I recently self-diagnosed myself with “caring fatigue.” It started in July of last year with two names: Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Even living in China at the time, I wasn’t far enough away from the videos of these men being shot and killed. Their deaths and the conversations surrounding their deaths caught my attention.
So I started to look for context outside of my white/evangelical/Southern Baptist box. I listened carefully to Christian brothers and sisters of color. Their stories of hurt and racism made the years of silence from my churches deafening.
Why had my Christian leaders pointed me to people all over the world who were hurting and needed the gospel but neglected to point me to the pain within my own country. And I’m not just talking about people of color, but also the many disaffected groups within American society. Opium epidemics, meth addictions, broken families, human trafficking, urban poverty, rural poverty, neglected children, mass incarceration, abortion rates, corrosive politics…the well-practiced church productions that I attended on Sundays did not reflect the messy, broken world everyone lived in the rest of the week.
Feeling the need to fix all these problems led to my “caring fatigue” diagnosis. But I know that I cannot fix these problems. There is only one savior of the world, and it isn’t me. But I can listen, learn, and live like I really care about people around me.
I can stand up and call evil by name. The actions of ethnic nationalists and racial supremacists this last week is evil. Brother pastors you must call it by name from the pulpit. Brother and sister Christians, you must genuinely care about everyone around you. Get involved in one another’s messed up lives. Build up one another in the church and get outside the church walls with your knowledge of God and the Bible.
Many of these men hold to the ideology of “blood and soil,” emphasizing a persons heritage and land. There is only one person’s blood that matters to me. The blood that Jesus shed in his death for all people (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5). The blood that brings me back into a face to face relationship with God (Revelation 22:4). The only soil that matters is not the soil of this world – broken and cursed by the sins of humanity (Gensesis 3:17-19). I long for the soil of the new earth, remade by God (Revelation 21:1-5). That’s where my citizenship is (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:13-16).
Here are resources and people to listen to if you want to learn more…
Faithfully Magazine – http://faithfullymagazine.com
Be the Bridge – https://beabridgebuilder.com
Ekemini Uwan – http://www.sistamatictheology.com
Kyle James Howard – https://kylejhoward.com
Christena Cleveland – http://www.christenacleveland.com
Truth’s Table (podcast) – https://goo.gl/UtS7tC
Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission – http://erlc.com
Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance