I have spent countless hours praying and pondering how best to share my heart on this very difficult issue of race and the church. My goal is always to find areas of agreement and common purpose so that all Christians can know how to pray and how to respond when racial conflict arises.
This banding together is what Christians do so well. When someone in the church is in crisis, we surround them with food, child care, hospital visits, cards, flowers, money, prayer, and every manner of encouragement and uplift. We do that because we know what it means to be in the heat of personal chaos and grief. We give to others the same comfort we receive when we face heartache.
While the racial grief black Christians feel is harder for white Christians to “get,” we all have the Spirit of God. His Spirit leads us all to compassion if we are willing to enter someone else’s experience. I’m convinced the most effective entry for white Christians into black pain is through American history. Being “fellow Americans” is a concept we value. Our American identity is a bond we are supposed to share.
So let’s share it.
Before I move out of the 1960s, I invite you to think about why a group of men in America would feel the need to create these posters.
Ask yourself why, of all the messages they could have conveyed, they chose that message.
Why are there armed gunmen pointing rifles at these Americans? Why are there tanks rolling through the street? What war is this?
Why doesn’t the white guy have a sign? What’s he even doing there? What does his presence say to you about his compassion?
After you soak in this scene, click on this video. It will give you the back story and some sense of what my dad was staring at as he raised children in the 1970s.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.