Why Your Pastor Addressing Charlottesville and Racism on Sunday Means Absolutely Nothing
Last week, we as a nation received yet another harsh dose of the reality that racism is alive and well in America. The rally turned violent in Charlottesville was more proof that there is still a large number of white Americans who feel they are superior to blacks and harbor so much hate towards them that they see no problem using violence to express it. As hate and violence towards blacks has become more public and prevalent the black community continues to cry out for allies to fight racism along side them but for the most part these cries have been ignored. One group in particular that continues to ignore these cries is the church.
You’re probably saying, “Not my church my pastor addressed Charlottesville and racism this past Sunday!” And while that’s great I’m here to tell you as a black man in America that your pastor discussing racism from a pulpit means absolutely nothing. In fact, if you took every sermon on racism spoken from a pulpit this past Sunday combined them and measured their impact you would end up with nothing. Because there was no impact. Talking about the evils of racism within the church does nothing to help the victims of racism outside of the church. It’s the same as how talking about how much the world needs Jesus within church does nothing to make those outside of the church realize that they do. It’s why the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” The Church can talk about racism within its four walls all it wants but it won’t matter unless they act outside of its walls.
When I look at Jesus I see a man who was willing to get his hands dirty to bring about change but when I look at today’s church I see people who aren’t willing to do the same. Jesus didn’t spend His time in synagogues talking about things that needed to change instead He spent his time outside the walls of the church inspiring change by His actions and by confronting head on the sinful institutions that needed to be changed. You name it He went out and confronted it. Yet, today the church spends one Sunday morning talking about racism and pats itself on the back for doing its part to help. How can the church really think it’s helping a community it won’t go spend time with. How can the church think it’s helping a community it won’t take time to listen to? It can’t. So why does the church continue to hide within its four walls instead of going out into the front lines of the black communities to bring about change? Because that would mean admitting fault.
Before the Church can help the black community and fight racism it must first acknowledge what it’s done. The church has a history of racism one that still continues today whether we want to believe it or not. But instead of owning up to it the Church has swept it up under the rug asked the black community, “Can we just let the past be the past?” The Church wants forgiveness from the black community but doesn’t want reconciliation. Basically, the church is wants the black community to accept its apology but doesn’t want to actually be unified and work with the black community. So if the church truly wants to fight racism and ally with the black community it must first reconcile with them. And to do that the church must first acknowledge some things.
First, the church needs to acknowledge that it’s done far more to perpetuate racism that it’s done to prevent it. The church also needs to acknowledge it’s chosen not to engage and work with the black community. And finally the church needs to acknowledge it made a mistake by backing and supporting Trump. Trump’s blatant bigotry and hate speech was ignored by the church who choose to look the other way and support him because he claimed to be a Christian. Even though he speaks a message completely opposite of that of Jesus. Even though the black community warned them that Trump as president would inspire more expressions of hate. It was painfully obvious that Trump’s beliefs and speech was validating and reinforcing the beliefs and speech of the hundreds of hate groups that exist all over America and his election would consequently lead to more outbursts from these groups. Yet, still the church looked the other way. And now is the time for the church to accept its responsibility for the damaging effects of Trumps presidency which would have never happened without the church’s vote. The more the church defends Trump’s word and actions the bigger the wedge will become between the church and the black community.
If and only if these acknowledgements takes place will the church be welcomed into the black community and be in a position to truly fight racism. Your church can’t fight racism by talking about in during Sunday service. But your church can fight racism by going into it’s local black communities and saying we are sorry and we are here to help.
With the events of Charlottesville the church once again is missing out on a golden opportunity to reconcile with the black community. The government has made clear time and time again it doesn’t care about the black community so imagine what would happen if the church made clear that it does? I believe there are many churches across the country that want to help fight racism in America but instead of talking about it on Sunday they need to support their local black communities and demand change from their local governments. Because the kingdom of God has no place for racism. And the kingdom of God does not consist of talk but in power.