As we mourn, filter through our emotions and reflect on the recent tragedy in Charleston South Carolina I was challenged with what response I personally should give as a black man and a pastor. Then as a local church. The thought pattern became more intriguing when I thought about what response the unified church should give. The following are a few thoughts about what I believe the church should do in response to the shootings. This list is not exhaustive or a end all, but a start.
- Talk About Race: This is the perfect time and place to talk about race relations in America….AGAIN. If you consider that its the south, a terrorist act against a black church, and 9 black people dead at the hands of a racist white man, you cannot help but draw historical parallels with the 16th Baptist church bombings and the general disregard for black life. Feels like we are back at the beginning. Perhaps the reset should be a restart of a conversation between black Americans and white Americans, and honestly white Americans with other white Americans, that we and they have not fully had.
- The Humility to Repent: Racism is a difficult conversation for everyone, but particularly for white Americans. But there can be no true healing without an acknowledgement of fault from those at fault. A full admission too. It is both courageous and humble to acknowledge historical and ancestoral wrongs to those whom have been violated. There is no true healing when we medicate a symptom. Repentance is the only pathway to true healing. If I had my way, Id like to see prominent white pastors acknowledge the issue, accept a historical responsibility to it and participate in the strategy for healing- then teach about it from their pulpits.