Events this week in the United States, following the killing nine days ago of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed black man, by police in Minneapolis, have rightly provoked a lot of emotion, thought, and self-examination amongst Canadians and many other nations.
As a Christian community, we understand that every person bears God’s image (Gen 1:27) and is therefore of infinite value, worthy of honour. We also understand that Christ came to break down the dividing walls of hostility between us, reconciling us to one another and to God (Eph 2:14-16). And we understand that we are one in Christ, that, in Christ, there is no division on the basis of race, gender, or economic status (Gal 3:28; Jas 2:1-9). Yes we also know that our world is broken and in pain. Racism, racial injustice, and race-based privilege are very much present in our society AND in our small Christian community, and they are an offense to God who called us to love our neighbour as ourselves, and to lay down our lives for one another.
HDCH is a community united not by a racial identity, but by our faith in Christ and our desire to follow him. And yet, almost every student I have spoken to has either witnessed or been on the receiving end of racist comments or actions. None will admit to saying or doing racist things themselves, and few seem to understand or acknowledge white privilege. So how do we live out our mission “…for lives of service to God” and our vision for HD students to be “a faithful presence in the communities that they serve”? How do we respond to what we see happening in the US and in Canada, to the pleas of our brothers and sisters who tell us of injustices, indignities, and violence that they suffer daily?
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the things God calls us to do.
God calls us…
- to examine ourselves, our own hearts, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 11:28; Ps 139:23-24);
- to recognise, confess, and repent of our own sinfulness and greed that contributes to the mistreatment of others, and to confess the sins of our community and our nation in the past and the present (2 Chron 7:14; Neh 9:2; 1 Jn 1:9);
- to humble ourselves, to listen and learn from God, and from our brothers and sisters (Prov 11:2; 12:15; 13:10);
to educate ourselves: to seek to learn and understand (Prov 18:15);
to lament the brokenness and pain that we see around us: “weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15);
- to pray for our leaders, for those who are mistreated, and for an end to unfair privilege and favouritism (1 Tim 2:1-2; Jas 2:1);
- to pray for God’s kingdom to come, for the only true and lasting transformation that begins in us with the Lordship of Christ, the Prince of Peace (Mt 6:10; Is 9:6).
As we encourage one another to listen and learn more, here are some resources that I have personally found helpful in understanding my own hidden prejudices and privileges:
A short video talk: Letter to a White Man (recommended to me by an HD student)
An article: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
And one of my colleagues on staff recommended this book to me, so I have some reading to do:
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
There are also some more resources on their website: https://bethebridge.com/
May God bless each of us on our journey to learn and grow and know His heart for all people!
Duncan Todd, Principal
Hamilton District Christian High