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June 4, 2020

Not black and white | The photo op with Bible as prop | Karen Swallow Prior on “AKA Jane Roe” film

Carmen’s opening commentary following the arrest of all four officers present when George Floyd died under the knee of Derek Chauvin.

Justice is the issue and it is not as simple as black and white. This is about justice and how it is enforced and the need for reform throughout a system. 

Justice isn’t just about law and order – justice is about the deep experience of knowing we matter, it is about ultimate righteousness and no, life is not fair, but maybe learning to live with life’s unfairness is something we as Christians gave into when we should have stood up and said over and over and over again, the fact that its not fair is not right, it is not righteous and I’m not going along with a system that’s inherently unfair to a particular category or group of people. Not on my watch as an Ambassador of a King and Kingdom where there is no partiality and where no one enters lest they be righteous through Christ. 

This is a Gospel issue and until we see it as a Gospel issue, as a sin issue AND a skin issue, as a heart issue as well as law issue, a us issue as well as a them issue, we’re going to be stuck in this cycle of murder, mayhem, destruction, arrest, exhaustion, repeat, repeat, repeat. 

I’m not satisfied with that. I’m not willing to recede back to the way things were because it was working for me and mine. It wasn’t working for too many others and we can better than who we’ve proven ourselves to be in the last two weeks and the last 400 years. We are in Christ and in Him we have the power and the possibility to live differently than we’ve learned to live in the world where hate and injustice reign. 

It begins with how we see ourselves and how we see every other person under the sun. 

So, when you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you see a person beloved and redeemed in Christ? A sower of peace, a minister of reconciliation, an Ambassador of the Kingdom of God sent into the world He so loves with the message of the Gospel for all people and every person? 

And when you look at the big black man with dreads wearing a hoodie, do you see the same as that which you see when you look in the mirror? Until seeing him is seeing another person just like me, until seeing him produces the same response as seeing myself, we’re going to be where we are right now. 

My lived experiences are different than his, but we are the same in ways that matter. We are equally created in the image of God. We are equally condemned by sin. We are equally justified at the Cross. We are equally covered by Christ’s blood. And if we both be in Christ, we are brother and sister, co-heirs of a Kingdom, and co-laborers right here and right now in the work Christ commissions us to do – extend His Gospel to always and in all ways. 

We are not powerless and we ought not hide. We are empowered and if you’re listening and you’re white, you have a job to do in your community today. You are in a position to turn toward law enforcement in ways black people cannot; and you can turn toward fellow Chrisitans who happen to be black in ways law enforcement cannot. You can be the one who stands in the middle and makes a bridge. You can be the one who listens and stands firm and loses neither courage nor hope. 

We don’t have to go back, we can go forward and we can do so together but a new way has to be made and we are the ones who know His name. 

Carmen’s conversations in this episode are with Ben Johnson from Acton and professor Karen Swallow Prior.  Their conversations range from leadership in times of crisis to the breadth of a genuinely pro-life ethic.


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