Monday, July 11, 2016

White Christians and Black Lives

Lives destroyed in Dallas

John the Baptist, Rodin, St Louis Art Museum

On Friday morning I ambled toward the breakfast room of my St Louis hotel. Black hands took turns with my white hands filling plates with yellow eggs and brown sausages followed by filling white cups with black coffee.

The room was full of black families watching horrific Dallas scenes. “Officer down. Officer down.”

We all learned five of twelve injured officers had died—gunned down at a #blacklivesmatter protest, which followed the shooting of black lives earlier in the week.

I’m mindful of another catastrophic week not far from here -- the 2013 events in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. #blacklivesmatter

I return to my room passing an open door. The sign says, “Family Reunion.” Children scamper to and fro ignoring parent calls. Some black families are enjoying time together. #blacklivesmatter.

Like the screen in the breakfast room, police’ lives become the focus of attention. Now more families and friends will grieve and deal with so much pain. We must take time to mourn with those who mourn. Police officers are important people too! Police are critical to a peaceful protest. Police are essential to making #blacklivesmatter.

Christian friends on social media remind me that all lives matter. I see plenty of evidence that white men’s lives matter. I’ve seen evidence that women’s lives matter more than they did when I was a boy. I see some evidence of progress toward #blacklivesmatter.

I head over to the St. Louis Art Museum. Inside I’m greeted by a black statue of John the Baptist (Rodin). I thought all Bible characters where white men-- you know like Jesus. When I was a kid, sin was black and white was pure. Oh my God!

We Christians write practical theology by the way we live. We tell others whose lives matter in our art, stories, symbols, people we hire and promote, and in our prayers and media posts. In Jesus’ day Samaritan lives mattered. Peter and Paul learned that gentile lives mattered.

Today we must learn #blacklivesmatter.


See "Why Jesus' Skin Color Matters" in CT March 18, 2016

Read more about Christian cultures in A House Divided

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