Will you STAY?
Today’s message will be a little different. Different in a heavy way, but in a much needed and urgent way. Some of the things we will talk about will be saddening, sensitive, touchy, and perhaps even confusing. As such, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, angry, confused, lost, weary, alone, and perhaps misunderstood. You might even find yourself getting a little defensive and feeling the need to dissociate from the conversation. Regardless of where you stand on this wide spectrum of emotions, I want to first of all validate how you are feeling.
Secondly, I want to encourage you to do what might seem like a hard thing to do: I want to encourage you to STAY. I want to encourage you to listen, to feel, to sit in the awkwardness, the uncomfortability, the sadness and the grief of what today’s messages might bring up.
Will you STAY?
BCC Vision and Values
- Our Vision – We are the Heart of God in our World
- Our values – The Holy Spirit leads us to be free in Christ, multiethnic and hospitable.
- Holy Spirit Led – We value the person of The Holy Spirit who is sent to live in and lead us. We are God’s children: sons & daughters who are led by HIS Spirit. We live with God’s power in us.
- Free in Christ – We are free in the Kingdom of God and free from this world, free in Salvation, free from sin, and free to be authentic, transparent, vulnerable, expressive, worshipful.
- Multiethnic – We are intentionally multiethnic in leadership, teams, friends, people we meet, the meals we share, and our music influence. We reconcile cultural barriers that separate us: what was once divided is now one.
- Hospitable – We serve people and ministries with 5-Star Hospitality. We go out of our way to help people feel accepted, welcomed, and a part.
Our values are not just a beautiful and unique calling, they are also a spiritual mandate upon our church.
What does God say about justice?
- Amos 5:21-24
- Micah 6:8
- Psalm 89:14
- Isaiah 1:17
- Isaiah 61:1 – 4
These verses demonstrate that:
- God values life
- God values the protection and safety of life
- God is not apathetic to injustice
- Fighting for the safety of life and for justice is not just another social justice fad, seperate from the Gospel, devoid of theological backing. It is not a peripheral issue based on cerebral sentiments, it is in fact central to the Gospel
- In His desire to bring about justice, God welcomes us to partner with Him to make justice a reality in our world. He ushers us into the honorable place of protecting the lives of our brothers and sisters. This is simultaneously an honorable yet weighty calling. And this is a calling that we have responded to as BCC.
Because we are the Heart of God in our world and because we value life as evidenced by our values, particularly our desire to be multiethnic, racism and racial justice matters to us as a church.
We need to allow Holy Spirit to transform us
- Romans 12:2
- Galatians 2:20
- Mourn with those who mourn – Romans 12:5
- Validate feelings and lived experiences of POC and their allies.
- Self examine and evaluate your heart. Welcome Holy Spirit to unveil any racism, prejudice and falsehoods you may have. Then RUTHLESSLY crucify them. This will be a lifelong process. The books below will also be helpful in the self examination process.
- Learn – Hosea 4:6
- Be humble. Be open. Be teachable.
- Listen to the experiences of People of Color.
- Books – The Bible, White Awake, The Color of Compromise, White Fragility, How to be an Anti-Racist, What Lies Between Us, Dear White Christians, Raising White Kids etc.
- Attend workshops – The Ames Public Library and ISU have at least two every year. Follow authors and scholars of racial justice on social media, and keep up to date with the classes and workshops they are holding
- Check out and follow racial justice networks where you can learn – The Vineyard Justice Network, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – Des Moines has a chapter with a Facebook page. , and the AND (&) Campaign are good ones to start with.
- Consider attending a conference with friends – The Justice Conference, The White Responsibility etc.
- Leaders, invite speakers to speak on race and racial justice.
- Develop multiethnic friendships and relationships. The goal of these friendships should NOT be to learn about racial justice, but having friends whose experiences have been different from yours will expose you to the realities of their lived experiences. It also enriches your life, and is a beautiful reflection of God’s kingdom.
- Take free classes on justice – Harvard has some!!
- Ask your white friends who have engaged in this journey to teach you.
- Get uncomfortable – Put yourself in situations with people that won’t shy away from speaking their truth to you.
- Stand shoulder to shoulder with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and their allies in the pursuit of racial justice.
*This list is not exhaustive by any means. Our leaders will compile and avail a list with further and more comprehensive steps and resources very soon.*
Here is the reality BCC: We have a choice. We can choose to be silent. We choose to can be quiet in the face of racial injustice. Or we can be the Heart of God and do what is right. We can choose to fight for the value and sanctity of life by rejecting and disrupting racism. It is our choice.
Will you STAY?
The things we just discussed might have made you sad, uncomfortable, you might feel lost and overwhelmed. That’s ok. Jesus calls us to come to Him when we are weary, tired and weak. He alleviates our burdens. We are going to transition into a time of reflection. For the next minute or two, we want to encourage you to sit. To welcome Jesus into what you’re feeling. Listen to what He is saying. If you are grieving, let Him comfort you. If you are tired, let Him give you rest. If you don’t know what to do, He can give you direction. Don’t run, don’t hide. STAY.