Our hearts are heavy with grief over the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Almost on top of each other, the scenes and stories of violence brought our community’s attention back to the sin of racism, and forced a conversation that we are hesitant to have. Love INC’s responsibility as a Christian organization is to address the issues that contribute to oppression – this is not a Conservative or Liberal position: it is an orthodox, historical position. We take seriously Jesus’ claim that he came to “preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) We follow this Christ. We work to bring that message in 2020.
Racism does not just come from sinful hearts, it comes from institutions built on sinful assumptions. We see racist behaviors and speech from individuals, and we see systems and institutions that have been built on different treatment for different races. We recognize that Love INC is not free from racism, and we commit to examining ways that we have maintained a community that is more segregated than not, and learning new, anti-racist ways to engage with our communities. We recognize that while we engage with people in our community who are in financial distress, we often ignore the issues of injustice that keep people in financial jeopardy. As a wise pastor said, “Institutions are perfectly set up to produce the things that they produce.” If what we are producing is essentially for white people, we have a responsibility to examine the policies or practices that produce that result.
Love INC partners with the local church to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. We want to partner with local churches on this issue as well to transform lives and communities, because transformed communities are sorely needed right now. If the essential problem of racism is one of individual beliefs and hardened hearts, who better than the church to address that? If the issue is primarily structural, then we must also address how the structures of our churches have contributed to churches being one of the most segregated institutions America. Either way, the issue is ours. Our desire to remain non-racist rather than anti-racist recalls what Dr. Martin Luther King wrote during the call for Civil Rights in the 1960s, saying that the white moderate may be the biggest obstacle to racial justice.
This community has made significant progress in the past decades in rejecting some of the racist ideas and assumptions that we were exposed to, and have learned new ways of understanding. This is hard work. But our hard work is not done. We pray that God will expose our hearts, show us where we need to change, and will spur us on to “look not only to (our) own interests, but also to the interest of others.” (Philippians 2:4.) We pray for a fully realized and flourishing peace for all, knowing that that is only possible in the Kingdom that God is building. We commit to build that kingdom.
We realize that the language in this statement is too strong for some, and not strong enough for others. We strive to fulfill our mission of equipping, educating and mobilizing the local church, and are eager to engage in this difficult conversation as we work together in our local community. We pray for the guiding of the Holy Spirit and the unity of the church.