Race Issues in America: “Every Life Matters” or “It’s In God’s Hands”

Hashtags can become dangerous things. Some people hear #blacklivesmatter and hear the implication that only black lives matter. That is not the point. They respond with #everylifematters but, often the posts associated with this hastag come across as callous, racist, or entitled. The fact is, this issue is far too complex for a simple hashtag argument that further divides us.

Yes, black lives matter. Every life knitted together by our Creator matters. There is not one person out there who doesn’t matter. Beyond His love for us, God calls us to care for and protect each other. He wants justice.

It is irresponsible at times when socially and politically we are all called to repent from our old ways and begin reconciliation to just say, it’s in God’s hands. No, we are called to be God’s hands and feet. We as Christians and Americans have a responsibility to make sure justice is given to those who are not receiving it in our country. Martin Luther King Jr. said at the Sermon at Temple Israel in Hollywood in 1965, “We’ve been in the mountain of violence. We’ve been in the mountain of hatred long enough. It is necessary to move on now, but only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood and the Kingdom of God. It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent.” King knew action must be taken.

I would say that much like when King marched and practiced other forms of non-violent protest, if people feel that there is systemic racism and discrimination as has been shown in Ferguson, they should express that. Sadly, their frustrations boiled over and violence seems to beget violence, further dividing our nation. I would argue that this violence is the work of the Enemy and not individuals. Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Therefore, I believe we are called to make sure freedom and justice are for all our brothers and sisters in this nation, uniformed or not, and that as Christians we should work beside all of them in making sure there is justice for everyone.

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Christian Action Tools: Kairos Circle and Rev. King Jr. Principles

I feel like this has been one of the most effective tools I was provided by the Christian Community.  An example is shown below (clearly from The Salvation Army). In the center is Kairos, which is ancient Greek. Super useful, right? It’s actually pretty awesome. The ancient Greeks had different words for time: Chronos (bet you guessed that was chronological, didn’t you? correct) and then they had Kairos, which is almost a “timeless” moment in which all things happen. It’s trippy, other-worldly. Holy. You might describe experiencing one of these moments as having an epiphany, an experience with God, etc.

This tool gives you a perfect and necessary way to process it. From a Christian perspective though, remember that after steps one and two, always make sure that part of your reflection and evaluation include comparison to scripture and discussion with individuals whom you trust are in relationship with God and will speak Truth to you. This is an extremely important step to make sure you are in alignment with God, that you have the support of a few people in your community and that they are able to be there to hold you accountable (this circle is used for everything from quitting smoking, changing careers, fasting, etc.).

Kairos

The second awesome tool I came across I somehow must have forgotten up until this point and much of it falls in line with what is above. I felt like I’d hit a bit of a wall on my final paper and I switched over to my other class’ assignments and of course part of the reading is an actual Reflection Circle on a topic very close to my heart: Dr. Martin Luther King’s 6 principles and practices of nonviolence (I want to be fair in saying I see no citation so I went to find it elsewhere, which is the citation you are getting).

Six Principles of Nonviolence

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
  5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

Six Steps of Nonviolent Social Change

  1. Information Gathering (calls out knowing all sides to increase your understanding of the problem)
  2. Education
  3. Personal Commitment (eliminate hidden motives and prepare to accept suffering)
  4. Discussion/Negotiation (use grace, humor, intelligence, look for the positive)
  5. Direct Action (if discussion/negotiation fails, create “creative tension” by supplying moral pressure)
  6. Reconciliation (goal is not defeat but friendship and understanding)

http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy

You should just go read the whole King philosophy.

I was going to write a lot more but I’m too tired and I haven’t finished MY reflection circle on MY kairos moment.