I hurt for people who are treated differently, for whatever reason. In the midst of Advent, a season of hope, I hope for people of faith to actively work to break down the walls that separate, many of which we have erected ourselves (knowingly and unknowingly). In light of what happened in Ferguson and in New York with the incidents with two African Americans and police, how will we respond? As a person of privilege (because I was born in America with the correct colored skin and to a family who didn’t have to worry about where my next meal was coming from), God, help me to do something.
How will we respond – in our churches, in our schools, in our homes? It is easy for me to sit on my couch, to be saddened at the goings-on in Missouri and other places around the world, and then just continue on with my life, not wanting to be bothered with the difficult reality of how I’m not really doing my part to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and then just continue on with my life as-is. God, help me to move beyond just feeling sad.
We can talk about whether the police officers were “justified” or not (I have difficulty with justifying lethal force and violence, but that’s for another time). We can have conversations about why there is more crime in certain neighborhoods or why people in some parts of the city struggle to put food on their plates or why prisons have a larger percentage of people of color than not (according to one statistic I read, African Americans make up 30% of the general population and 60% of the inmate population). For those of us who are privileged (most of us who are reading this fall into that category), what will we do about this? God, help me to move beyond just having conversations about who is at fault and move toward building relationships and working for justice so that these incidents stop happening.
We have some great opportunities at River Road to be involved in reconciliation – our prison ministry, CARITAS, CrossOver, ESL, the Richmond Baptist Centers, and the MICAH initiative to name a few. All of these ministries provide opportunities to build relationships, to spend time getting to know people who are different than we are. God, help me to actively work for justice for those who are treated differently.