We white Christians still have a lot to learn and a reprehensible past to lament. After 400 years, we’d better pray that black churches are still willing to teach us. And that we’ve got conscience enough to act on what we learn.
What the eruption of protests – and subsequent riots – across the nation shows is that for too long black bodies have been harmed and victimized by the past and present values of white supremacy.
Those of us who are white are asked by the cross to stand in solidarity with the crucified class to dismantle the structures of white supremacy that sustains itself through the use, abuse and destruction of black and brown bodies.
This isn’t just about the law or the president. It’s about us, the “white us,” engaged in actions with frightening implications for, with or about white Christianity, compelling us to ask hard questions of our churches and each other.
During Holy Week maybe we white Christians should hold the image of a cross in one hand and the image of a noose in the other. Both should call us to repentance.
Wendell Griffen, 66, is all of these things. But his persona is so large, his reputation so loud, his “rightness” so locked in and eagerly defended, that the man’s depth can be lost in the shallows in which he must wade.
In one of life’s delicious little ironies, New Millennium Church now meets on the campus associated with one of Little Rock’s most ardent racists of the 1950s.
View the photo gallery of Wendell Griffen.
Whatever moral credibility American evangelicals once had, they have lost. They have chosen to die on the 45th hill, and it has been painful and despairing to watch. Our nation desperately needs strong faith communities that are able to articulate a clear moral voice, even if it convicts them, too.