Recent events have reminded us, yet again, that our country still has a long way to go when it comes to racial reconciliation. We also know that as a church family, we are all over the map when it comes to this conversation. But one thing is clear, as new creations healed by God’s grace we are now called to be agents of reconciliation in this world. (2 Corinthians 5)
Jesus tells us He has been sent to preach good news, proclaim freedom, bring sight to the blind and to release the oppressed. (Luke 4:18) Much of this will happen in his Messianic kingdom still to come, but this good news also became reality in that day. Such hope is also for all today. Forgiveness, restoration, healing and freedom are very real and as followers of Jesus we will join him in not only telling the good news, but in living it out as we serve fellow image-bearers in this not-yet-healed-world.
One way many of us can do this—in what has now become a national conversation—is to learn more from those who might be experiencing this moment differently from us. Such a journey is not always easy and will stir up strong emotions and questions. Along the way, as God leads (and often with the gentle help of a friend or two), we might notice our own biases and blind spots which then leads to even more prayer and more conversations and then potentially toward action.
We humbly admit that we haven’t always gotten the racial reconciliation conversation right. Nor is this a perfect step. But it is an attempt to move towards lasting solutions. To our brothers and sisters of color: we hear you and are continually grateful for your patience and grace. Wereally do need the powerful work of Jesus and His grace to help us all. So let’s start there.
What follows are a variety of resources—none of them a one-size-fits-all answer. None of them carry the weight of scripture itself. All of them are but an attempt to start hearing from other perspectives on our way to genuine conversations. May God direct our individual steps now, for our starting points will be different. So too will our next steps vary. But always we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
You may find it helpful and instructive to learn more about the history of people of color in the United States. We’ve compiled the list of resources below to help each of us take a step further into this important conversation.
Again, some of what you will find here will be immediately helpful. Some might be for another day, or perhaps not at all. Our hope is that we’d explore further this issue as we pursue God’s best for each of our lives.
But before you choose a few of these resources to explore, let’s pray. Let’s ask God to stir a work in us, individually. Let’s pray for our country and its leaders. Let’s pray for people with whom we agree and disagree. And through it all, let’s continually look to the cross—for without Jesus there is no lasting answer for this or any of our world’s great struggles.
And let’s ask for His grace to season all of our thoughts and conversations. We can be a people who do this differently—no matter our initial thoughts or opinions—because we are the sons and daughters of the King, a family formed by God. So yes, let’s continually remember… we’ve been called to do this together for His glory.
It is likely that you will not fully agree with everything you see in this list of resources. Many of them, especially as you move further down the list, might take political sides on conversations in a way that you (or even The Crossing) wouldn’t necessarily endorse. We encourage you to consider checking out these resources nonetheless. The point is not to agree on every point, but to continue to engage in a growing and God-honoring dialogue, and perhaps even particularly so with those voices with which you most disagree.
If entering into race conversations is new to you, we recommend digging into the following resources:
If you’re ready to open your perspective to the deeper systemic issues of race in the United States, check these out:
- Book: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (also a movie)
- Movie: 13th (Netflix)
- Website: Join the Be the Bridge Facebook group and spend some time listening. Read more about their important work at bethebridge.com
- Watch Weekend Services by our Partner Churches in STL: Living the Word Church: David Hawkins; The Tabernacle Church: Andre Alexander
- Follow: People of color on social media. Here are a few to get you started: Lastasha Morrison, David Bailey, Eugene Cho
- Support: Local businesses owned by people of color. Feast Magazine shared a list to get you started.
Following Jesus means that we should speak up for and support the oppressed. To move forward, we must first understand the history of race and the church. These resources will get you started:
- Book: The Color of Compromise: The Truth About The American Church’s Complicity by Jamar Tisby
- Movie: When They See Us (Netflix)
- Website: Check out AND Campaign
- Support: Charities and causes that support people of color
- Circle Of Influence: Walk through the resources on this page with your circle of influence
Including our kids in these conversations supports meaningful change in the next generation. (Some of these resources have not been screened by Crossing leaders, so please make sure you read them personally before sharing with your child.)
Thanks for choosing to join us on this important journey. We encourage you to continue to pray and seek wisdom from God on next steps you personally can take to love people of all color, backgrounds and cultures well.