Sometimes I wish I were still charismatic. Sometimes I wish I still believed that I could just say a prayer and everything would change. Sometimes I wish that I still thought that Christianity were all about afterlife. Sometimes I wish my head were still in the sand.
But it’s not…and I can’t. I’ve come to the understanding that faith without works is dead (I think I read that somewhere once or twice). Watching the videos of Philando Castile has reminded me how evil my nation is. And while prayer is a vital part of my life, if that’s all I’m doing about it my faith is dead.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve seen my black friends lamenting this system that does not care about them even a little bit. They’ve seen the dash cam footage and called it 2017 lynching among other things. And I find myself feeling helpless to change this. I don’t know what I can do to stop police from brutally murdering black people in our streets with no consequences or repercussions. I wish I could say a prayer and feel like I’d done my part. But now I see that theology as toxic.
If our faith doesn’t move us to do something to make this world a better place, if our faith doesn’t push us to take up the cause of the oppressed, the marginalized, those who are murdered without justice…if our faith doesn’t lead us to do something about that, it’s irrelevant, toxic, harmful.
Why is it harmful? Because as a white person, if we aren’t part of the solution, we’re part of the problem. You don’t get to disengage from this. You’re either perpetuating systemic racism and oppression or you’re fighting it. Hell, I’m sure sometimes I’m perpetuating it even WHEN I’m fighting it. Because I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a guy who was taught by Jesus that all lives matter and has seen that in America there’s an “except” at the end of that.
I’m tired of seeing people murdered on tv. I’m even more tired of the lack of justice for people of color in my nation.
And don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying these crooked cops should all be lined up and shot. I appeal for a better prison system as well. I want a system of restorative justice…for ALL criminals! I’d love a system that didn’t disproportionately target minorities in the first place. But murderous cops need to be treated just as murderous drug addicts. They’re no better.
We need justice for crooked cops. We need criminal justice reform. We need so much in this nation. And praying is a good start…but it’s not enough. Hop in your prayer closet, say your prayer, and ask God what you can do to change the world today. Let Holy Spirit guide you to participating in social justice.