In these tumultuous days, with topics around racial inequality at the forefront of many conversations, there often seem to be more questions than answers. What does meaningful progress look like? How should the Church respond? How can we lead our cities forward and make a lasting difference, both in the hearts of our people and the trajectory of our policies?
Humility is an important first step. We can set aside our pride by examining history and the lessons learned by others who have gone before us. We were blessed recently to hear from Alan Platt, founder of Doxa Deo Churches, who compared South Africa’s transition since the end of apartheid to our current situation in the United States.
“We’re not talking just about legislation, although that’s one component of this journey,” Platt said. “We’re in essence talking about transformation, which needs to happen in the hearts of people. We realize that the church is the primary environment in which this can be manifested and made real.”
We can learn from the ongoing journey of reconciliation in South Africa, he said. We must recognize that this is not going to be a short-term process, but a long-term generational engagement going forward. The Church can take the lead in this transformation by following three guidelines:
- Awareness. We should seek the truth by carefully selecting the information sources we follow and use discernment in our understanding. We are called to listen well to those who have personally experienced injustices, making space to mourn their loss of both dignity and opportunity. The realities must change us first before we can change the system.
- But what about … ? It’s easy to get distracted by parallel issues, hypocrisy and predictions. But we have to focus on the fundamental issue of racism while fighting the distractions in order to find hope and healing.
- Commitment. To somehow find our new collective voice to the nation and for it to truly be prophetic, it will have to go beyond just speaking against racism in general. To act against the social constructs that fuel racial discrimination and disparity is something totally different. We must decide what we are committing to and what we represent as the Church at this time.
If we’re going to learn from the past, we must lament our mistakes, not just legislate around them. The role of the Church is to admit the brokenness in our society, with humility, and create an environment where God’s grace can bring transformation.
View our conversation with Alan Platt of Doxa Deo: