I wish I knew what to do.
We see events like Charlottesville, and we feel helpless. It can be paralyzing see the brokenness of this world and feel like you are powerless to make a difference. We might have a shift in our opinions, but a change in opinion doesn’t change the world.
I felt the same way on August 9th, 2014, and in the months that followed. This was the day Michael Brown was gunned down in the street, and all hell broke lose in Ferguson. I saw for the first time just how alive and well the issue of race was in our country. Like a lot of white people, I was blissfully unaware and naive about the realities of racism and division in our country. I felt like I needed to do…something.
But where do you start? Well, I started to listen. I listened to voices of color. I listened to voices of men and women who had suffered at the hands of racism and injustice. I listened to African American pastors and leaders, and began to see faith in Jesus outside of my own ‘white culture’ experience. I’ll be honest. In many ways, it was like being born again, again.
It’s funny how those days seem tame compared to our present. White supremacists and Nazis openly march and spew hateful rhetoric right out in the open. It’s 2017. We are more divided than ever, and the division in many ways runs along the fault line of race.
Repentance And Rebellion
Which is exactly why we endeavored to plant a multi-ethnic church this past January. Planting Restoration was an act of repentance and rebellion. First, we are repenting of the racism and division that has no place in Jesus’ Church, and we are doing so by building a community where the walls of hostility are torn down (Ephesians 2:14-17). Second, we are rebelling against the divisive status quo of our society that puts our preferences, comforts, and assumptions at the forefront of our lives to make division ‘normal.’
If you’ve ever been to Restoration, you’ll know we have a long way to go in reflecting a multicultural reality in our community. Bringing together different cultures isn’t always easy, and when all you’ve ever known is your culture, it can come as a shock. But I’ve learned it’s a shock we need. We need to see Jesus outside of our own cultural eyes. We need to be jolted from our cultural consumerism. And we don’t just need this for us, we need it for our kids.
And it all has to do with what we believe about Jesus – that he is restoring people who restore the world. Jesus is the only source of unity across the dividing lines of our country: racial lines, political lines, socio-economic lines, cultural lines, and every other line. Politics will try and fail. The Church is the only hope of unity we have in this country, not because it’s perfect, but because it’s where Jesus is. It’s where restoration starts.
Do you believe that? If so, what are you going to do? Our rebellion against the powers and principalities of this world that divide us is a multi-ethic, multicultural, Jesus-centered Church.
I am inviting you to join that rebellion. If you don’t have a church home, join us. We are far from perfect, but we are building this hope from the ground up. We need your voice, your hands, and your feet to keep building something beautiful and diverse in our city!
If you do have a church home, pray and work for a community that is full of people and perspectives of different races and backgrounds, both onstage and off. Be a thorn in the side of monotony and the status quo.
Either way, rebel. The world expect us to stay as divided as they are. And I don’t know about you, but I’m done meeting their expectations. I am ready for the heaven of “every nation, tribe, people and language (Revelation 7:9)” to be a reality on earth. I am ready for the miracle of unity in Jesus.
Are you? Let’s get to work.