Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21)
Native American Comprehensive Plan (NACP)
The Upper Room
On April 11, 2021, the world witnessed another unarmed black man killed at the hands of law enforcement. Across the United States we are seeing a significant rise in Asian American/Pacific Islander racist attacks. Multiple Native American women and girls have gone missing or been killed, with no justice in sight. As the raw realities of ongoing societal injustice, unrest, and pain relentlessly flash across our screens, we are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words of admonition and encouragement to the Corinthian church. They ring as true today as they did more than 2,000 years ago.
“We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, MSG)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot play it safe or stand idly by. We must be bold and courageous to take up the cross of Christ and go and do likewise. Our siblings of color are exhausted from crying out in the highways and byways, “I’m made in the image of God. I’m human too!” Silence is not an option. It is time to speak to the ongoing dehumanization and demonization that’s so prevalent within our communities. When will we, the inheritors of privilege, stand up for the sake of doing what Jesus did for us all?
Prayer is an important and necessary foundational weapon of our spiritual warfare, but we must also find incarnational ways to stand in the gap and do some heavy lifting culturally and systemically for the sake of making room for the reign of Christ to become a reality “on earth as it is in heaven.” If our faith is no more than good feelings and quiet corners, then as Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.”
Beginning Friday, April 16, at 11 a.m. CDT, and over the next few days, we at Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21), Native American Comprehensive Plan (NACP), Discipleship Ministries, and The Upper Room will be offering Facebook Live events and other resources that can help equip and strengthen us for the journey.
Facebook Live Events
- Friday, April 16, 11AM CT: Call to Prayer, featuring Dr. Ron Bell, hosted by The Upper Room.
- Monday, April 19, 11AM CT: Panel discussion, featuring relevant voices from across the nation, hosted by Discipleship Ministries.
- Wednesday, April 28, 11AM CT: Live from the Chapel with Dr. Ron Bell and Rev. Tyler Sit, hosted by The Upper Room.
Rev. Michael L. Bowie, Jr.
National Director, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century
Rev. Chebon Kernell
Executive Director, Native American Comprehensive Plan
Rev. Kimberly Orr
Publisher, The Upper Room
Rev. Jeffrey Campbell
Acting General Secretary, Discipleship Ministries
Originally published by Discipleship Ministries April 15, 2021. Republished with permission by ResourceUMC.org.