I grieve over my empathy-gap when it comes to the topic of race and current events.

My heart is there. But I simply do not feel what it’s like to not be a white man in our culture.

One strategy to help this knowledge and empathy gap is reading a broad array of articles. I intentionally digest material outside of my comfort zone trying to be “quick to listen and slow to speak” (Jam. 1:19). I follow particular people on Twitter and read their posts carefully. I ask the Lord to help me “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).

Before I analyze the argument, I want to really listen…try to understand. Over the last month, I’ve found three articles that have been especially helpful. I commend them to you:

1. White people don’t understand the trauma of viral police-killing videos

When the news features an officer-involved shooting of an African-American (especially a male), an emotional divide emerges. My black brothers wonder if “I get it.” Many of my white friends struggle to see anything beyond a “law enforcement issue.” This article helps contextualize why shootings are historically painful for our African-American brothers and sisters.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/column-trauma-police-dont-post-videos

2. A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches

This article will help you understand how white evangelical support for President Trump is felt by many of our black brothers and sisters. It will give you an important vantage point – regardless of who you voted for.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/us/blacks-evangelical-churches.html

3. The Heavy Burden of Teaching My Son About American Racism

This is one of the most painful conversations in an African-American home. And one of the least understood conversations among whites (in my experience). After I posted this on social media, here’s what one of our African-American church members said:

This IS probably harder than anything else I do pertaining to this topic… I’m just thankful that as I have this convo with my 4 sons on a regular basis I now have a BUT clause to say that this is what our meetings with pastor Mark are about… for us to work together to help the church family build more intimate and biblical relationships for the fulfillment of:

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/03/heavy-burden-teaching-kid-american-racism/555995/

I hope these resources are helpful.

My prayer is that God can continue to push the church – my church – forward in living out biblical unity in diversity, starting with my ability to err on the side of empathy.


 

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