Dear Pastors,

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Dear Pastors,

I want to sing, “It is well with my soul;” I want to sing, “We will not be moved;” I want to be able to sing, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper, it won’t work.” But all I can hear is, “He better be alive because — he better be alive.” All I can hear is, “I can’t breathe.” All I can hear are the pops of bullets from video after video after video of death.

I want to find the melody of the songs that bring comfort, the songs of grandmothers and aunties. I want to find the intoxicating rhythm of the Gospel, but today all I can find are the words and sounds of sorrow and pain.

Today there is no joy in journey, today we mourn with those who mourn—some of whom have been mourning for far too long.

The songs we sing are not enough to bring change, so what are you going to do this Sunday? Pastors, how are you going to speak of justice? How are you going to talk about love? How are we going to prepare spaces for the grieving, hurting, and heartbroken this Sunday? Are you even going to mention their names from your pulpit?

Keith Lamont Scott, Ty’re King, Terence Crutcher, Korryn Gaines, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Charles Kinsey, Donte Hamilton, John Crawford, Sam Dubose, Corey Jones, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Ezell Ford, Akai Gurley, Christian Taylor, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Rumain Brisbon, Jerame Reid, Tony Robinson, Philip White, Eric Harris, Laquan McDonald, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, Manuel Loggins, Kendra James, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo ….

When you contextualize justice, is it only for your community? Or will it be the type of justice that takes “me” out of the equation, and focuses solely on Christ and others. Are you brave enough to be like Christ and walk with the systemically oppressed? Are you brave enough to broach the subject, knowing there are some in your pews who do not think #BlackLivesMatter. They may not say it, but their FaceBook wall represents it—and does it make you sick? Are you brave enough to not sing, but cry out on behalf of justice, on behalf of innocent lives taken, on behalf of ending racism?

I do not know what you will do this Sunday, but I beg you to do something. Take a knee, shed some tears, repent and listen to those who this affects, so one day we can dance with those who dance and sing with those who sing.

 

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My Brothers

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Today my brothers are using words that break my heart.
Today my brothers are using words that sucker punch me in the gut.
Today my brothers are using words that call for action.

When one says, “I am dark skinned, have a beard, large, and ‘somewhat’ imposing, which means that I could be considered a ‘bad dude’ as well. The war that I deal with after seeing another black man killed by law enforcement is the terror that I am fighting each and everyday. I can shave the beard off, lose some weight…but the color of my skin I can not change.”

While another, “What did my black skin do to offend you? What is it about my black maleness that you fear? There is something inherently evil about the way you treat and see ME!”

And still another, “ If you can’t stand and mourn with me about my community and what’s happening to people of color in this country…don’t say nothing!! If you say anything…say his name!!”

These men are fathers, husbands, vets, pastors, reconcilers, prophets, brothers, and sons. And they are black. They encourage, speak truth and today they mourn and are outraged.

Today, my brothers speak for me.
Today my brothers speak for the those who are more than hashtags.
Today my brothers speak for change.

You Can.

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Dear Brenda,

God has done an amazing job surrounding me with empowered women; women who fight for truth, seek justice, love the Word and model humility. God has been so gracious in providing mentors and personal relationships that correct me, sharpen me and push me toward righteousness. These women have shown me what godly singleness can look like, what a great marriage could be, and that the heartbreak of a shattered relationships can be restored. There is one thing they did not show me- they did not introduce me to a women in the pulpit.

I heard women teach, I listened as they handled the Word of God correctly and with authority- to a room full of women. I was never told, “You can not preach,” but that is what I inferred. I put the pieces together and figured my role in the church would always be with children, youth or women- that is what we, the women, did. We rocked babies in the nursery, we taught eight-year-olds memory verses, we lead small groups for the teens, we became church secretaries, or women’s ministry majors- we did not pastor, we did not preach.

But God- in every good story there is a “but God” moment- and you are a part of mine. But God brought me to CCDA, and I heard you handle the Word, I heard you preach, I heard you bring truth in a fresh and powerful way, I also heard God say, “You can.” This you can, was followed by a period not a specific role or job- it was a freeing phrase.

“You can,” has rattled around in my mind for the better part of the last decade, during that time I researched, and did word studies, and sought out other women bringing the Gospel, and I found that not only can I, I must. I must preach with passion, and seek scriptures that grab my gut, I must study the Bible with determination and guidance from  the Holy Spirit. But what I learned most from watching you- is that I do not have to defend my right to preach- I do not have to speak about why a women in the pulpit is acceptable- I just can, and I must. Truth is truth- the Holy Spirit will give truth to anyone He wants to speak it- and because of your example, I can.