18 years ago, you would have found me listening to Sean Hannity and MIchael Savage. I started listening to Sean Hannity as soon as he came on the national scene. I was conservative through and through. I bought the line that led us to believe that to be a Christian you had to be a conservative.
15 years ago, you would have found me calling in fairly regularly to Bill O’Reilly’s show, Sean Hannity’s show and Glenn Beck’s show spouting conservative rhetoric.
10 years ago, I was still listening regularly to all of them.
9 years ago, in the middle of the summer, our church, Calvary Church in St. Peters, MO (@calvaryonline) announced that they were partnering with a predominantly black church, Greater St. Mark Family Church in St. Louis to plant a purposely-integrated church in North St. Louis county. Brian and I were intrigued and immediately volunteered to be part of those sent by Calvary. The commitment was for a year to help build the church.
In January of 2007, the beginnings of that church were established with several couples who committed to combat racism by learning to love each other as the body of Christ. It was a beautiful thing. We opened our doors to the public as “Calvary Church at the Mall” in a movie theater in the St. Louis Mills mall on Easter Sunday, 2007 with a black pastor and a white pastor and a black worship leader and a small but committed congregation. The church has since moved to northern St. Charles but still is an integrated church and we worshipped there every Sunday until we were transferred to the Chicago area in August of 2014.
I will never forget a passage that we studied early in January of 2007 and is what I feel to be the founding passage of that church which is Acts 2 where Jews from all over the world heard Peter’s preaching, accepted Christ and repented of their sins. Acts 2:42-47 in particular describes the early church. Now keep in mind this included people from all over the known world:
“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” NIV version from Bible Gateway
We did that and in those early days of the church, those of us who were white listened to our black brothers and sisters in Christ describe what it was like for them to live in St. Louis. For me, the scales began to be chipped away from my eyes and I began to see the injustice which they lived with every day. Deep friendships with the Pierson, Draper and Washington families continued to chip away at those scales.
These families were patient with me as I began to see that conservatism too often has a negative view of our black brothers and sisters. Yes, I said that. And yes, I meant it. Please let that sit with you for a few moments.
Conservatism, too often, has a negative view of our black brothers and sisters.
The Political Right, too often, has a negative view of our black brothers and sisters.
Neither will acknowledge the systemic racism in our country. Neither will acknowledge white privilege. Instead, they claim that all the blame for all of the wrongs which currently exist in the black community belong solely to blacks themselves.
This is untrue. It is a lie.
Take a look at this video which tells the truth.
Because there really is systemic racism in our country and because there is such a thing as white privilege, I can no longer subscribe to the political right or to conservatism. As a follower of Christ, I cannot subscribe to a philosophy that denies injustice and points the finger of blame at those it oppresses.