Brothers, Fathers and Racism in 2020

As I sit in front of my computer, this early morning hour; nearing the end of May 2020, I am “in my feelings,” some would say.  I’ve been charged as a spiritual leader for my family, church and community to be a steady source of calm, wisdom, forgiveness, encouragement, and the list goes on of expectations. We’re entering the month of June when we celebrate the life of fathers and those who are father figures. Certainly, some of those wonderful fathers, mine included, have passed on into eternity. We reflect on those wonderful memories and thank God for those who endured much and yet left a positive legacy for generations to come.

In addition to recognizing and honoring fathers and father figures from all walks of life, our country is also facing what appears to be 2-deadly viruses. There’s COVID-19 and there’s the resurgence of racism. Not to take lightly nor be insensitive to the families that have been affected and lives loss by the first, my heavy heart at this time is centered around the latter. His name is George Floyd.  His name rings out from around the world, his “blood cries from the pavement” of Minneapolis, MN. While many details will surely arise in the coming days about Mr. Floyd and the four officers that were directly or indirectly involved in his death, it’s God who gave life to George Floyd and he was loved by God, family, friends and he had a divine purpose. Needless to say, no person made in the image of God should ever be treated in such a manner that was viewed by the world from a cell phone video; no person should die in such a manner that was viewed by the world, especially by the “knee” of those called to serve and protect.

Rightly, people are angry, troubled, hurt, disgusted and even confused. The “conversation” about race and equality continues to demonstrate a great divide between people of color and our white sisters and brothers. By no means is this to paint a broad brush that all police officers are insensitive and violent towards people who look like me nor are all whites racist. The fact that similar events recently happening to the likes of Ahmaud Arbery and the death of an African American lady in Louisville, KY, Breonna Taylor, after a botched raid has poured fuel on an already flaming fire.

Anger, fear and even confusion are normal emotions and feelings. Allowing these feelings to develop into hatred, violence and becoming judgmental without allowing an individual to “stand” on his/her own merits is not normal or God honoring. I believe in people using their rights to protest in a manner that is organized and orderly, and we should protest in a manner that is organized and orderly. However, acts of violence, looting, burning and destroying businesses are not considered protests and certainly should not be part of voicing justice and equality.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, nor am I an expert on this subject matter. However, we must ensure that our voices and all voices are heard and not silenced nor overshadowed by other distractions.

I wish that I could say that one day the brothers and fathers that look like me will one day never have to experience racism in the country that we live in. However, this would not be a realistic approach to life. As people of faith and followers of Jesus Christ, we still have hope in Him who is able to keep us from falling. We still can be united as sisters and brothers in Christ and let our words (and social media posts) be in love and respect, even when we disagree with others. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Continue to pray for justice for ALL and continue to pray that hearts are changed through the love of Jesus Christ.

In Christ’s Wonderful Name,

Roy Newman, Senior Pastor

Pastor Roy Newman