On Social Justice Statements

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I’m not going to do an in-depth point-by-point breakdown of The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel. People with more energy than myself have already done so, so if that’s what you’re looking for then head on over to Joel McDurmon’s post here or Ryan Burton King’s post here, Dennis R. Edwards’s post here, and anything Timothy Isaiah Cho has posted on twitter (he’s been going in for weeks, dropping hot knowledge and analysis with every tweet in a graceful, gospel-filled manner).

Mostly I’m just heartsickened by what seems to me to be a very clear twisting of scripture through the erasing of scriptural context by people who claim Sola Scriptura. Every time another one of these situations pop off in which Evangelicals show their true colors, it leaves me exhausted. It feels like Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native Christians have been pointing out the flaws in mainstream white theology for decades (they have) but for absolutely nothing. On one hand, I know this feeling of hopelessness is false; even among evangelical Christians, there has been a push for a better understanding and application of Biblical justice, which is what these pastors and thought leaders are responding to.

On the other hand, just the election demographics show that a more than a significant portion of evangelicals are okay with supporting a racist demagogue. I try to remain uninflammatory, but I don’t think that lesser words for the president and his administration would even be accurate. I wasn’t surprised though. The response to the death of Trayvon Martin and the Black Likes Matter movement prepared me for the reality of the Church today. Racism is still more than muddy waters under a _____ bridge and American racism hasn’t yet waned to fear and mistrust like racial reconcilers in the late 90s hoped. It’s a present reality in the heart of white evangelicals, and it is exerting power over the trajectory of this country through them, even now.

And that’s what drives me to madness, much less the wise (I won’t include myself as my level of wisdom is debatable). But, regarding racism, it is not as if it is solely or even mostly worldly persons and powers with whom Christian antiracists must contend but their highly influential brothers and sisters in Christ. This rot is still at the heart of the Church; much of the Church refuses to disavow it or deal with it any substantive way. It’s in the moments that I feel overwhelmed by other Christian’s indifference and misinformation that have to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world. When I feel hopeless that the Church, in general (and brothers and sisters in Christ that I am in relationship with, specifically) will ever be a beacon of God’s transformative power in this arena, I remind myself that it’s not by might, nor by power, but by God’s spirit that these battles are won.

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Johana-Marie Williams

Johana-Marie Williams is a writer, artist, and historian focusing on Black women and femme's health and religio-spiritual experiences. Her current projects include the ongoing zine caro and papers on the history of Black midwives in Leon County, Florida and Black women's thought on transhumanism, as expressed in science-fiction and fantasy media. Johana's work also appears under the name Marie Annetoinette, in homage to her mother's influence on her creative and spiritual life.

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