On Black Lives Matter.
I’ve had many conversations since my last blog post here and have read many good articles and thoughts on this topic, so I thought a little follow-up was warranted.
Along with this “social injustice” topic, I’ve also been reading about biblical manhood and womanhood. And what I’ve concluded (at least in terms of my own convictions) is that “black lives matter,” while true as a statement, might be unhelpful as a banner statement by Christians in the same way that I think it is unhelpful for believers to use “feminism” as their banner. Because while feminism might have a stand-alone definition that says something true about the equal worth of women, it’s a word that has become too loaded with other values, like the abortion agenda, to be helpful in biblical discussions.
So, while it’s true that black lives do matter because they are made in the image of God and their lives are precious to Him, it is admittedly hard to use that phrase nowadays without the assumption that its users also hold to the values of Black Lives Matter, the political organization.
I’ve never used the hashtag or the phrase directly other than to address the conversations surrounding it (e.g., in the title of my last blog post), but I have used #blacklivesmattertoo on my Instagram as a clarifying phrase in response to #alllivesmatter. I don’t know if I would use it again in that way, mainly because I think there are other more helpful conversations to be had surrounding this topic, but I’m still learning.
I think the phrase might be helpful still as a starting point in conversation with unbelievers, that we both agree that black lives are precious, but it isn’t a helpful starting point in conversation with believers who are taken aback by the political and anti-Scriptural baggage of the organization that bears its name.
With that said, I was shocked that some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ assumed that my decision to be vocal about ethnic partiality against blacks was a subtle alignment with Black Lives Matter the organization, critical theory and intersectionality as worldviews, the social gospel, or all of the above. I was surprised that they assumed that my solidarity in grieving with the black community meant that I was anti-white, anti-police, anti-government, and pro-a lot of things that wouldn’t align with the gospel message and holding it up as of first importance. Not because I’m infallible (I’m obviously and definitely not) but because these were friends who I thought knew me well.
But I understand a little better now — this is an incredibly hard topic, even within the church, and everyone comes to the table with their experiences and assumptions. And that’s okay — as long as we come humbly, in love, and with a willingness to be shaped by a correct understanding and application of God’s Word. And we can disagree over some of its applications without being divisive about it.
I’m learning that it’s helpful to give multiple qualifying statements, to give clear definitions of the words I use, to articulate who my audience is, and to invite private conversation where public conversation is difficult. I’m learning that gentleness goes a long ways in these conversations. I understand better how I shouldn’t make assumptions of others either. And all of these happen best in real relationship, don’t they? I stepped away mostly encouraged, at least in my circles, with the conversations, the humility, and the openness with which people engaged. And I’m grateful.
Some people asked me to share out about the various public and private conversations I had on this topic, and maybe I will at some point if I think it’ll be edifying, but for now, I wanted to share some helpful, free resources that I’ve come across in the last several weeks:
- The Sin of Racism by Tim Keller
- Seeing the World in Black and White by Greg Morse
- George Floyd and Me by Shai Linne
- Understanding the Past as the Way to a United Future by Bobby Scott (Part 1| Part 2)
- Multi-Directional Leadership and Racial Injustice by Trevin Wax
- Bloodlines by John Piper
- Systemic Racism, God’s Grace, and the Human Heart: What the Bible Teaches About Structural Sin by Al Mohler, Jr.
- Does Systemic Racism Exist? by Neil Shenvi
- Reflections from a Christian Scholar on Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical Ethics by Kelly Hamren
- Understanding Critical Theory and Christian Apologetics by Neil Shenvi
- 9 Marks on Mercy Ministry in the Local Church
- The Gospel and Social Action by D.A. Carson
- Christians Care about All Suffering and Injustice by John Piper
Navigating Social Media
- Pastors on Social Media by Jonathan Leeman
- Shai Linne on Christians Labeling and Categorizing Each Other During This Cultural Moment
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some here, or maybe I never saw some that are even more helpful than these. If so, shoot me the link. 🙂
And for those who want to dig deeper, there are a handful of books I’ve also read through in past weeks, but I’ll refrain from recommending them until I’ve thought through them some more. ♥