Our family is taking some time away this week so the newsletter is a bit spares, though I’ve linked to a few things below that I hope you’ll find helpful. Instead of an essay, this week I’ve got a request.
One of the things I get to do is serve as the CEO of New Community Outreach, a non-profit focused on reducing the sources of trauma faced by young people on the South Side of Chicago using restorative justice practices. Even during these COVID days, we’re still serving our community. This summer we’re running a community garden that distributes fresh produce to our neighbors each Saturday, we’re planning a socially-distanced back-to-school fair for later this month, and our staff is leading a cohort of sophomores through a summer program focused on racial justice and entrepreneurship. It’s exciting stuff!
Next month we’re participating in the Run Against Gun Violence with a goal of raising $20,000 for our work. My personal goal is to raise 10% of our total, $2,000.
I’m just $700 away from my goal. If my writing has been helpful for you, would you please make donation? Thanks!
On Wednesday my friends Rev. Shaun Marshall joined me on Instagram for a conversation about “White Evangelical Reflexes.” In the conversation Shaun unpacks three of the reflexes he’s experienced: 1) Let’s just preach the Gospel. Racism is about sin, not systems. 2) Racism might be wrong, but I cant support Black Lives Matter. 3) These protests are bringing division and, as Christians, we should be promoting unity.
In my latest article for Missio Alliance I ask about whether we’re experiencing a moment or a movement for racial justice.
If this pressing moment is to mature into a movement for racial justice, it will be due in part to White Christians reckoning with our ugly history while renewing our theological imaginations with a vision of multiracial solidarity. As unlikely as this sounds, I cannot shake the conviction that Jesus intended his followers to respond to moments just like this one. After all, churches are built for the long haul. Our shared vocation, as pastor and author Eugene Peterson wrote, is a “long obedience in the same direction.” We understand that following Jesus, being transformed by Jesus, and imitating Jesus in the world is a journey measured in years and generations. In other words, at their best, our churches are made for sustained movement in a world captivated by spectacular moments.
On Thursday I got to talk with my friends Inés Velasquez-McBryde and Bobby Harrison about multi-racial church planting. We covered a lot of ground and I think you’ll find something here to encourage and challenge you.