America is hurting. America is burning. Can America survive the violence by the men and women who are supposed to protect us? Can America survive those who are destroying businesses in the name of peace and equality?
These are questions being asked in the wake of the unrest happening across America.
I’m appalled by the video of the police officer murdering George Floyd, but what can I do?
Racism is just one piece of what is happening in America. Behind it came destruction. It may not affect me, my family, or my church family, but doing nothing doesn’t seem to be the best response. We can’t be silent any longer.
“As Adventist Christians, we cannot sit back quietly at a time like this! When satanic forces create injustice, we must speak up in defense of our brothers and sisters who have no voice,” said Ed Barnett, RMC president. “[The violence we see] doesn’t give us license to do evil. It gives us license to love like Jesus loved! And believe me, that will make a difference.”
Racism is not new. It was around long before Christ walked this earth. When Christ came, He not only came to save us from our sins, but to be an example how to live. He spent much of his time with people who, for centuries, had been spit upon, beaten down and yes, even targeted by government and ecclesiastical officials.
“Adventism has long been a movement that has grasped prophecy as necessary and relevant. In this time of upheaval, led by an oppressed group, it is necessary that Adventists acknowledge that in aligning our voices and actions with freeing the oppressed, we continue the prophetic understanding of Adventism,” said Jenniffer Ogden, pastor of Boulder Church.
What did Christ do? Did He march? Did He release a statement on behalf of the temple condemning certain actions? Was He overwhelmed with anger destroying shops in Jerusalem because of the evil and violence He witnessed?
“To remain silent sends a loud message that I am apathetic about George Floyd’s murder, about the abuse of power, about the racism that leads to actions that demoralize, dehumanize, and minimize, or that my heart isn’t aching for his family and so many of my friends and family who have endured abuse, hatred, and other atrocities like this for way…too…long. Why? Because they don’t fit the narrow mold determined by some as acceptable citizens,” Diane Thurber commented on Facebook.
“It is not Christlike to remain silent when any segment of our society is being subjected to injustice! We must clearly and loudly speak up to condemn and actively reject racism and any other form of oppressive evil within our society,” said Daniel Birai, pastor of Fort Collins Church.
I am white, so I don’t know the fear my brothers and sisters experience when they leave their home. (“Is this the day I’m going to have a knee held on my neck for nine minutes?”)
I’m single, so I don’t know the fear parents experience regarding their children. (“Is this the last morning I’ll be able to hug my child before school?”)
I’m an American citizen, so I don’t know the fear my immigrant friends experience. (“Is this the day ICE will break down my door?”)
For some, the fear is unremitting. We live in an evil and fear-filled world. So I ask, where’s the church? Have we ignored Jesus’ words, “Love thy neighbor?”
Is there any hope?
Many people may be losing hope that real change can happen, but hope isn’t gone. When we love our neighbor, hope returns. It lives.
“My voice matters. Let’s be angry, speak up, love and hug everyone and anyone,” commented Rajmund Dabrowski, communication director for RMC.
“I admit and recognize that equality and justice have never truly been realized in our nation,” Christopher Morris, associate pastor of Littleton Church stated.“I’m going to be intentional and active towards changing that reality.”
Jessyka Dooley, RMC assistant youth director, commented, “I love seeing my generation stand up to racism. I believe our church’s response to this blatant and disgusting racism will cause teens and young adults to either lean into or away from the church once again. So, I beseech the church that I love … step up! Speak out! Say the names of those murdered at the hands of police brutality. Let your actions proclaim that black lives matter. Stop making excuses! Do not be lukewarm on the issue of racism or I, and many of my brothers and sisters, will spit you out.”
Will we take a step forward and repent for staying quiet too long? Christ has called us to action. He’s been knocking for a long time, and it is time we answer the door instead of ignoring His invitation to be present where we are—no matter how difficult.