So I wrote a blog post about race relations and Ferguson.
Was it a helpful post? I don't know. Will it make a difference? I don't know.
I'm glad I wrote it to express solidarity. That's never a bad thing. But I struggle with writing such posts.
For one thing, I find my motivations obscure and hard to penetrate.
Why did I write the post?
People were looking for, calling for responses from White Christians. Did I respond out of guilt? Was I shamed into it?
Did I write because I wanted to help, to add my voice, or because I was signaling, managing a social media image? Showing that I was one of the "good Christians" who got a post out there?
I don't think I did it for any of those reasons, but I never fully trust my self-assessments. I can't say for sure that my motives weren't mixed.
I want to do good, but I also want to be perceived, perhaps more than I'd like to admit, as being a good person.
Beyond these neurotic motivational ruminations, I also struggle with writing those sorts of posts because I wonder if they make any difference.
Does a passionate, in-your-face blog post, Tweet, or Facebook note actually improve race relations? Surely it gives the impression that you've done something, but does it make a difference?
We demand that people write things about race relations--Show up on social media!--but do all those posts and Tweets add up to anything tangible and lasting? Are we actually changing the world as we sit at our computers? Or is it all just going down a digital drain?
And if we are not effecting concrete and lasting change, why are we demanding more words on screens?
These are the sorts of things that roll around in my mind when any controversial subject hits social media. I'm always eager to express solidarity. We need more of it. So I want to add my voice. But my lingering skepticism about motivations and efficacy makes my head hurt.
And then I went to church.
Last night was the monthly meal, praise and communion service at Freedom Fellowship, the church plant I've written so much about.
The events in Ferguson were on Paul's heart tonight. So Paul called Henry, Ray, and Christiana up to the front, to stand with him as we prayed for Ferguson, each of them representing all the races in our fellowship.
And so we prayed. All of us together. Praying for Ferguson. And pledging to love each other as members of the body of Christ.
During the meal beforehand, Jana and I sat with Anthony. Anthony is Black.
Passing by the nursery I held the hand of one of our newest members, three month old Richard, bouncing on his mother's lap. Baby Richard is Hispanic.
During services Jana and I sat with Moses. Moses is Black.
And I drove Henry home after church. We listened to Tejano music. Henry is Hispanic.
I am White.
This is the body of Christ.
Each of us in that church, despite our race and everything else that divides us, from gender to education to socioeconomic status, showing up to eat together, worship together and pray together.
I don't know how to fix America's race relations problem. Does writing a blog post help? I really don't know, though I'm glad I wrote it. A blog post is what it is, and that may be much or very little.
Does walking in a march help? Sitting with a candle in a vigil? Signing a petition?
I don't know.
But what I do know is this. And it dawned on me during Paul's prayer. And listening to Ray give us a little spontaneous prophetic exhortation afterwards.
It dawned on me as baby Richard, with his dark chocolate eyes, squeezed my finger. It dawned on me when I asked Henry to translate Spanish lyrics.
Yes, social media and Internet activism are wonderful things. Tweet and blog away my brothers and sisters.
But for my part, the only way I know how to save the world is by going to church.
|My Brothers and Sisters at Freedom Praying for Ferguson|