The following is a guest post from my good friend, Dr. Debra Brown. Debra is an African American evangelical leader who lived near Ferguson, MO for many years.
TO MY WHITE EVANGELICAL BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
As I gaze upon the starkness of winter, it reflects my heart over recent events pertaining to race, reconciliation, and truth. I feel bewildered. Is it conceivable that you don't get it? Please understand…
1. SILENCE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
If you do not know what to say, it is preferable for you to state that truth.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE VENUE TO CONVERSE.
I cannot see your eyes, your non-verbal communication. I see words that without context can be misinterpreted. Stopbullying.gov defines cyberbullying and its effects. Christian cyberbullying is using religion as a justification.
3. CIVIL DISCOURSE REQUIRES CRITICAL THINKING.
When the Ferguson incident first happened, I searched out a colleague who is a white male evangelical former police officer to obtain his perspective. This enlightened my understanding. Have you judged without examining all the different perspectives?
Take the Berea challenge -- Acts 17:11: "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whither those things were so."
4. EMPATHIZE AND LISTEN TO MY FEELINGS.
I am a wife, a mother, a sister, daughter, and an aunt to African American males who are law abiding citizens yet are subject to racial epitaphs, stopped by the police without provocation, and stereotyped simply because of the color of their skin. I hear their anger and frustration. I cry tears they will not shed for themselves. In moments of suffering, Jesus understands my pain!
Hebrews 12:1-3: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
5. I NEED YOUR LOVE.
I do not adhere to the position that God is colorblind. I do adhere to the position that spiritual identity supersedes racial identity. Racial reconciliation is spiritual warfare. Reconciliation requires that you love me in word and deed. As stated earlier, I am hurting. When you, as a white evangelical person, hug me and express your love to me, Satan is defeated.
1 Corinthians 12:25-27: "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
It is not my intent for you to feel guilty or responsible for the social injustices of this world because of your race. Nor do I expect you to agree with my perspective on recent events. I would appreciate awareness and conversation. These are the beginning steps to racial reconciliation.