By Jack Redmond
It’s about 5:30 a.m. as I sit at my kitchen table and tears fill my eyes on another morning. My heart hurts trying to process the events of the last few days. I am angry, frustrated, and in disbelief. Our country reacts to the killing of George Floyd. I watch my children wrestle as they navigate all they see and hear on social media.
I am torn. Deep down, I simultaneously love America, while also believing there are still broad inequalities and aspects of racism that must be uprooted. Call me crazy, call me idealistic. I am just being honest. I want my country to face this, take it on and make things right.
Feeling the Conviction of Unfairness
The thing that bothers me is that I have no fear of ever being handcuffed with a police officer kneeling on my neck for almost nine minutes. It’s just not going to ever happen, and the main reason is because I’m white. Nothing even close has ever happened to me, my friends, or anyone I have seen in any predominately white town or community.
PLEASE STAY FOCUSED
For a minute, please don’t get distracted by any other issue or argument. Don’t hide behind the “one bad apple” argument or there’s more “black on black” crime or the looting or fires. Let it sink in that George Floyd is dead because of his skin color.
Should There Be a Purposeful Response from White People and Predominately White Congregations? Yes, and here’s why. Whether you think its right or wrong, good or bad, white people are in a greater place of authority in a society that has inflicted injustice, specifically on black people. Even if you have had little or no active participation in the problem, every Christ follower is called to be an agent of healing and restoration (Isaiah 58:6-12) and good neighbor (Luke 10:25).
What Can I Do?
This is the million-dollar question that I have heard over and over again from people of all colors and backgrounds over the past several days. I’ve spoken to pastors, friends, congregants and family. What’s the proper initial response?
“Weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15b NRSV
Let it sink in. Let the pain of inequality grab you. Let it bother you enough to drive you to make a difference in the days ahead. Racism and inequality did not show up in a day, and they will not be gone tomorrow.
You will not fight racism and inequality until the pain of doing nothing is greater than the pain of watching it happen. No, you are not directly responsible for what others have done, but you are responsible for both your future action or inaction.
Christ did not sit and watch from the comfort of heaven. He got involved. He sweat. He fought. He cried. He overcame. He has called and sent us to continue His work.
Jack Redmond is an author, speaker and has served on staff at Christ Church in Montclair and Rockaway, NJ for the past twenty years. He is currently the Church Mobilization Pastor. He can be reached through social media @jackwredmond.