Called To Mourn With Those Who Mourn
DAY 2 | CALLED TO MOURN WITH THOSE WHO MOURN
Again, I think as Christians, especially white, we need to mourn with those who mourn when there is injustice, such as we have seen with the death George Floyd (Ecclesiastes 3, Romans 12:15). We need to listen and learn (James 1:19) as we have sought to do as a church in weeks past, by inviting Black leaders from our church to share about their experiences of racism and discrimination.
We also should demonstrate compassion when one of our fellow citizens is hurting, and listen, but It would do a great deal of good to acknowledge the offense that’s been made, to acknowledge the pain that the Black community has gone through and validate the struggles they face. So, before I begin, I must make my own acknowledgments to the Black community specifically.
- I acknowledge that I have, in times past, failed to “mourn with those who mourn”, specifically the Black community on issues of injustice as God’s word instructs me to do. (Romans 12:15)
- I acknowledge that I have failed to realize the level of discrimination that Black men and women feel in our country.
- I as well am convicted to explore weightier matters of our Christian faith, such as justice and mercy. (Matthew 23:23)
- Furthermore, I acknowledge that there is injustice in our world towards Blacks.
- I acknowledge that there is racism towards Blacks.
- I acknowledge there is discrimination towards Blacks.
- I acknowledge that there are real racial biases towards Blacks.
- I as well understand the tension and frustration and pain the Black community must feel about American history.
- Black History is relegated to a month, when it needs to simply be part of all American history.
- I acknowledge that Christian seminaries should have taken up a greater effort to ensure blacks are being equipped theologically.
- I acknowledge as well, that I have failed to see the unique contributions to the theology by black on issues such social and political issues, from a Biblical perspective.
- I acknowledge the patriotism of many Blacks in American history, as Blacks have fought in every American war for their country, and yet for years been denied the honor, dignity, respect and recognition they deserve as citizens of this country.
- I acknowledge that the rights of our citizenship, and the vision of the Declaration of Independence for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was not experienced by millions of Blacks.
- I acknowledge that the strength and the dignity of the Black Americans in our country having endured incredible hardships.
- The transition from African freedom to American Slavery.
- The transition from American slavery to American freedom during the reconstruction period.
- The transition from the South to the North during and following WW I.
- The transition from segregation to integration during the Civil Rights movement.
- I acknowledge that the BLM movement has brought a national awareness re: racism and injustice in our country and has challenged our world to face it, with the killing of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor.
- But Lastly, while I do acknowledge that racism exists in our country, I do not believe it’s either safe or sound to blame this on “The System”. Rather I believe we must blame racism on “sin”. While there is room to reform the law, we are not in need of a revolution of our country, but a reformation of the heart turning towards God!
WHAT DO THE FOUNDERS SAY?
As we evaluate the BLM movement, we ought to look to what the founders say about themselves. If you want to learn about business, look to the leader. If you want to understand a church, look to the leader. If you want to evaluate an organization, look to the leader, especially, the founders. Founders are those who start things, gifted with entrepreneurial skills to start a cause because they see a need and seek to create a solution to meet that need. In evaluating the BLM movement, I want to share with you first my story and my spiritual formation so that you can better understand where I am coming from.
I was a rebellious teenager that took the route of the prodigal son. I had a great mom and dad, two brothers, two sisters, and was the middle child. I grew up in a Christian home, had loving and involved parents that taught Christian ethics and lived it out themselves. Despite all this, I rebelled, fell into sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Being in the South, I saw racism on a regular basis, from all sides. From the Gang bangers to the KKK, there were constant fights in the class rooms, lunch rooms, and hallways of my junior high and high school. I have memories of lunch room riots, having to be escorted by the police because of death threats because I had both white and black friends. This was all part of my high school experience.
The summer of my senior year, I came to faith in Christ. My life was completely transformed. I was disciplined by godly men in my church, specifically by a pastor who later started a multi-cultural church that has grown into a global movement. My early spiritual formation and theological learning included a vision for all people being part of God’s church.
As an early Christian, I devoted myself two things: ministry and education. Having lost nearly all my friends for becoming what many called a “Crazy Christian”, I wholeheartedly gave myself over to the disciplines of study and service.
I grew in my faith, and by 21 years of age, I was an ordained minister. Since that time, I finished my college education with a business degree, received two master's degrees from Dallas Seminary, married the love of my life, had twins, adopted a little girl, and planted a church in Phoenix.
In coming to Phoenix, we believed that God called us to adopt. We began praying and seeking counsel from the Christian community as to agencies. Through prayer and practical research, we decided to adopt a minority child because of the great need. In 2012, we adopted a little girl who has taught us far more than we could teach her. She’s ½ Latino, ¼ Native American, and ¼ Black.
Adopting her has been one of the greatest gospel experiences in our lives. This experience has taught me so much about how God has adopted me and about his unconditional love.
What you need to know about me:
#1 I love Jesus Christ – he’s my Lord and Savior.
#2 I love my family so much. I love to help families. I am a family man.
#3 I love people. All shapes and sizes. Colors and even creeds. I want to hug more people than you could imagine.
#4 My heart is motivated for the gospel to reach people for Christ.
#5 My mind is held captive to the word of God.
#6 My commitment is to teach the truth! To preserve, protect, and promote it.
#7 I love the church. I was saved in the church, and I will spend my life serving the church so that others might come to know Christ, grow in the faith, and do the same, so that God may be glorified.
#8 I love our country. I a patriotic. I stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance with pride.
#9 I know my citizenship is in heaven, along with many black brothers and sisters, and I am grateful to God that His Kingdom is a colorful Kingdom!
So now that I have shared more about who I am, and what our church’s leadership is like, I want us to look at the leadership of BLM.