Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: A Letter to White Christians from a hurting heart

A Letter to White Christians
A guest post by Rev. Dr. Angelle M. Jones, DMin

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Dear White Christians,

To my sisters and brothers with whom I worship each week, I greet you. In the name of the One who has shown us through His Word, not only what is good, but also what the Lord requires of you. It is in this mighty name of Jesus, the One in whom you confess that we the people, all people, are created in the imago Dei.

I bring you greetings from your African-American brothers and sisters whose ancestors were stripped from their homeland. The slave catchers and traitors worked together devising a plan to accost free labor to build this great and free land.

To this end, some four hundred years ago the slaves who were unwillingly brought to this country, were envisioned only through the lens of the economic advancement of your forefathers. Instead of seeing my ancestral captives as fellow human beings, the slave masters were greed-filled opportunist in pursuit of financial gain. This devious plan originally designed to keep my ancestors shackled for generations to come, has been successful. Hundreds of years later, the same capitalistic structures continue to keep the descendants of slaves systemically and economically bound. In light of this historical truth, I ask you my brothers and sisters what exactly did the faith of your ancestors require for them to be considered good?

From the depths of my heart I painfully write this letter, sadly conflicted by the afflictions of my ancestors who worshipped in the hush harbors of Antebellum slave churches. In centuries past, slaves would meet in secluded buildings, or wooded areas far away from the plantation to secretly worship away from the master’s hearing or reach. Even more so, I write this letter with a heart that’s doubtful that much has changed.

Whether worshipping in hidden hush harbors or in churches under the tutelage of white slave masters in generations past, or in twenty-first century multicultural churches, Black worshippers in America have had to fight for the freedom to worship in our own way. Unfortunately, even in today’s sacred spaces, assimilation continues to be the preferred way to achieve diversity. Because a large number of so-called “multicultural” churches are led by White pastors and staff, we continue to adapt to your preferred style of preaching, prayer, or music.

With these truths in mind, I write in behalf of the thousands of Black brothers and sisters, who have supported multicultural churches, with their sweat equity, in the name of ministry. I speak directly to those pastors who after preaching the Holy Writ each Sunday, in the same manner that slave masters treated slaves, seemingly, many of you cannot find the words to say thank you.

Often ignoring the Black members who encourage you with a gospel style of worship that you say you love, or a hearty black church “Hallelujah” or “Amen” to support your preaching.

Although our different hues of brown skin glare at you from the choir stand, or the pew, it pains us when you descend from your lofty pulpit, and we are ignored. Just as the slaves had no real place except in the field and were at the beckoning of their master, in the same way Blacks in your churches are often locked out of your social circles. Rarely, are we invited to the table or to serve on your church staff. Sadly, we have learned the art of normalizing the pain of rejection just as we do in secular contexts, although it is real and has caused us to scatter. I ask you my White Christian brothers and sisters, is this all your faith requires of you today?

As I compare some of your oppressive ways to that of a slave master, I’m certain most of you, will emphatically disagree. I challenge you as Christ followers, and leaders in the church to consider what is good. Just as your Christian forefathers were complicit when my enslaved ancestors were brought to laboriously build this nation, it is with that very same mentality that some of you turn a blind eye as Black congregants build your church edifices with their giving today. The burden I bear in behalf of my Black and Brown brothers and sisters in many of your sacred spaces is both painful and traumatic. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, in the eyes of many of your African-American members, it remains true that the oppressive mindset of Christian slave masters of yesterday, continue to rule in multicultural churches today.

While entering into diverse places of worship, having been bombarded the week before with images of brutal killings of Black bodies by White police, what will it take for you to see that seated right next to you, your brothers and sisters are embodying the pain of watching those who look like them needlessly die?

Sadly, in churches all over America, during the most segregated hour of the week, White masters (pastors), preach messages defending this great country and its iconic flag, while the world watches melanin skinned bodies annihilated right before their eyes.

Once again, I ask, what does it mean for you who uphold this country as great, to act justly and to show mercy toward the oppressed?

My brothers and sisters, may this serve as a reminder of what the Lord says He requires. It is time to acknowledge the ills of America’s past justly, while embracing our present pain mercifully.

May we allow the recent events, as we are moved by the current of The Holy Spirit, and cause the Church to walk humbly with one another and with our God. May we usher in a revolution of His Kingdom, on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

God bless you.

Sincerely, your sister-in-Christ,
Rev. Dr. Angelle M. Jones, DMin

Author Bio:

“Inspiring and Motivating With the Power of Words” 

Angelle M. Jones believes that the power of words inspires, and motivate to bring about transformative change individually and collectively.

Angelle originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American studies from the University of Cincinnati. Angelle has a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and an earned Doctorate in Ministry on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his philosophy of The Beloved Community from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Her ministry career began as a staff member of the Northeastern Ohio Billy Graham Crusade in 1994. For twenty years, as founder and director of In The Spirit Ministries, Inc. she led teams on mission outreaches throughout the world. From 2007-2012 Angelle served as Missions Director of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio where she currently resides. Angelle is founder and director of GlobaLife Coaching and Consulting serving as a Life and Transformation Coach and Church Consultant.

In 2016 Angelle authored and self-published her first book, Happily Never After. Along with sharing words of hope by sharing her writings on her social media platforms, she has been published in Vantage Magazine which is a literary source for faculty, students and alumni of Columbia Theological Seminary, and Ready which is a cutting-edge online magazine addressing current events and trending socially relevant topics for women.

Angelle is the mother of an adult daughter. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother.

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