Your email is thoughtful & informative. I congratulate you as each of us with "new hearts" examine the solution.
I believe the solution is Evangelism & Discipleship! There are so many of us who are living off of the "milk" of the Gospel. We have been saved, we have been redeemed, but we are somewhat short of the "15, 30 & hundredfold" of the effectiveness of our new life in Christ.
Salvation is step 1, no doubt as our surrender to Jesus Christ as our Savior is the only way to redemption as Jesus tells us in John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth and the life,. No one comes to the Father, except through me."
Following our Salvation, we must grow in the knowledge of God. God, thru Paul calls us to keep "... grow(ing) in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. - 2 Peter 3:18. It is through this knowledge that we may "not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds" Roman 12:2.
His divine power has given us everything we need
We have these new hearts, yet we've not filled them with the Spirit of God well enough to see as the Lord sees. We are stuck in our worldliness.
The answer to this pandemic of racism is a renewed heart of love with hope "And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love (agape or unconditional love) has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." - Romans 5:5.
As Peter tells us ....
"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. - 2 Peter 1:3-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2Peter1:3-11&version=NIV
The answer is evangelism & Discipleship
We are living in a fallen world desperate for a righteous King who can lead us into pure love. He is IN us who believe. We must "study to be approved" & "encourage the Brothers to love" as we have His Spirit in us.
Salvation is key, we know that, yet Discipleship is the calling in Matthew 28:19-20. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (your word, ethnos), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He is with us. He is in us. We are to grow in the knowledge of God that our hearts become mature with understanding the meat of the Gospel & we do Kingdom work inviting one person at a time to enter & grow.
The answer is evangelism & Discipleship.
LTC Retired, US Army
Founder of Golf From the Heart www.golffromtheheart.golf
And the Golfing to Greatness Discipleship Program
On Jun 4, 2020 6:05 AM, William Vanderbloemen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
...My reflections on how I need to do more to help address racism in our country.
Hi William, In the creation narrative, God’s first gift to humans was to give us breath in our lungs and bring us to life. Last week, we saw video footage of yet another black man being held down and denied breath and life by a white man. Could anything be farther from God’s intent for us?
Jesus hates racism, and so do I. But I am realizing I just don’t understand how big the problem is, how much there is for me to learn, and how much more there is for our team to do to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
I have been pulled over by the police several times in my life.
I’ve never feared for my life when it’s happened.
I almost always get a decent table at a restaurant when I ask for my choice.
I’ve never really wondered, “why are they seating me all the way back here?”
There have been times when people asked me if I was new to the neighborhood.
I’ve never had people ask me if I “really belong” at the neighborhood pool.
And I’ve never, ever had to teach my kids how to avoid getting hurt because of their skin color.
This week has brought those truths into a more clear focus than ever before.
Maybe it’s the utter horror of George Floyd’s death, or the fact that it’s coupled with the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Maybe it’s the unsettling times we are living in today. But something is truly different about what’s happened in our country, and more importantly, inside me in the last few weeks.
I’m realizing anew how much I am part of the problem. I’m realizing the problem runs over 400 years deep. That it encompasses centuries of people of my heritage taking advantage of others, solely because of skin color. And while I didn’t participate in slave trade, the events of the last week have left me realizing that remnants of that structure still exist. I’m realizing nothing will substantively change in my world unless I’m willing to make more changes in how I run my life, how I speak up. Even deeper, I’m going to have to change how my heart is set if there is going to be real change in me that affects any change in the world. And our entire team will have to do the same.
It occurred to me that Mr. Floyd’s murder and the (hopeful) public awakening to systemic racism in America came right at the time of Pentecost. There are two days of Pentecost in the Bible: one in the Old Testament, and one in the New. Both have caused me to think hard about how to change going forward.
The Old Testament Pentecost, and the festival that was named after it, was a celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses by God. These were a people who had been freed but needed a path forward. The Law, regulations for living, was meant to be a path toward freedom. Like most young adults, I always thought the laws, rules, and “thou shalt nots” were meant to hinder my freedom. But in the Scriptures, it is quite the opposite. Good laws bring freedom. In many ways, that’s where the US has tried to go over the years. We have made reforms, but we have so much more to do. We’ve enacted civil rights laws; but all too slowly. That has to change. I have enacted my own disciplines to shape my conduct toward rooting out racism. I’m now realizing how much more I need to do and we need to do as a team. So I’m actively listening and looking for places I can change my behavior toward a life that reflects freedom and respect for everyone. And we as a team will look for new disciplines we can follow to help move the ball forward.
The New Testament Pentecost was the same idea but on a grander scale. It marked the call for the church to reach out beyond their own kind, beyond Jewish Christians, and to accept people from other tribes, tongues, and nations. If you read the Greek that describes that call, the word for “other people” is ethnos (ironically, it’s also the word for “enemy” in Greek). Pentecost is literally God’s call to reach other ethnicities and not keep to “ourselves.” But the big difference is that God reached past regulations at Pentecost in the New Testament. In the Old, he gave his people a new Law. In the New, we are told he gives us a new heart.
That’s my biggest prayer for me during this season. For a new heart of understanding. A commitment that doesn’t rise and fall with the tides of the news cycle. A conviction that my life and our work will reflect something different than the racism that allowed Mr. Floyd’s senseless lynching.
Over the years, we have been honored to do a whole lot of work with many of the most historic Black Churches in the US. We will continue to do that work and proactively seek out how to do more. We will expand our efforts to proactively listen to and serve our sisters and brothers in the African American church. We as a company will expand our existing continuing education programs for our staff to learn more. We will build out our work on Diversity Search work faster than ever before. And we will do more as we discover the path we are learning. Not so we feel good. But because it’s the right thing to do. Because there’s so much left to do.
I take great pride in the work we have been able to do this far, but I’m realizing that it can easily make me feel like we have done enough. I’m learning that small victories can pacify me way too quickly to a larger call.
Three years ago, I got lucky and got to tour the Smithsonian Museum of African American History. If you ever get the chance to go, get yourself there.
If you’ve toured the museum, you know that you start the tour about six floors below ground, at the very basement, on a mocked-up slave ship. It’s dark. Hallways are narrow. Even the sounds are uncomfortable. The metaphor is palpable. As you ascend, floor by floor you move out of slave trade and toward modern-day (and toward the light). I remember after several floors of a wrenching telling of our past treatment of slaves and African Americans, I came up out of the basement of the Civil War, and on to a post-slavery America. I felt like finally, the story would get better.
Then I got to the floor with the train car. If you’ve been there, you know it. You walk through a car from the 1950s, front to back. A biracial couple and their young daughter were in front of me in line. I won’t forget the conversation:
Daughter: “Mommy, where would you sit on the train?”
Mom: “Here in the front of the car.”
Daughter: “Where would daddy sit?”
Mom: “Back there, in the back of the car with all of the other black people.”
And then, as only a kid could ask:
Daughter: “Then where would I have sat?
Mom: “Well baby, back then it would have been illegal for Daddy and me to get married. So I guess you wouldn’t be here at all.”
I don’t have any idea what that pain is like, but I’ll never forget the moment. I hope I never forget this week’s events and Mr. Floyd’s death.
It’s easy to think that since we have ended slavery, freedom is here. It’s easy to think that since we’ve passed civil rights laws, everyone is treated equally. And it’s been easy for me to think that since I’ve made some really good black friends over the years, that I “get it.”
I don’t. But I’m praying I will change my behavior and my heart. And as a company, we are committed to doing what we can to serve every tribe, every tongue, every nation like never before.
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