August 13, 2017
As a pastor watching all that unfolded surrounding yesterday’s rally in Charlottesville, which saw white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members (all making up what we sometimes call the alt-right) call for “taking America back,” my heart is grieving. And seeing the violent turn things took yesterday afternoon, I am crushed.
Bigotry and racism is not new to our country. Thousands have lost their lives as a result of racial tensions. But then such views were pushed to the margins and from public view. Now, however, racism has taken on new forms, including in the “alt-right.” For the first time in a long time, the masses of this movement are proudly showing their faces. No hoods this time. For PCC, this is not about politics or free speech. It is about evil and the gospel that defeats it.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
So let me share three things regarding how PCC’ers might respond:
- Seek the face of God, individually and collectively. When what we see grieves us, our first course of action should always be prayer. No amount of activism or number of tweets can replace going before the One who can heal all the brokenness in this world. As Christians, we pray alone, we pray in groups, and equally importantly, we collectively pray, encouraging each person to plead for those who are being hurt.
- Corporately we will condemn bigotry, hate, and discrimination through each ministry in the Church. Because as we pray, we speak up and we stand with. Our voice is necessary to remind those under our care and those listening from outside that when there is wrong in the world, we fight for what is right. Let’s call this what it is – evil – and then call it wrong.
- Reach out to those who are experiencing anxiety or fear as a result of the rhetoric of those who seek to instigate hate. Our arms of love and solidarity are a powerful example of the One who stretched His arms wide for all of us. We preach the gospel, reminding those who are on the receiving end of hate that above all there is a God who loves them deeply, dearly, and always.
The Bible is clear that we will have sin in this world. There will be wrongs that need righting, and tears that need wiping away. The Bible is also clear that as long as His Church is in this world, His Holy Spirit is on the move. His Spirit must move in places like Charlottesville, and on the SF Peninsula, reminding all that hate will not win, and that the Church will not stop fighting for good as long as we have breath.