It’s been a long one, the last week, yes? It’s been conversations with family and friends, responding to texts, reading countless articles and social media threads, asking questions and having questions asked of me.
I’ve cried on Dave’s shoulder as fear and queasiness threatened to churn my stomach again and again.
Maybe you feel it too.
It has been the source of no small alarm in my heart to watch conversations unfold, specifically among Christians, that are filled with abrasive words, harsh criticism, refusal to listen, and a gaping hole where should be tenderness and humility.
Maybe you’re asking it too, where is the love and unity?
This is my most pressing why: Why the avoidance and even outrage over saying Black lives matter? Is there something fearful about the phrase? Some aren’t into hashtags. Some aren’t keen to endorse the Black Lives Matter Movement based on thorough research. I respect that.
But when it comes to resisting the sentiment itself, I’m so confused.
Maybe you’re puzzled too.
I compare this scene to fighting disease. Specifically, Ebola. Ebola left agony and death by the thousands in its wake. Remember the hashtags and raised funds and desperate prayers for relief? As Ebola was destroying villages and families, folks were still dying of malaria, of yellow fever, of cancer. The desire for those diseases to be eradicated was no less. But for the moment, there was an outbreak before us, and we wanted to do all we could to cure, to prevent, to alleviate the rampant suffering.
When someone urged, “Ebola matters! Let’s raise awareness, let’s passionately search for a solution! We must, for the sake of the suffering and dying!” We didn’t toss back, “all diseases matter.” It’s true, but completely irrelevant.
My analogy is weak, my knowledge is limited, my encounters are sheltered. But others more eloquent and experienced than I have unpacked these subjects, especially the Christian discrepancies surrounding Black Lives Matter.
Maybe their words will be helpful to you too.
This is one of most well-written articles I’ve read explaining why All Lives Matter is not a fitting response to Black Lives Matter. The Problem With Saying ALL LIVES MATTER by Tyler Huckabee
Crystal Michelle shares an eye-opening analogy in this Facebook post: I have been told how dangerous being in the sun is by my white friends…
Stephen Mattson offers these words in his article Social Justice Is a Christian Tradition- Not a Liberal Agenda :
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Gentile lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Jewish lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Women’s lives matter.”
Instead of saying all lives matter, Jesus said, “Lepers’ lives matter.”
Even though Jesus loves everyone, even to the point of dying for their sins, he went out of his way to intentionally help specific groups of people — the alienated, mistreated, and those facing injustice.
Shannon Martin (aka Flower Patch Farmgirl) published this tender guest post yesterday by her friend Jess:
…I know it's my privilege to serve a savior that is near to the broken hearted. But I want to walk alongside a community of believers that are near to me as well. Sadly...that's just not the case. For every #AltonSterling and #TamirRice, I notice an overwhelming silence from my white Christian sisters. It’s deafening. ...Within the post is a link to 10 Reasons I Don’t Want to be Your White Ally. Read it too, if you feel paralyzed about what to say or do when it comes to standing with your Black sisters and brothers.
David Murray writes Weep, Love, and Pray: A Christian Response to Dallas, Castille, and Sterling.
My friend passed along this poem written in 1932 by Sterling Brown which, in her words, "made my blood run cold in how accurately it portrays society's typical progression of thinking."
Here we are, friends, with precious lives around us being disrespected, mistreated, threatened, and stolen. To commit to the task of mending the gaping wound of power and honor and equality and trust we currently have between us? Is to commit to seeking justice, to loving mercy, to walking in humility with our Creator and our brothers and sisters.
BLACK LIVES MATTER TO ME. Do they matter to you too? Yeah, so let’s find ways to say it. We could ask someone how they’re holding up, and listen carefully. Send an email or a card. Pay for the coffee order behind us and remind someone that love will win. Speak up and say that justice for their lives matters to us, whether it be on social media, by thoughtfully pointing out prejudice in family conversations, or by taking action in social reform.
Can we make this our mission? While allies may not agree on all things, they esteem each other highly. They listen carefully. They are always aware that they’re working together, on the same team, for the same cause: justice, reconciliation, and love.
One friend, processing these tragic events over the phone and noting how her life has been so removed from such disparity said, “I don’t want to remain clueless and say they don’t affect me, because they do.” And I wrote it down on my desk so I would remember. Remember that conversations are happening, friends are listening, awareness is growing, love is moving. Remember that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (MLKJ).
Let's keep choosing love, who wants easy anyway?