A Plumb Line for Justice
The last few Sundays we’ve been looking at justice through the lens of scripture. In the book of Amos, this last Sunday we looked at God’s indictment against Israel’s oppression of the poor by those in power through a corrupt economic and judicial system. In Amos 7:7 - 9 God says He is setting a “plumb line” in Israel. A plumb line is a standard or measure used to help builders build in a straight line. We’re called to live and serve in such a way that moves our communities, country and spheres of influence closer in alignment to God's plumb line of justice and righteousness. This means we both affirm and support the good we see and confront and seek to correct the injustice we encounter however and wherever that may be. We should seek to do both.
I think I’ve been clear, but this has been on my heart and I want to make sure and explicitly state that valuing and supporting our black brothers and sisters AND valuing and supporting law enforcement are not mutually exclusive. With Christ as our plumb line, we’re called to do both. Let’s be praying for both. This is ultimately a spiritual battle.
The racial tension in our country is a flashpoint right now. But as a pastor whose graduate education and prior ministry experience has been shaped to a great degree in a diverse, urban setting, I want to say that racial justice and reconciliation has been an ongoing need of special focus for the Church and the community long before now. We don’t talk about these things much in mostly homogenous suburban churches. It’s uncomfortable, I understand. But we are more than members of FBC, we are part of the larger body of Christ. If we can walk courageously and humbly towards the discomfort, we will find opportunities for growth and greater unity in the Church overall.
If you’re finding the topic challenging, please reach out. I’d be happy to talk. Steph is also willing to meet and talk as well. I’ve appreciated the conversations I’ve already had and welcome more. Grace-filled dialogue is part of what’s needed right now.
I’ve challenged us to tend to this festering wound in our nation by listening, lamenting and learning. This can be difficult when most news nowadays is little more than slanted commentary and opinion. To help, I wanted to point you in the direction of a few books and films that may be helpful. I strongly encourage you to read and view some of these. I’d love to know what you’ve selected and hear your thoughts and questions.
With Love & Gratitude,
In a time of increasing polarization over race when our primary diet of information is social media and the news, I wanted to refer us to a few resources that are mostly written to and for the Church by Christian authors to help foster a deeper understanding of the issue and equip us for healing and reconciliation. I encourage you to engage some of these with a humble heart and open mind and would be happy to listen and discuss thoughts and questions you have as you engage these. I’m also learning as I go. If there’s one you want to go through together with a group, please let me know. Books: Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael O. Emerson The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby (both a book and a video series on Amazon Prime) The complete "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr. Letters to a Birmingham Jail - compilation of essays from various pastors The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation by Miles McPherson Movies: 13th - Documentary about the 13th amendment (Netflix) Phil Vischer's Holy Post on Race (creator and voice of VeggieTales) Just Mercy (book & movie)