What Christianity Requires: Getting Proximate

This is a something I posted on Facebook yesterday, but as it feels pretty blog-y, so I thought I’d save it here.

I don’t even care if anyone read this, I’m just boiling over with thoughts.

I have been really confused recently as to why Christians have been so hesitant to involve themselves in movements like BLM (or the denouncing of blatantly racist men for that matter). And maybe it’s a lack of exposure to diverse communities. Maybe its trepidation at having to change long held beliefs. Maybe it’s spiritual warfare. Most likely it’s a combination of all of that. But ultimately, what we have to come back to at the end of the day is the Word of God, and the example Jesus gave us while on earth.

And while this may seem like a cop out to some people or a way of dodging the problems at hand, I would argue that truly following Jesus makes you confront these exact issues head on. Because Jesus saw the pain and the suffering of His time, embraced the hurting people around Him, and demanded we do the same (Matthew 19:21, 25:42-46; Luke 10:29-37,18:6-8; Deut 15:7-11. I can’t reference enough scriptures here, it’s woven throughout the Bible).

Here’s a quote I love from Bryan Stevenson, “We are called to get proximate to the places in our community where there’s poverty, suffering, abuse, and neglect… there’s power in proximity.” And Tom Skinner, “Any gospel that talks about delivering to man a personal Savior who will free him from the personal bondage of sin and grant him eternal life and does not at the same time speak to the issue of enslavement, does not speak to the issue of injustice, does not speak to the issue of inequality – any gospel that does not want to go where people are hungry and poverty-stricken and set them free in the name of Jesus Christ is not the gospel.”

Jesus healed the sick, He ate with the neglected, He dialogued with the outcasts in such amazing love. He was near to them. And what baffles me is that very often white Christians know this but many are so reluctant to apply those scriptures to their lives (not all: obviously/thankfully/mercifully). This doesn’t mean you have to march in the streets every day and speak of nothing else, but it does mean that some people ARE called to do just that. To quote Tom Skinner again, “Some of you will be called to a lifestyle of militancy. Get away from this business that to be militant is to be anti-God. I am a militant; make no bones about it. Jesus was militant. And there are those of us who will be called to adopt the militant lifestyle. But keep in mind that militancy and radicalism must be disciplined and controlled by the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit.”

Let’s follow the example of Isaiah 1:16-17 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Do you see that list?! James 1:27 tells us that this is what true religion is. If you claim the name of Christ you must also pick up the work that He is doing on earth (This may be with BLM, it may not be, but please do not think that God is inherently or diametrically opposed to that movement.)

These are two VERY important speeches. They are long, yes, but so important. There’s some great education about the history of oppression in America and a great call to be an active member in the work God is doing in your community. Imagine the progress that could be made if we step up and out with the people of color in our world and do our part in the work of reconciliation.

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