Ed Stetzer Says Christians Now Have a Decision to Make About Ferguson and Race

ferguson-crowd

by Ed Stetzer

The grand jury has made a decision in Ferguson, now we have to make ours. How will we respond?

 

In light of the grand jury decision handed down tonight in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.

Or, put another way, maybe some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn’t be upset and spend more time asking why some are. Yes, this case reminds us again that the racial divide is clear, as a just released CNN poll demostrated.

I wasn’t in the grand jury room, and I don’t know the evidence, but many godly African American leaders are hurting and they are explaining why.

I think we should listen to them.

Race Remains

The issue of race remains contentious in our nation and in our neighborhoods, and many white evangelicals remain confused as to how they should respond. It is often difficult for those of us on the outside of an issue to fully grasp the complexity and the hurt of those from a different background.

Throughout the course of the events in Ferguson I have tried to seek insight from friends who can speak to this issue in ways I cannot, and have dealt with this struggle in ways that I have not.

A couple of months ago, Lisa Sharon Harper and Leonce Crump shared their thoughts on the death of Michael Brown and the aftermath.

White evangelicals must listen because there is a context to this tragedy, we must listen to feel the pain behind the problem and finally we listen so that we might acknowledge that injustice really exists.

Understand the Context of Tragedy

In “The Lie”, a post by Lisa Sharon Harper, Lisa outlines the important, if seldom acknowledged truth, that racism is still present and deep seated in many within our culture.

She writes:

“The belief that usually resides deep beneath the surface of conscious thought, safe from examination and extrication, but was born in biblical times, solidified in the days of the Enlightenment, and codified into colonial law in 1660 through the racialization of Virginia slave codes. Then 14 years after the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed “all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights,” the lie was embedded in the U.S. legal structure through the Naturalization Act of 1790, which barred the rights of citizenship from both free and enslaved black people.

These are the roots of the lie. Here it is—plain and simple: Black people are not fully human. In most crass terms—they are animals.”

Her strong words can either offend you or cause you to consider why she would say such a thing. Part of my hope is that many will ask, “Why are African Americans responding differently than the majority culture?”

That’s listening.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today: The Exchange