I got on Twitter to vague tweet some weird sore spots from an old wound (I know, super mature) when I heard the news that another black church is burning. Is nothing sacred?
I thought I knew about the importance of the Black church to the community, and then I moved into a black neighborhood. There are two that I walk by if I take the dog on the long loop around the golf course. These buildings anchor my neighborhood. They have since my neighborhood existed. Both head pastors live within walking distance to their church. Both have fish fries and revivals, trick-or-treating and first watch night services on New Year’s Eve. I know that the health of my neighborhood is dependent on these two pillars, and I know what a horrendous thing it would be to have one burned down.
Have you heard? How is this not making front page news? Why did I have to hear about it first on Twitter? Surely the Christian Communities I run in care! These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. These are buildings where people worship our God! Surely it matter to us. Still, almost nothing on Facebook, my blog roll, instagram.
I can’t help but remember the way white Christians managed to organize to support their favorite chicken resturaunt in the name of Jesus. I am remembering the way this was organized in the name of defying persecution. There are houses of worship being set on fire where is the outrage? The organizing? The call that this WILL NOT STAND!
I go to Twitter to nurse old wounds and find another bleeding gash across the Body of Christ. Someone is buring the homes of my brothers and sisters. Someone is destroying pillars of communities. Probably more than just one someone. The church that is burning as I write this, was burned down once before. In 1995. Racist terrorist acts against black people is not the ancient history we pretend it is. 20 years and 10 days ago this church was burned, and it is burning again.
Will this be mentioned in the white churches I have attended? Will there be a call to action, to solidarity, to prayer? Or do those things just happen when it is Tim Tebow, or the Duck Dynasty men being “denied” opportunities to speak and pray. Do you have to be white to get a peace offering passed around in your name? Will we only help black people who we can exoticize based on their location?
These are our neighbors. Their churches have been burned. I know that historically we have segregated our worship, but do we not care about our brothers and sisters being terrorized, likely in the name of a false and racist God? Can we not see our responsibility to do what we can for the churches being burned? Do we not mourn with those who mourn? Weep with those who weep?
I have seen so much division in the church, so many unkind words and walls built over complicated disagreements about the Word and how to read it. Can we at least agree to hold hands over this? Can we all agree to gnash our teeth and tear our garments over these churches that have been burned? Can the church at least get it together enough to put down the rocks we have been chucking at each other and build together a hedge of protection for our Brothers and Sisters?
0. Pray. Pray without ceasing. Fast and pray. Pray the hours. Pray.
1. Give a damn. If you are still reading you care. Congratulations! You have a heart.
2. Donate. Right Here.
3. Call your nearest Historically Black Church and ask them how you can help. White people do not just go walking in there. Our pressence may cause undue anxiety and fear. Call first.
4. Use your words. News outlets pay attention to what is trending on Facebook and Twitter. The more we demand an answer to that question in the hashtag the more people the FBI will put on answering it. The 24 hour news cycle needs to get on this.
5. Bug your pastor. I have a deep respect for pastors, so I don’t think I have ever asked anyone to do this before. This is a clear opportunity for a love offering. There should be a plate passed around in every church in America to help our Brothers and Sisters rebuild. Tell your pastor you want one. Then have everyone in your mom’s group/Bible Study/Choir do the same.