I will not be silent.
I will not be complicit or tacit with those who seek to intimidate.
So I stand up to join the fight against Racism at Kent State University.
I feel clumsy, awkward, and unsure of myself as a white man in these circumstances. Who am I to make a statement? How am I supposed to enact change? I’m not the one who grabbed the can of spray paint and scrawled those hateful words for everyone to see. Still, I can’t let my insecurity pull me back into silence. Back into sitting, passively.
So I stand with People of Color at Kent State University.
These are my friends. My spiritual brothers and sisters. I absolutely believe that Black lives matter. And I’m embarrassed that I’ve ever hesitated to say that (for fear that some might take it as an endorsement of an organization with whom I’m not in 100 percent alignment). I feel ashamed that I haven’t spoken out sooner and more regularly. That I didn’t respond until more than 24 hours after the third incident of vandalism: checking in on my friends and composing my thoughts in this space. I’m still worried about being inarticulate or incorrect in the words that I choose. But again, I cannot let my lack of fluency get in the way of my love for my neighbors.
So I stand against Racism.
Racism is sin. To paint over a “Black Lives Matter” with a “White Lives Matter” message is not a “political perspective.” To scratch out the phrase “Hate has no home here” to write in “Blacks have no home here” is not “an alternative cultural narrative.” It’s Racism. And Racism is sin. God created the world, with all its beauty and variety. But we’ve disrupted His design with our insecurity and self-centeredness. The path to restoration begins with the admission that I’m way worse than I ever dare to admit to others, or even to myself. I’m a part of the problem. Still, my faith in Jesus compels me to not just sit in my depravity.
So I stand for Hope.
I believe that the ultimate Hope is Restoration in Jesus. While spiritual restoration starts with a recognition of my hopelessness, it’s even more true that God’s goodness and grace are far better and more extravagant than I ever dare to imagine. Ephesians 2:14 says that “Christ himself has brought peace to us” and that “he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” So part of the way that I proclaim the Gospel must be rooted in the way that I participate in tearing down the walls of hostility in our society.
Note: I’m still revising and improving this message — but I’m not waiting until it’s perfect before I put it out there. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines any more. I want to stand.