It seems that any time there is a controversial topic, everyone knows what should be done. Everyone has their own little solution that makes everything “just that simple.” I always find these solutions entertaining, and sometimes sad. We all have an idea of how to solve a problem, as long as we are not the one who has to solve it. But even more than having anything positive to contribute, we want to share our opinion on what matters in our worlds, and we want people to listen.
I see this happen a lot, especially with racism. We all have our opinions on racial discrimination, but the face is that it exists as a prevalent issue in our society. We can barely go a month without the news covering a crime that is at least covered through the lens of racism. And everyone, as usual has their opinion.
Everyone but the Church.
As the body of Christ, I find it fascinating that many of us remain silent in the face of such blatant discrimination of different people groups. I am guilty of it as well. I have plenty of opinions, which I will voice loudly, yet I do not speak up against the racism that happens in the world around me, even as a Christian.
As a Hispanic, African American, 21 year old, male, I have faced my share of discrimination due to the color of my skin. I have also dished out discrimination as well. I am guilty of the same judging spirit I have seen infest our world. And it had quietly gotten a grasp around the church. This judging spirit has worked its way in so quietly that we don’t even recognize it, and I feel that we partially don’t want to.
So the Church stays silent.
Eric Garner screamed ” I can’t breathe!”
The Church stayed silent.
Ferguson burned in the night.
Yet, the Church remained silent.
Tamir Rice’s family will not see justice.
And the Church is still silent.
At least, this is what has happened. But ministries are starting to change that. I had the pleasure of spending the weekend at the Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ) Winter Conference. You may not have heard of Cru, so let me give you some facts. Cru is the second largest Christian missionary organization in the world, with ministries on 5300 different college campuses in the world, with 2088 of those being in the United States. Cru has many different ministries, such as Impact (a campus ministry for African Americans), and Epic (a campus ministry for Asian Americans), and many many more.
Usually these ministries do not attend Winter Conference together. However, this year, that changed. This year, all of these different cultural ministries worshipped together. All of these different people groups learned, served, cried, and prayed together. That by itself was amazing to be apart of.
But, that wasn’t where Cru stopped. Besides the conference theme, there was one common idea shared between all of the speakers. There was one theme that everyone talked about.
Speakers confessed to passive and active racism from the stage as they preached God’s word. They refused to be passive on the issue of how racism and discrimination are running rampant in our society. For this conference, it wasn’t enough to say that racism is wrong, but to push each other to repent of the racism in our lives. Cru stood up as an organization in front of +1000 people and showed that they would not tolerate systemic racism in their ministry or outside of it.
This was powerful. That for the first year that all of their ministries come together for this conference, where all of the cultures, majority and minority alike stood next to each other and were all challenged to defeat racism, to go beyond their own culture, to bring the gospel to all nations. And it starts right here, in a conference ballroom, in Fort Worth, TX.
Honestly, I’ve never seen that before. I’ve never seen a ministry say not only that racism is wrong, but we are guilty of committing this sin, but we will tolerate it no more.
And it made me wonder, that if this organization could do this, what stopped me? Why hadn’t I stood against racism in the past? Why did I stay silent? And after praying to God, questions struck me in the face:
Why was this the first time I’d heard of a ministry do this?
Why had the church not stood up for this, especially in the recent years?
See, we want to stay quiet on this issue. I don’t really know why. Maybe we don’t see a change coming. Maybe we don’t see a reason to stand up for others. But all of that has got to stop. We’ve got to start speaking up against racism. We’ve got to let our society know that we are not okay with discrimination. Because God has created all of us, every skin color, every culture, every person. And we are all created beautifully, not one better than the other.
We’ve got to start acting like it.
Church, it’s time to speak up.