Christian Conscience in Crisis: A Statement About The Most Recent Painful and Poignant Examples of Racial Injustice In Our Society.
The Ministry Collaborative has long been committed to creating spaces and processes for nurturing deep, trusting relationships across perceived barriers in communities, especially between pastors, but also among congregations and other community leaders. This commitment has proven profoundly humbling and instructive, not only for participants in our programs, but indeed for our staff, board, and network partners. When individuals make long-term commitments to engaging with remarkably different lived experiences and alternative narratives of Christian faith, it is frequently eye opening, convicting, life transforming, and deeply formative to one’s faith.
It is in this spirit that we unequivocally denounce the senseless and ruthless murder of George Floyd and the ongoing pattern of violence and abuse perpetrated against non-white people across the United States. These incidents and the systemic forces that promote them are an affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to tolerate such instances and systems is to align with what the apostle Paul calls principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness, and spiritual wickedness. We stand with the grieving, and with all who continue to pursue God’s justice with extraordinary courage and perseverance.
To the numerous TMC pastors and congregational leaders across the country: We are humbled and inspired by so many of you who are proclaiming and embodying the truth in and out of season, who are with joy resisting the forces of despair, and who are with steadfast faith dismantling racism and other sins of discrimination and exclusion that reject the image of God in others. We see you. And we are with you. Keep going. It is powerful to observe leaders who serve across such a broad diversity of racial-ethnic, socio-economic, theological, and cultural contexts, stay connected and offer support to colleagues all over the country. What a gift you all are. We praise God for your faithfulness.
There are particular seasons in the life of faith that call us both corporately and individually to thorough self-examination as well as public witness. We believe this is one of those seasons. And so, we urge all to be vigilant and attentive to the subtle ways that we cooperate with systems that perpetuate injustice, while also being open and available to the Spirit’s call to be prophetic witnesses to God’s kingdom. We remain committed to getting proximate to pastors and congregations on the margins and providing support, to combating false narratives that create injustice, to creating spaces for deepening relationship and trust across difference, to providing platforms for marginalized voices in the church, and to promoting theology, practices, and models of ministry that dismantle racism and structures that oppress. So also, we appeal to those in positions of power and authority, and especially to those who proclaim the name of Jesus, to steward faithfully that which has been entrusted, to leverage positions of power for the sake of the marginalized, the oppressed, the excluded, and the forgotten, and to pursue the common good over one’s own.
May the Lord bless you and keep you all. And may we all live by grace and through faith in Christ in these troubling times.
In the love and compassion of Jesus Christ,
The MMF Team: Mark Ramsey, Adam Borneman, Jennifer Watley Maxell, Adam Mixon, Ryan Bonfiglio, Laura Whitaker, Laura Long, and Shannon Perry.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact Mark Ramsey, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff is always available to you as you pursue the joys and challenges of leadership.