I was asked for my input on a solution to the problems discussed in my most recent post. Here’s what I came up with:
How do we deal with this? I’ve taken all the free time I’ve had since venting my frustrations about this dialogue to come up with a solution to the problems we face. My value of my own views or opinions isn’t high enough for me to be under the delusion that things would change for the better if people would just do things my way or that I have all the answers. What I do know this: there has been a serious lack of compassion for people that are hurting. That’s what prompted me to speak up.
I look at all the bickering in response to news articles and opinion pieces and I see people that want to be right and to give the right answers, which is understandable, but in that they are forgetting the pain some people are facing because of this issue. In interacting with other conservatives, I was met with a pretty nasty backlash for even mentioning a negative experience I’ve had and why it’s important to me that someone with a public voice would take a stand (or a knee). It was made clear to me that many people want to pretend this isn’t an issue and that I should just keep my trap shut.
This message to be quiet wasn’t limited to me. The gripe with the BLM movement is that there is a lot of violence involved with the group and it isn’t being properly addressed by it’s advocates. That’s fair. That’s why I can’t support them myself. Colin took a knee and people are in an uproar about that. How peaceful and quiet can you get? The message was perpetuated: shut up and stop talking about this. Are we going to keep talking about how this message is being communicated or are we finally going to address the problem people are trying to express? We have to open our hearts to honest and tender discussion.
As Christians, we need to be able to differentiate cold truth from warm truth (terminology I just made up to express what I’m feeling, so bare with me). A cold truth is responding to the problem with statistics and bringing up other issues. Yes, black on black crime is a problem. Yes, fatherlessness in the black community is a problem. Yes, there are more black babies being killed at the hands of Planned Parenthood than there are being born. Is that really something you want to bring into the conversation with someone that’s already angry, fearful, paranoid, or consumed with pain?
Cold truth just incites more anger. Not only are people led to believe that white conservatives that spout this information just don’t care about them, but things are brought to their minds that make them more angry or fearful or whatever they were feeling before the exchange. There is no compassion or sympathy in cold truth. It just makes things worse.
What people need is a warm truth. They need people to come along side them and mourn injustice with them. As Christians, we remind each other of the gospel and of our identities as brothers and sisters. We have to be willing to do the hard work of having face to face uncomfortable conversations with people we disagree with and be willing to love them. We don’t have to agree with another person’s opinions on any given matter to show them love when they’re weeping. We need to be able to show each other a warm, personal love because love covers a multitude of sins, and in that multitude includes racism.
Colin is not a Christian. Unfortunately, the influential Christian voices have only reacted to situations like this instead of taking the lead and starting the conversations. Lots of people that are not Christians have been vocal about this, but they’re doing it in a worldly way (Ice Cube, Ice T, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Nas, and many others). These people have been publicly talking about racial injustice for nearly three decades and conservative America is just now kinda sorta acknowledging that there *might* be a problem. Christians with the capability to speak into the issues need to do it first and do it with the gospel. We as the church can’t complain about people that aren’t believers behaving (or protesting) like nonbelievers when we’re not actively engaging the issues they’re tackling head on. I wonder how differently the reaction would’ve been if a prominent Christian got on both knees in front of this flag instead of a nonbeliever on one.