We are here for nothing less than a profound awakening of faith that lives at the center of a people’s movement for economic and racial inclusion, justice, and healing.
I looked around, and saw a collective of emerging disciples, evangelists, healers, teachers, artists, prophets, and peace warriors who loved God with all their hearts and earnestly longed for something new. Holding our own and each other’s wounds, I saw tears of lament that water the earth. I saw a community of spiritual orphans in exile, holding onto Christ while healing each other.
An early scene in Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation depicts the wedding of two slaves. As the bride and groom dance joyfully with each other in the midst of a circle of their fellow slaves, the group around them sings: “You got a right, you got a right, you got a right to the tree of life.”
Several scenes later, Nina Simone’s Strange Fruit plays as the camera pans out slowly to show a massive live oak tree full of lynched black bodies. It’s a nauseating image, and the two scenes draw a heartbreaking connection: In this world, oppressed people claiming their right to the tree of life can be a death sentence.
James Baldwin, the American author wrote about this white inertia:
“Northerners proffer their indignation about the South as a kind of badge, as proof of good intentions; never suspecting that they thus increase, in the heart of the Negro they are speaking to, a kind of helpless pain and rage -- and pity. Negroes know how little most white people are prepared to implement their words with deeds, how little, when the chips are down, they are prepared to risk. And this long history of moral evasion has had an unhealthy effect on the total life of the country, and has eroded whatever respect Negroes may once have felt for white people.” (The Price of the Ticket, p. 266)
I came away from the film asking the question: Knowing that I have white privilege, what am I willing to risk to further the cause of racial justice?
I don’t need to remind you, but I will, that this is the mentality of slave owners — the muscle memory of oppression that beats in American hearts still, in quiet and loud ways, and leads the systems of this nation to marginalize those who look different than the most privileged.
Police in Baton Rouge, La., shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling after pinning him to the ground in a convenience store parking lot.
Graphic footage of the shooting has circulated online, sparking nationwide outrage and protests.
Many criminal justice experts believed that if anyone was to be charged in the death of Freddie Gray, this was the one.
Video of the incident, showing officers pepper spraying and dragging her as they laughed, was released April 28.
Does it make sense for Hillary and Bernie to court the black vote? Absolutely. I am not troubled by their clamor to win our support. What is truly disheartening is that our support does not ensure racial progress. No one candidate should be held responsible for fixing America’s race problem. But what black voters want is a candidate who is brave enough to say that America has a serious race problem.
While both candidates have put some effort in to this message, for both candidates it was only after they faced protest by Black Lives Matter activists. It was only when the media asked them directly if Black Lives Matter that they answered in the affirmative.
Fresh off winning five Grammy awards for his album To Pimp a Butterfly, rapper Kendrick Lamar released eight new tracks on March 4 under the project name untitled unmastered.
These new tracks continue Kendrick's tradition of talking faith and politics, including his relationship with God. For example, a lyric from untitled 05 reads: "Why you want to see a good man with a broken heart?/Once upon a time I used to go to church and talk to God/Now I'm thinking to myself hollow tips is all I got."
On Nov. 22, 2014, a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice when he was playing with a toy gun in a public park. Over a year later, this past December, a grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved in the shooting.
Now, the city of Cleveland is charging his family for death-related medical expenses.
In an abrupt change, the city of Chicago has made public video footage that documents the shooting death of Cedrick Chatman at the hands of Chicago police. The 17-year-old Chatman was shot and killed while running away from police. The officers claim he turned around and pointed a black object at them, an object which turned out to be a black iPhone box.
Michelle Higgins has been making waves lately. A leader in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, she recently addressed a gathering of 16,000 evangelical students at an InterVarsity conference in St. Louis, during which she urged them to back the movement.
Influential faith leaders mourn following the decision not to indict the officer who killed Tamir Rice.
"Twelve seconds. One-fifth of a minute. Produces a lifetime of pain for a family and now eternal shame for America.”
— Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Forward Together, founder of the Moral Monday Movement, North Carolina
Skinner told the students at Urbana ’70 that during segregation, “the evangelical, Bible-believing, fundamental, orthodox, conservative church in this country was strangely silent.” The churches, Skinner said, supported the status quo on slavery, segregation and civil rights. During the 1950s and 1960s, evangelicals, even when they opposed segregation, stayed clear of joining the civil rights movement. This week’s support for #BlackLivesMatter is different because InterVarsity is embracing a social and political movement that is active. And it is one that is controversial both nationally and within evangelicalism.
InterVarsity, the evangelical campus ministry, stands in full support of #BlackLivesMatter, issuing a call this week for the nearly 16,000 attendees at Urbana to support the movement, reports Religion News Service. Urbana is a yearly conference put on by the biblical and social justice-minded InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. At the main evening session on Dec. 28, featured speaker Michelle Higgins — director of a faith advocacy group and active member of #BlackLivesMatter in St. Louis, Mo. — challenged students to listen to the movement and to have conversations about racism, even if such conversations cause discomfort.
Jurors began deliberations on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday afternoon, the panel informed the judge it was deadlocked, and Williams ordered them to continue deliberating.
The panel, made up of seven women and five men, resumed deliberations Wednesday morning.
In Porter's trial, the prosecution brought medical experts, policing experts and other witnesses to show that Porter was criminally negligent when he failed to secure Gray in a seat belt in the van or call for a medic when Gray requested one.
The defense brought similar experts, as well as other Baltimore police officers, to show that Porter acted as a "reasonable officer" in his interactions with Gray and that Gray's injury was the result of an accident that Porter could not have prevented.
There has so far been no official accounting of what happened to Smith the morning of Nov. 1 on the second-floor landing of the Marbury Plaza Apartments in Southeast D.C. The Medical Examiner’s report tells part of the story, but there is still so much more unknown.
"I'm no longer stating that my son was beaten to death. My son was tortured to death. There are more injuries in the coroner’s report than I could visibly see with my eyes. There were injuries on my son’s back. He was hemorrhaging — the back. The back of his head was busted,” said mother Beverly Smith.
In matters of racism and sexism, even the revolutionaries come with their own biases. The narrative of Jesus and the Canaanite woman shows us the importance of intersectionality, and careful attention that must be paid to highly marginalized people. Jesus wore the glasses of justice, but found that even he came to a situation where he needed a stronger prescription.