While Mid-America Disciples are not of one mind about the Grand Jury verdict in the Ferguson case, nearly all of us agree that racism and its institutionalization is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ. When black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated (http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet) and for longer terms than their white peers (and many of those terms to be served in for-profit-prisons) something needs to change. When black shoppers are feared or suspected more often than welcomed and courteously served (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyL5EcAwB9c), something has to change.
Racism, working its deadly way much like Ebola, polio or malaria is an infectious moral disease that is easily spread and difficult but not impossible to contain, and, like a deadly virus it must be stopped before millions more of all skin colors suffer its senseless indignities, injuries and even death.
Racism won't go away with the last of the media vans leaving Ferguson. Today more Christ-followers are joining the ranks of those open to that still small voice voice that continually advocates for life as God intends for everyone. Many are working to make reconciliation a reality. For those who have hesitated until now, unsure of what to do, today is a good day to take one positive action.
Beyond prayers for all affected by the grand jury ruling yesterday and/or by the rioting that took place last night, Mid-America Disciples are finding ways to move beyond reaction to response.
- Four Disciples congregations opened their doors last night in St. Louis to all who needed refuge, a compassionate ear or just a place to pray and someone to join with them in that prayer. Those doors will stay open as long as the need exists.
- Disciples are connecting with those who express anxiety or anguish to listen deeply - not as counselors but as neighbors.
- Disciples are visiting the Reconciliation Minsitry page (www.reconciliationministry.org) for more ideas about taking next steps.
The Mid-America Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Team would be very glad to arrange for training-that-makes-a-difference for you and other members of your congregation. They/we can help you to become better informed and equipped to turn frustration into positive, life-affirming action in the name of Jesus. Contact Phil Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Margie Pride (email@example.com).