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The Three L's: An Invitation For White People

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

So many people have started the journey of pursuing racial reconciliation/conciliation since the death of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020. I myself have been on this journey for the past six months, and am still so far from where God wants me to be.

This is a blog written for my white brothers and sisters. I want to share a few things I am walking through that may be helpful for you as you proactively take steps towards racial reconciliation. I want to be clear though... I am still a rookie. I have read far too few of books, not taken nearly enough classes, and do not have a Master's or PHD in this topic.

My only hope is to share some things I am working on and learning that may help people get started on the journey. I also want to note that this is NOT a check-off list. Just like with faith, we can never truly master the walk of racial reconciliation. We will continue to make mistakes and continue to find areas for growth, so we must put in practice these steps every day for the rest of our lives.

A Question I Have Asked and Hear Often:

Where do I start?

You may be ready to start fighting alongside our black brothers and sisters––a battle they have been fighting their entire lives and generation's past––but are stuck wondering where to begin. Paul calls us to the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5. Because lip service doesn't change the world, here are Three L's to remember and implement into your daily walk as you navigate the journey of racial reconciliation.

1) Listen

I can't stress enough how important it is to actively listen to our black and brown brothers and sisters as they share their experiences with us. I have been more intentional in recognizing my privilege as a white person through humbly listening to the experiences of black people.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. - James 1:19, NIV

All three of those commands from James are connected and in a very specific order for a very specific reason. White people must firstly be quick to listen. Secondly, we must be slow to speak. This doesn't give us permission to respond (something that may be hard to hear), it simply means that when we do choose to speak or respond to our black and brown friends, we must do so after we have actively listened and are willing to respond in love and companionship.

I have learned that black people don't need my open-ended advice on how they should respond towards their oppression. This is why James concludes the verse by giving us a final command: slow to become angry. You may not agree with how people are feeling and thinking––but that is the beauty of listening. By listening first, we have the opportunity to learn something new about the struggle our black and brown peers are battling every single day.

Listening without criticizing ones experiences is the best place to start when journeying towards racial reconciliation.

2) Learn

I have had the privilege of reading and learning from some of the best and most intelligent scholars on racial reconciliation. Scholars such as Tasha Morrison, Jemar Tisby, and Robin Diangelo. These scholars have challenged my thinking and continue to fill me with knowledge and wisdom through their blogs, social media posts, books, and podcasts.

We should never stop learning, reading, listening, and gaining knowledge about current events, past events, and how we can help create a better future.

If you are serious about pursuing God's heart through racial reconciliation, here are a few books and podcasts to check out from the above scholars:

1) Be The Bridge (book) by Tasha Morrison. Here is the link for the book.

2) Be The Bridge (podcast) by Tasha Morrison. Here is the link for the podcast.

3) The Color of Compromise (book) by Jemar Tisby. Here is the link for the book.

4) White Fragility (book) by Robin Diangelo. Here is the link for the book.

These books and podcasts are tough reads and listens but present a good starting place for white people who are seeking education and awareness about systemic racism.

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance – Proverbs 1:5, NIV

Never stop learning. Never stop gaining awareness. Never stop soaking in all of the knowledge and wisdom you can.

3) Lament

To journey with our black and brown brothers and sisters by pursuing racial reconciliation is to lament with them. Lament is a passionate expression of grief and sorrow. Tasha Morrison encourages white people who are interested in bridge-building to consistently lament with our black and brown friends.

Lament also includes regret.

Regret leads to conviction.

Conviction leads to growth.

Growth leads to conversations.

Conversations lead to change.

My heart has been shattered by the awareness that has come from pursuing racial reconciliation––but a broken heart isn't what brings change. To passionately express and to grieve with the black community is so crucial for racial reconciliation. The white culture has damaged so many relationships by our racism and lack of lament.

Let me rephrase that... I have damaged so many relationships by my racism and lack of lament.

When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father. – Genesis 50:10, NIV.

We are called to lament with the hurting and the oppressed. We have the opportunity to be a part of the Church that changes the world. To do so, we must passionately express and grieve with our black brothers and sisters.

So Here Is The Invitation:

I invite you to start the journey with me in pursuing racial reconciliation. It's going to be messy, and we are going to make mistakes, but through listening, learning, and lamenting we have a solid foundation to start chasing after God's heart.

I invite you to listen, learn, and lament as if the situation directly impacts you.

How desperately would we fight for change if we were the ones being oppressed? How desperately would we be seeking knowledge and lament if we––or someone we personally knew––was hurting?

I invite you on this journey with me as I listen, learn, and lament with the black community.

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