How do we, in the missional church movement, deal with the pain we feel as we listen to the discussion following the shooting of Trayvon Martin? I fear that silence here could be misinterpreted. I think that those of us who carry white skin privilege can not remain silent. Silence is complicity, as the bumper sticker says.
Racism killed Trayvon Martin.
Yes, an individual Florida man held up his gun and pulled the trigger. But that man’s life was shaped and formed by a country founded upon and developed through racist beliefs — beliefs that were given clear expression and credibility through Christian theologies. Until we begin to examine, understand, and seek forgiveness for these elements of who we are, can we ever heal?
Those of us who are Christian confess that God is found in the heart of this pain, that Jesus died on the cross witnessing to the overwhelming love of God. How are we witnessing to that love in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s murder?
When will we begin to understand that racism is not simply about interpersonal language or bigotry, but about the institutionalization of such prejudice, inscribed via the power of fear? Where are we confessing the love that confronts such fear, such hatred?
Some essays worth pondering in the light of Trayvon’s death:
- “an open letter to my unborn, Black son” by Ajani Husbands
- “how does it feel to be a problem?” by Joyce B.
- “Walking while Black” by Marion Wright Edelman
- the social sin of white denial explored by Tim Wise
- “when you can’t find your words” by Eunuma Okora
- “you will never be him, please don’t be them” by Arwyn
- “white silence and the pain it imposes” by Mia McKenzie
The Florida Council of Churches has issued a statement. It’s worth recalling the statement on racism the Twin Cities’ Catholic bishop made, many years ago.
To what else ought we be pointing?
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