Thank you for joining us for A Night of Lament for Racial Justice.
Calling out to God in lament is a vital response to racial justice. Prayer moves the hand of God—and seeking his mercy, wisdom, healing, and help undergirds all our efforts. We must pray for racial justice, but it is not all that we must do.
Churches are all across the spectrum when it comes to this issue. Some have only begun the conversation. Others have been laboring together in pursuit of racial justice for many years. As such, addressing it will look different for every church.
The Gospel Coalition supports local churches as they seek to apply the gospel to all of life. We believe that gospel-centered ministry is characterized by counter-cultural community, and the pursuit of justice is at the heart of our ministry vision. Therefore, we’d like to help you take some next steps.
To weep is human, but to lament is Christian. Lament is the language of expressing and processing grief by looking to the One who provides healing and hope and justice. Tonight we grieve the pain that exists in the world because of racial injustice. Council member Mark Vroegop has walked this path of lament with the congregation of College Park Church in Indianapolis. His forthcoming book, Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation, tells this story and provides valuable help for churches in pursuing racial reconciliation. We believe this book will be an excellent place to begin a conversation with your church. Through the generosity of our friends at Crossway, you can download a free PDF copy of the book. If you’d like to get a paper copy for yourself, your small group, or your church, you can pre-order it at a discount of 50 percent to 60 percent.
There are numerous excellent resources to learn more about racial justice. Some of these are written by those with whom we have theological disagreement. But because truth belongs to God, Christians delight in it wherever it is seen, even when it is found through the observations of those who don’t share our basic worldview. Therefore, we are recommending you read widely—and our recommendations are not blanket endorsements for everything the book contains. Let reading challenge your assumptions and force you to think prayerfully, humbly, and discerningly. While we have included a few below, sign up to receive more recommendations in the coming weeks.
- As in Heaven Podcast: In this podcast (which includes video and discussion questions) we talk with more than two-dozen ministry leaders about how to faithfully process our national conversation on race and justice. These conversations aim to help listeners think through racial justice biblically, historically, and relationally.
- The Little Book of Biblical Justice by Chris Marshall
- Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson
- Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith
- Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Lamenting and learning lead to change—in our hearts, our churches, and in our culture. This will look differently depending on where your church is in the conversation on racial justice. It may mean starting a conversation about a biblical vision for ethnic diversity, or speaking out against racially insensitive comments in the workplace, or addressing practices in local government that diminish the dignity of racial or ethnic minorities. It may mean inviting people quite different from you into your home or sharing your story of pain from racial injustice or insensitivity with others in your church. Change requires humility, wisdom, and courage. Over the next several weeks, TGC will be providing focused learning opportunities with experienced leaders to help you think through this final step of action and change. You can sign up to receive more information about these resources, below, or stay tuned to TGC’s website for updates.
This is only a place to begin. There is much to learn and to do. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant us to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 15:5).