Newsletter - Chips Off The Rock - August 2020
We are all tired from the virus and protests that have captivated the attention of every person who wanders this planet. They have crippled the normal that we have come to expect. This wrinkle in history brings us closer to the reality that our expectations of normalcy are held by a fragile thread. Our spiritual ancestors also grew tired from waiting for God to do something miraculous. The editor of the Brethren magazine, “Messenger”, writes:
My friend Lisa Sharon Harper, founder of Freedom Road, has narrated a five-minute video for Red Letter Christians called “Black People Are Tired.” The lament by an anonymous writer begins, “We can’t go jogging,” and continues through a long list of activities that are unsafe for black people. It ends with “We’re tired. Tired of making hashtags. Tired of trying to convince you that black lives matter. Tired of dying. Tired. Tired. Tired. So very tired.”
Staying safe in a pandemic is difficult. It is even harder to rid ourselves of the additional deadly viruses of racism and poverty. James Cone observes: “Personal suffering challenges faith, but social suffering, which comes from human hate, challenges it even more.”
As our society presses toward a scientific cure for that which stalks us, may we also hasten toward a social and spiritual cure for our other ills. —Wendy McFadden
Likewise, the General Secretary of the Church of the Brethren reminds us of a 1991 statement from our Annual Conference:
Members of the Church of the Brethren face the subtle temptation of thinking that because there are not many black Americans in the denomination, or because many of us do not live in physical proximity to black people, that the problem of racism is not our concern. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us benefit from racist practices, without being direct participants, because of decisions and policies already in place in our religious, economic, and political institutions.
Many Brethren are seemingly unaware of the daily struggle faced by black Americans. In every urban community people face hunger, homelessness, unemployment, poor health care, and the violence spawned by the traffic in illegal drugs. If we Brethren were to address ourselves to the struggle for justice in our communities, we would often find this to be an area of common ground with black Americans, many of whom have been working for years on these problems. We all have much to learn and gain from working together on these issues. —David Steele
We are all tired beyond words to describe. And yet… Wendy closes her comments with these words from 1 John 4:20:
If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.