(210) 558.5917 jharris@gracepoint.org

Black Lives Matter


Black Lives Matter! Growing up in Texas, as a white person, my mind runs through the blind bias of “don’t all lives matter”?

If I had said unborn lives matter! I would get an amen. If I say foster kids matter, again a hearty amen…people readily recognize I am not saying non-foster kids matter less, or the kids that have been born matter less. Folks acknowledge these groups are devalued and experience greater duress and are marginalized by our culture.

I am familiar with the rhetoric that we all have the same opportunities and that the black culture is the culprit to crime, poverty and dysfunction. That systemic racism isn’t to blame.

During reconstruction black men were in congress, then Jim Crow laws segregated and suppressed blacks for over 100 more years. From 1937 until the 1960’s federal home loans were given to whites only. This forced blacks to the Ghetto’s in greater and greater numbers.

Schools are funded by taxes on your home – the nicer the home the nicer the schools. Education has been the greatest determiner of job success for decades. To deny the domino effect that still persists and points to the outliers like Dr. Carson (who is amazing) is like saying “Mugsy” Bogues and Spud Webb made it in the NBA – and so all 5’6 to 5’8 people have a shot at becoming NBA players. The reality is we know we don’t and it is this hoplessness that the system is rigged against you that leads many to despair.

I know, I know, I’m from South Texas, wear boots, and drive a truck …I’m from here. History is not divorced from reality. Let’s take our partisan rhetoric and just shelve it.

What can I do? I look at my brother-in-law, a black NBA coach, and I recognize that wealth has no bearing on the statistic that he could be pulled over; nor does his affluence statistically change that he might have an negative encounter based on his race alone. I look at my nephews, bi-racial young men, who have yet to encounter the racism out in the world and I wonder how will it affect them?

I talk to my friends and listen to their stories and expereinces and let them know, “they matter!” Let them know “I get that I don’t understand, but I empathize” and like the unborn or the foster child – I believe they need to be fought for and defended.

Jesus said “Samaratan lives matter”, “prostitutes  lives matter”, “gentile lives matter”, “women’s lives matter”.

In the 1960’s my father had a cross burned in our yard and a shotgun put in his face for paying the black maid higher wages and getting her a social security card as he preached against segregation and racism.

I can only carry forward that example to my children. Would I risk my life so that another might live theirs equally? It seems the most American of values. It is the most Christian of virtues.

I know our world views are divided by our nationalism and politics but the question is: Can  they be united by our faith in Jesus?

I’m grieved and my heart is broken. Can we agree that Black Lives Do Matter and it’s time to stand together.

imageFor more on this, please watch the preservice portion from this past Sunday’s sermon on God is Love.