Good Saturday morning. A colleague of mine (Carrie Ballanger) who serves in Jerusalem wrote a very poignant post yesterday. I am posting it here with her permission.
The thing that infuriates me about church folks who get uptight about the phrase “Black lives matter” (and subsequently the BLM movement) is how utterly BASIC these words actually are.
Black lives MATTER.
Hours-long church council meetings have been held about these things that MATTER (actual examples):
Red or white wine at communion
Bread or wafers
Changing the worship schedule
Including a Spanish hymn in the liturgy
The color of the pastor’s office walls
Why won’t Pastor let us put Jesus in the nativity scene the day after Thanksgiving
Whether to switch to fair trade coffee for fellowship hour
Can acolytes wear flip-flips under their robes
That time Pastor said “Crap” in her sermon
(“More Jesus, Less Crap” was the quote, BTW)
These issues MATTER enough for us to call meetings and set up task forces.
These issues MATTER enough for us to argue among friends and sometimes threaten to leave the church.
White people: Do the lives of our black and brown neighbors MATTER enough for us to do the same to protect them? To demand justice? To examine our complicity and change our behaviors? To upend this filthy rotten system and join God in giving birth to something new?
Again, it still strikes me as So. Very. Basic. “Black lives matter” doesn’t go nearly far enough.
To say something MATTERS just means it counts. It’s worth talking about. It warrants my attention, and probably some action. Like the sound flip-flops make under an alb on Sunday morning.
But Black lives and Palestinian lives and Refugee lives and Imprisoned lives don’t just MATTER. They are worth so much more.
Right? Right??? More than one council meeting. More than one “racial justice Sunday”. More than one week of protest. More than 4 officers arrested. More than one hashtag.
If white Christians can’t confidently proclaim BLACK LIVES MATTER with as much passion as we talk about the font in the worship bulletin then I don’t see how the church MATTERS. Period.
(end rant! Back to sermon writing.)
Think about how many issues we feel are so important we spend hours during committee meetings hashing them out. We must look differently at our issues because in the whole scheme of God’s plan for all God’s people, many of our issues are not worth discussing, while other issues need our full attention.
Blessings on your day,