Living on the North Shore means living in a predominantly white community (85% of North Shore population, 93% Beverly, 92% Hamilton, 96% Ipswich). This makes it easier for some of us to not think about relationships with people who have a different race than us until events like last week’s shootings in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas occur.
Dr. Brian Williams, the surgeon who worked on the officers injured during the Dallas shooting, said on CNN the following: “We are all in this together, we are all connected. All this violence, all this hatred, all these disagreements, it impacts us all, whether you realize it or not…. The problem is the lack of open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country. Black men dying and being forgotten. People are retaliating against the people who are sworn to defend us. We have to come together. And end all this.”
Instead of talking to one another and really listening, we are much more prone to speak at each other: to make our own points, post simplistic memes, or only talk to people who feel the same as we do. In an effort to create an open discussion on the impact of race relations, we would like you to take some time this Sunday after our worship service during “table talk” to honestly reflect and converse on the following questions:
What is your background in context of racial diversity? Growing up, did you see positive race relations? How does your background affect how you engage with incidents like last week’s shootings?
What makes it difficult for people to listen to all sides? How does Jesus help us listen and walk in the shoes of the other person?
How can you be more aware of your context as you interact with people different from you? How can you work to identify the lens through which you view the people around you?
In light of Scripture (examples below), what should be our role in promoting positive relationships with people who have a different race/ethnicity/color than us?
Gen 1:27 God created mankind in his own image.
Phil 2:3 In humility consider others better than yourselves.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Let’s begin listening to one another and reflecting who God has called and created us to be.