Voices in today’s church lament violence, disunity, and fatal encounters with law enforcement:

 

 

I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? In this and every season of grief, confusion, helplessness, we know that any comfort or aid we experience are gifts from the Maker of heaven and earth. And we know that even when we cannot see it, cannot force ourselves to believe it, God is working. HE IS STILL WORKING.
By God’s grace, we are carried by women and men who fought to dignify Black lives long before us, and we share in their weariness, in their fear, in their sorrow.  We are reminded that we must lift our eyes to the hills – beyond these lands of our oppression – and look to Jesus. We look to him, to call for justice in the face of violence, to resist the corruption of authorities who engage in dehumanizing practices.

And we cry out for oneness, for wholeness, in communities torn apart by distrust; by the law of “fear thy neighbor” that often seems louder than the law of love. People of faith are to bear witness to this life-giving law. We must stir one another to action; to follow the example of our Lord, who preached dignity to the poor and overcame evil with good. May the Holy Spirit continue to remind us that “through God we shall do valiantly”, so while we may live in tension – even in danger – we have little reason to be overcome by fear.”   ~Michelle Higgins


“Lately I have considered why I continually avoid grieving and lamenting, particularly within the last two to three years. The answer came to me when my friend mentioned that trauma is time traveling; that you cannot think about these recent murders without considering that our people have always been erased without remorse; that these events clearly communicate that the Black body is nothing more than a dead thing walking. Because of the weight of those messages, I lean towards numbness; sometimes my faith is as fragile as my optimism. Black lives matter in real life, not just a hashtag.”  ~ Jelani Ince


“The deaths of Miriam Carey, Sandra Bland, Kim King, Amadou Diallo, Akai Gurley, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, and a myriad of others are happening everyday. Every. Day. The stress and the anger and the fear that arises is much greater than in the past because of the invention of the cell phone camera. It highlights the fact that this is every day, common place. And still met with little to no justice.

There are many things to say about how I feel about the world I live in. As a single black woman, striving to live my own life and fulfill my own dreams, the stress surmounts. My family is falling apart. Certain family members are starving (metaphorically and literally) for trying to do right by a justice and court system that is not set up to benefit those in poverty. Being of a certain financial bracket myself, I watch and pray and suffer with my family.”  ~ Alexis Coleman


“Four Weeks of Pain. Terrorism, Ramadan and The Christian Response” Audio from the Podcast Pass the Mike, with K. A. Ellis and Jemar Tisby, Director of the Reformed African American Network. https://www.raanetwork.org/four-weeks-pain-terrorism-ramadan-christian-response/


“Martin Luther King Jr. once claimed that a “triple threat” posed the greatest danger to American societal life: racism, militarization, and poverty. How true MLK’s words still ring in our moment, in our season! This is a lament that I wrote for a Kneel-In event back in January, but that I read and pray anew and again in this week of #AltonSterling & #PhilandoCastile. Oh please, O God, may the Christ’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!”  ~ Joel Littlepage


Yesterday, a mother’s tax dollars funded the moment
When her 15 year-old son would weep
on national television.
With many comforters to hold him up,
But disorienting weight
Of state sponsored murder
Pulling him down, stronger.
Today, a mother’s tax dollars
funded the moment
When her 4 year-old daughter would witness murder.
It will not fund her counseling
For PTSD – the infinite weight of four bullets.
0.8 ounces
Making victims of
The living and the dead.
The living and the dead;
Our King is seated at the right hand
of the Father Almighty,
From whence He shall come
To judge them.

~ Melissa Littlepage (written July 7th)


“I am at a loss for words. I am so weary, tired, and despondent. I am in fear for my life and that of my kinsmen according to the flesh. The Scripture says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt.10:28). Today, in this very moment, I am in fear of both. That is my confession and my truth. My soul cries out!” ~ Ekemini Uwan


“Sojourner Truth once said, “Its hard for the old slave holding spirit to die, but die it must.” On days like this, we cannot downplay, ignore, or intellectualize the principality of racism away. Those strategies used to buffer us from this reality will not hold up under the weight of our reality. Racism, like all sin, must be called out and cut off. From implicit bias to systemic iniquity, the end game is death. A natural death too often experienced by those who find themselves juxtaposed between bias and unchecked power. Also, a spiritual death to a people and culture with plugged ears, hard hearts, and a pathetic theology that embraces the heresy of racism.” ~ Dr. Christina Edmondson


The Right to Remain Silent

I’m grieving and seething with pain.

Oh Lord am I depressed?
Am I going insane?
I’m silent but I’m exhausted from silent screams,
At a system that is fixed on bringing
broken conviction in the streets
Judge and jury, the verdict was reached
*bang!!!*
“he should never have reached”
For his black skin is too frightening to breach,
The wall of fear held deep in SOME police

“I told him, I told him” was the startled cop’s speech

“Now cuff him and hold him” while his body starts to bleed
Marantha!!!! I hear as an echo in my mind
Got a cold stare on my face but if you ask, I’m fine

I don’t know if you have the time

to read the pages of my times

So instead I’ll remain silent in the courts of my mind.

~ Johnathan Tate


America, you disappoint me.
None of your promises can truly be trusted & your “freedom” is cheap and flimsy.
You believe my people are disposable. I believe you are demonic.
Your systems are designed to steal, kill, and destroy & you are very talented at what you do.
Now some people will read this and say, “If you all hate it so much here, then leave.”
To that I say, “Ha! Over my dead body…which you seem to be fascinated with.”
Why willingly give up what we built and sustain? America, you will not break me. Your gods should’ve told you that no weapon you form shall prosper.
“They tried to bury us; they did not know we were seeds.”
~ Venneikia Williams