When Will We Start Listening?

October 14, 2020

When will we start listening to God and when will we start listening to Black experience?

If white people are serious about reconciliation, then we should one day find ourselves reconciling with white supremacists. If white people really listen to Black leaders, thinkers, friends, family members, clergy, organizers, writers, poets, musicians, theologians, historians, authors, and speakers, then our work will take us beyond ourselves and into the lives of others.

But I Have Been Listening…

Maybe you’ve been listening already. Maybe you’ve listened and read and listened some more. I have.

I’ve listened to all manner of incredible preachers, professors, and mentors but if you looked at my life could you really tell? What impact have I allowed them to have? If I haven’t changed, have I really been listening?

How Can We Listen When We Haven’t Done Our Work?

We say we want Black leadership in the Church. We say we want to appoint and elect Black clergy and lay leaders to our boards. We say we want to have “diversity” that represents all of our church in all that we do. But are we willing to work for it? Are we willing to do the work that would make us safe to work with? Will we do the work that can move us beyond tokenism and trophies?

White Comfort & “Safe” Black Leaders

Or will we reenact what centuries of systematized power has taught us and gravitate to those we judge to be safe?

Just like we do with God.

What to Do When We Don’t Repent?

How long do we expect someone to stay in an abusive relationship? We never require someone to stay with a partner or parent or family member who harms them. When will we start listening to Black experience and believing Black people?

How long will we expect Black people to stay in relationship with White America as we continue to do violence and show no sign of repentance?

If We are Listening, Why are White Christians Still Here?

It’s a better question, in many ways, than “why are Black people still here?” Why are we still here? What is keeping us at the communion table with our siblings, sisters, and brothers whom we continue to hurt?

What do we believe about God that lets us continue to approach the Altar of the Lord as if our siblings have nothing against us? How can we behave as if we’re doing the best we can – when we’re not. When will we start listening to God and to our neighbors?


Working toward Beloved Community.

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