Responding to Ferguson – 5 Responses from Christian Leaders

Responding to Ferguson. If you are like most, it is hard to know where to start.

I’m not qualified to give the best response to the #FergusonDecision.

Not because I’m “white”, ignorant, have no background as a police officer, and have never been arrested (although all of those are certainly true to an extent). I honestly don’t know what would qualify a person for responding to Ferguson or what would disqualify them. I truly believe all people matter and to some degree want to understand their opinion no matter what. I also know that I don’t know all there is to know about the situation (far from it actually). There is no way I could ever understand the totality of the backgrounds, frustrations, or hurts that people feel right now.

Responding to Ferguson - 5 Responses from Christian Leaders

Here’s what I do know. I am a sinful man who struggles with my own shortcomings daily.

I hate the way I treat others sometimes. I love the hope in the words of others.
I hate the poor decisions I make. I love people of all colors.
I hate the way people use race to hurt others. I love the diversity of the human race.
I hate the pain people feel this week (and far more often than I know). I love expressions of forgiveness..
I hate oppression and its effects. I love seeing oppressors and oppressed work together.
I hate the effects of hatred. I love the effects of love.

I am broken. But my identity is in Christ.

I hate the effects of hatred. I love the effects of love. Click To Tweet

It is from this perspective that I enter the discussion. Not as someone who has alot to say. But as someone who has alot to learn. I’m embarrased to admit that much of my silence is due to my ignorance.

This post will highlight a few voices in the darkness. A few voices responding to Ferguson, who bravely spoke up when others wouldn’t, who spoke up when I wouldn’t.

None of these men and women are perfect. None of them “know it all.” None of them are the definitive answer.

“Why?” You might ask.

Because noone is “THE” answer. We are all part of “THE” answer.

If you don’t know what to say, join me in reading what others have said. Imagine what pain they have felt. Consider how you might treat another person’s interests as more important than your own (no matter what side of the situation you are on). Find a way to love someone in a way that prioritizes them over you. Find a way to listen. Find a way to love.

Responding to Ferguson – 5 Responses from Christian Leaders

1) Lecrae on Ferguson: ‘The System We Have in Place Has Biases’ by Lecrae (@lecrae)

“I hate systemic oppression in America. But in saying all of this, I am not condemning the actions of Darren Wilson nor am I condoning those of Mike Brown. Why does loving black people equate to hating white people in so many people’s minds?… This is not a crusade for division, but it is obvious that there still exists in America a racial divide. It’s apparent by the divide on this issue between blacks and whites all over social media. We can’t naively think that changes in voting rights forty years ago solved the problem of race…I still have hope for a dream of unity and peace.” (Lecrae)  [Read the Full Article]

Lecrae’s article stopped me in my tracks. His words capture the situation in ways I never could. They challenge us to understand, to love, and to hope.

2) Tony Evans’ Reflections on Ferguson by Tony Evans (@drtonyevans)

“What is unity? Unity is oneness of purpose underneath God, where God sets the guidelines by which we live. His most important guideline being, of course, that of love. Scripture tells us that we are to “weep with those who weep,” and that we are to “put on, as God’s chosen ones … compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” In addition, we are to have “unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” [Read the Full Article]

Dr. Evans article calls on Christian leaders to lead the way. His words on unity, listening, and love struck me as needed.

3) An Unfinished Progress: 4 Ways to Pursue Grace in a Racially Diverse Society by Bryan Loritts (@bcloritts)

“I have become entrenched in my conviction that culture is not to be ignored but subjugated to the master culture of the kingdom of God. My blackness is not to be dismissed, but submitted and subjugated to the redeeming power of the cross, and in humble participation to this new chosen race and royal priesthood called the church of Jesus Christ. [Read the Full Article]

Pastor Bryan Loritts‘ refreshing honesty about his roots, journey away from them, and now the challenge of living primarily as a Christian give me hope for our future. Make sure to check out the Kainos Conference that he and the multi-ethnic church he leads are putting on April 22-23, 2015.

4) Ferguson Response (includes 6 ways to respond to Ferguson) by Darrin Patrick (@darrinpatrick)

“Resist the temptation to ignore what’s going on. Make yourself aware of what is happening and how other people feel about it…Be honest with yourself about your own fears, biases, unforgiveness, judgment. Pray to that end and repent (Psalm 139).” [Read the Full Article]

Pastor Darrin Patrick addresses some steps forward for those wondering what they should do now. Consider his perspective as a pastor of a church very close geographically to Ferguson.

5) #Ferguson by Priscilla Shirer (@priscillashirer)

“I need to tell you that it was only a decade ago that I walked off of a stage after having spoken at a prayer breakfast in one of our nation’s major cities. An older man with kind and tender eyes, walked up to me, shook my hand and in the most sincere way he knew gave me a “compliment” – That was a great message. You are a credit to your race” A credit? To my race? He was utterly sincere. The fact remains that there is an underlying divide in our nation that still exists.” [Read the Full Article]

Speaker and Teacher Priscilla Shirer wrote these words responding to Ferguson after the initial incident in August 2014 (Editorial Note: Her words were not written after the grand jury decision like the previous four articles we mention here). Her words speak to the situation in a very personal way.

Which of these articles challenged you? What articles would you suggest that I and others could read before responding to Ferguson? Thanks in advance for treating each of these writers and Christian leaders with respect as you interact with them about their beliefs, opinions, and ideas.