. I stand with my black brothers and sisters against this evil that has ravaged our nation.
What should our response and engagement be with a politically divided and emotionally charged issue such as this one? Here’s what I’m doing and would encourage our church to follow: I’m listening. I’m learning. I’m reading. I’m seeking to understand. I’m turning down the rhetoric the media and social media is pushing on us and turning up the voice of Jesus and His word. I am not choosing a political agenda. Instead, I am wholeheartedly seeking the agenda of Jesus. And here’s what I know about Jesus: He is near to the brokenhearted. Listen, there is brokenness in our nation. And people are grieving. Some are doing it in anger. Rather than standing in judgment over their grief or anger, I am choosing to be near to them; to stand with them; to walk with them; to weep with them; to sit with them, and listen to their stories. Minimizing or disregarding the pain and perspectives of others, especially when it challenges our worldview, is, at a minimum selfish, if not sin. And it certainly does not represent the way of Jesus.
Jesus is also concerned about justice and injustice. Justice is God’s business. The entire Bible is one long narrative of God’s restorative justice at work culminating in the resurrection of Jesus and His invitation for reconciliation with Him and each other. That’s why the church must lead in this, not follow. It has always been God’s heart for justice in the world. So we must enter into that work with Him, with grief, lament, humility, and courage. As Randy concludes his statement, he writes, “Our struggle against the evils of racism must be intentional and prolonged. In the coming weeks, we will craft and communicate the concrete steps we are taking as a movement. These steps will be rooted in our fundamental identity as the children of God and founded on what is eternally and gloriously major, our common, unique standing among all of creation as the image-bearers of God and those redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. We are the church, and we were made for this moment.”