Dear RLC Family,
We are living in one of the most challenging times in history. We’re navigating a worldwide pandemic, along with the economic and political challenges it has created. And while the pandemic has been a season, we’re seeing another sickness highlighted – one that has been here since long before the pandemic began: Racism.
Right now, racism is a subject on our minds, in our social media feeds, in every newscast and in many of our conversations. And whatever your experience may be around this subject, we must all agree on this: racism is real, it’s a sin, and it has no place in our church, community or our world.
At Real Life Church, we are first and foremost followers of Jesus, here
to connect people to the realness of God. As we connect with Jesus spiritually,
He gives us a desire to follow in His ways. In order to do this, we must have a
posture of humility, giving the Holy Spirit room to work in our lives. When we
look at scripture, we see this posture laid out in Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And
what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk
humbly with your God.
I want to encourage our church to remember these three things that God asks of us as we’re thinking about the times we’re in.
1. ACT JUSTLY
As humans and as followers of Jesus, we emphatically oppose any form of racism, oppression or hatred. As Christians we must condemn, resist and root out all forms of racism. Violence, shaming and judging others isn’t our response and is not the way of Jesus.
We must also recognize that it’s not enough to not be racist - we must be anti-racist, pursuing justice when we
see injustice displayed. Most importantly, we must search for any spaces within
our own hearts and relationship circles that allow for racism to exist. I hope
you’ll join me in creating a community that seeks to look within, and that calls
it out when we see it displayed. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “True peace is not merely the absence of
tension; it is the presence of justice.” Let us pursue this dream.
2. LOVE MERCY
During these times it’s important for the love and compassion we have for people to be focused on a people who are hurting. The peaceful protesters are crying out for those who have been victims of racism, both today and in years past. Not all will fully understand it, but we can all feel the hurt and the pain that we’re seeing displayed. If you can’t feel it, you may need to ask God to heighten your mercy muscles. Mercy says, “I see your pain, let me help you carry some of it.” Let’s continually be asking ourselves, “How can I seek to show mercy today?”
3. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD
We submit all of our passions, emotions and responses to Jesus. We are a church that believes every racial, theological, and political conversation needs to yield to what Jesus says is the greatest of all commandments: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It is up to us as Christians to make sure that the positions we take and the spirit we display are rooted in having fully received God’s love. Walking humbly with God does not mean taking a weak position or being silent and letting people run over us. It means having a controlled strength, maintaining a posture of listening, and elevating the voice of God over all other voices in our lives.
Martin Luther King Jr. showed us a Christ-centered way to address racism, both at the personal and systemic level. He walked with a controlled strength. During his work with justice issues, mostly centered around racism, there were 8 major protests that he initiated or participated with. In his 1963 speech in Washington DC, he shared a forward-thinking dream of what life and society could be like without racism. That dream is still alive in many Americans today. I believe it was a prophetic dream. And while it has created much progress, there is more work to be done. We’re committed to the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream. Therefore, RLC will be responding in a number of ways as we move forward:
- Facilitating conversations, activities, events and ministry that raises awareness, roots out racism, and brings together those often separated by differences.
- We are already working to provide diversity training at an ongoing level for our staff & leadership teams, broadening the voices investing into our church culture.
- Developing a diversity board that will examine our services, ministries, groups, events, marketing, use of language and more. We will run it through a filter that allows us to spot any type of favoritism, exclusion or racism.
- I’ve been asked to be a part of the Tahoma School District’s Racial Equity Team. As myself and others serve with this group, we will be equipped to be a more helpful voice and advocate for racial equity.
- Lean into new and existing partnerships and outreach opportunities that meet the needs of all people in our greater community. We’ll be active in seeking open doors to reach beyond what we’ve known and into spaces we’ve long been out of, that we might reflect the diversity of God’s kingdom in our broader community.
As we look ahead, let’s remember that
opposing racism is at its core a spiritual battle, one that cannot be won
without prayer and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The enemy would
like nothing more than to divide our community, because we know that divided we
cannot stand. So where there is division, let’s bring peace. Let’s reach across
the aisle in efforts to learn from someone with a different story. Let’s
continue conversations about racism and justice in efforts to learn and create
a better future.
At the end of the day, let’s do everything in love.
In this together