Amos C. Brown 6-16-2020

A man recites spoken word poetry at a makeshift memorial honoring George Floyd in Minneapolis,  June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

In July 1952, when I was 11 years old, some of my relatives took me to witness the Billy Graham Crusade in Jackson, Miss. Ropes were strung across the athletic field and stands where more than 300,000 people would gather to hear him preach during those hot summer nights. The ropes had one purpose: to keep the crowd segregated by the color of their skin.

Shaun Casey 6-15-2020

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a Bible as he stands in front of St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House after walking there for a photo opportunity during ongoing protests over racial inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

After the smoke cleared from “The Battle of Lafayette Square” and the cringeworthy visit by the first couple to the St. John Paul II National Shrine was over, most Americans missed what was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Trump religion propaganda trifecta: the signing of an executive order on international religious freedom. 

I am tired of white colleagues who have ignored the reports of microagressions and outright racism but are now posting black boxes on social media or reaching out to me with an “I love you.” They may mean well but it often feels so little and too late.

Voters line up to cast their ballots outside of a polling location after Democratic and Republican primaries were delayed due to the coronavirus disease restrictions in Atlanta, Georgia. June 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers

These types of failures in the voting process may become additional tools in the arsenal of voter suppression, and the Black community must be prepared.

6-12-2020

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) talks with Rev. Jim Wallis about the potential for a Kairos moment during the unprecedented crisis our nation is facing.

A view shows a Buffalo Police vehicle parked in front of the city hall before a protest  in Niagara Square, in Buffalo, June 5, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario

Transforming our policing and reimagining public safety will require much more dialogue, bridge-building, and, ultimately, sustained public pressure.

Dante Stewart 6-11-2020

An artwork by Banksy is seen in this image obtained from his Instagram account on June 9, 2020. Instagram/@banksy via REUTERS

Today, we must realize that because someone is aware of the struggle for black freedom in America doesn’t mean they have been moved to action. They may have the right language — even write books, give addresses, give statements — but their actions show a commitment to the status quo rather than social justice.

Tom Krattenmaker 6-10-2020

Demonstrators raise their fists as they take a knee for 8 minutes 46 seconds during a protest against racial inequality in Boston, June 7, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

“NO KNEELING!” So tweets our “dominate-the-streets” president in response to white football star Drew Brees voicing support for fellow players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence. This, while demonstrations swell across the country in response to the murder of George Floyd by an officer who drilled his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes while the man lay face down on the ground, defenseless and dying.

Shanna B. Tiayon 6-10-2020

When I see footage of Black murders, I feel horror and anger not only at the life that was violently taken, but also the idea of vacant and immune gazes transfixed on an unrealized destiny, a muted future, someone’s son, daughter, or father. There are some who, despite the graphic nature of these images, will watch with no sadness and no outrage. They will not see a person, only an object — objectified in life and objectified in death.

Greg Garrett 6-10-2020

During this time of COVID-19, people are dying alone, away from their families and from priests or pastors who might ease their passing. You could no more shoehorn a dozen people into a hospital room than you should cram them unmasked into any enclosed space these days. A pastor or chaplain might be forced to visit the room remotely, to FaceTime last rites, so to speak.

Prior to this moment, new allies have preached a gospel of Jesus devoid of justice. They failed to make the theological connection that Jesus and justice are, in fact, mutually inclusive. To invoke Jesus and then to invoke justice is redundant. Every time we invoke the name of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the ministry of justice. Every time we invoke the name of Jesus, we declare the psalmist’s decree that justice and righteousness are the foundations of God’s throne. Every time we invoke the name of Jesus, we summon the messianic prophecy that the spirit of the lord was upon Jesus, to preach the good news to the poor, to set the prisoners free from the Roman industrial complex, and to proclaim liberty to those who were oppressed. Every time we invoke the name of Jesus, we remember that Jesus was convicted of a crime he did not commit, received an unfair trial, and was sentenced to a state-sanctioned lynching on a tree. The ministry of justice is the ministry of Jesus. We cannot divorce our theology from the ministry of justice. To do so is to divorce ourselves from Jesus himself.

White churches need to enter conversations of racial justice with sobriety. 

Josiah R. Daniels 6-10-2020

A demonstrator waves an American flag during a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in New York City. June 9, 2020. REUTERS/Idris Solomon

Black people don’t always end up dead when encountering police. But we almost always end up wounded.

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Rituals surrounding death provide solace and comfort. Ceremonies, such as funerals, hold our challenging and complicated emotions and provide space for us to acknowledge and accept the reality of death. But when we are not able to be physically held by those outside of our own home or partake in our religious rituals and death traditions, how do we process the death of those we love? Even as states reopen and larger groups are permitted to gather, some people are still apprehensive about convening. In this unfamiliar and uncertain moment, how do we mourn?

Julian DeShazier 6-08-2020

Black people have the most grace
You know why we insist that we strong
Cause for 400 years we have carried this weight
We got out okay
We are not okay
You are not okay
This is not okay

Courtney Ariel 6-08-2020

Photo by YouVersion on Unsplash

To my acquaintance, and white people who need to hear it, I say this lovingly and from a place of abundance, without scarcity: I know you are hurting too. You are human. But this is not about your pain.

6-04-2020

Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, speaks with Rev. Jim Wallis about our need to focus our outrage on the tragic death of George Floyd and the systemic structures that caused it. She warns against being distracted by Donald Trump's brazen attempt to falsely cloak himself with spiritual authority by staging a photo op in front of St. John's, Lafayette Square.

Jim Wallis 6-04-2020

Jim Wallis, accompanied by Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and other faith leaders and clergy, pray a block away from St. John's, Lafayette Square, between protesters and a police line. Photo by Jim Simpson / Sojourners

Eddie Glaude has rightly named the violent White House walk to St. John’s as “dictatorial theatre.” The words that came to mind for many of us were sacrilege and blasphemy. Here's the dictionary's definition of blasphemy: "Impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things." Another word that came to mind was authoritarian. At the epicenter of political power in the United States stands a little church that Donald Trump has decided to violently use — and now St. John’s stands inside a police perimeter surrounding that seat of power.

Kenneth E. Frantz 6-04-2020

The Shift is Colby Martin's attempt to provide a survival guide for those who’ve left (or been kicked out of) their conservative Christian communities and are now moving toward a more open and expansive faith.

Michael Rothbaum 6-04-2020

Terrence Floyd visits the site near where his brother George was taken in Minneapolis police custody and later killed, in Minneapolis, Minn. June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Miller/File Photo

In Exodus, the Egyptians shed innocent blood. Then God made this blood visible for all to see.