Lament & Racism

Lament & Racism

I’ve been reflecting a lot on lament and racism, particularly in light of the current events that have plagued this country.

We live in an age animated by social media — social media which generates and spreads outrage and anger at extraordinary speeds. Exasperating our already polarized society, social media creates echo-chambers and demonizes any missteps of the “enemy” ideology. This polarized society has far reaches which have spread broadly, even in our public personas. For Christians, there is good can come from this, as it can awaken us from our slumber, reminding us that we live in the “already, but not yet.” Be it outrage that stems from the Planned Parenthood videos or the racism protested by Black Lives Matter, our world is filled with open wounds of sin and injustice.

In a recent article I wrote for Relevant Magazine, I explore how within our ‘twitter-world’ learning how to lament “opens up a space that can help us pause and reflect rather than just react in our culturally conditioned ways.” I suggest that when we enter this space, lament makes it less about individual repentance and more about entering into a space of helplessness before God, and joining those who are crying out in sorrow and anger.  “If we make lament part of our prayers, we can begin to move in a different direction than simply making racism a matter of personal guilt. We can begin to dwell with those crying to the Lord in sorrow and anger. We can begin to wait for the Lord’s deliverance.

This waiting is active, praying for Christ’s Kingdom to come—praying with the alienated and the hurting. Thinking that an individual’s repentance is an adequate response to systematic racism is a bit like responding to my system-wide blood cancer by bandaging a sore on my arm: Both are well-intentioned actions, but only a more radical response is truly realistic about the affliction.”

To read the whole article, click here.