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Preserved - Another Letter to Black Pastors

“I am exhausted. “I wrote these words this time last year as I was like so many of

you overwhelmed by the nonstop media coverage about the murder of George Floyd.

Even though I wanted to know what was going on, after some many days of the

continuous coverage, I was emotionally and spiritually worn out. There were images of

protesters, police kneeling in solidarity with protestors, and police attacking protestors.

But the crazy part is, I knew watching these images and seeing the many posts on social

media (including family members deleting and blocking each other!!!) was probably not

the best use of my time. I watched anyway.

When Sundays came, I was happy because I needed a virtual word of

encouragement from my pastor on how to navigate all that was going on. A few times,

he addressed the protests as part of his sermons. He emphasized that when confronted

with injustice, Christians needed to respond with Christ-like love which I agree with.

But I found myself wanting to hear more about justice and Christianity. I had to ask

myself: why was I getting frustrated? After praying about it, I realized that I believe

that showing Christian love is a part of the solution on how to deal with injustice. But I

don’t think it is the only answer. The call for justice must also be a part of the solution.

So, I ask Black Pastors: what are you doing to equip your Black Christian church

members on how to deal with the current racial and political environment?

Teaching Christians reconciliation during times of extreme division is very important but

should there also be teachings on justice. Proverbs 21:5 says, “When justice is done, it

is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O

man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love

kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Proverbs 22:8 says, “Whoever sows

injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.” Depending on the version

you use, there are between 28 (King James) and 167 (New Living) references to justice in

the Bible. With these many references, justice was obviously important to God.

In May of 2020, I watched an online teaching from Pastor Claudette Copeland

who shared that even though oppression against Jews was increasing in Nazi Germany

in the early 1930’s, those who believed that things would not get that bad stayed and

many perished in the concentration camps. But those who were alarmed about what

they saw left because they took note of the signs of what was to come.

Many Christians were shocked by the violence of the Jan. 6 th insurrection.

However, those who had been paying attention to social media and were spiritually in

tuned, knew exactly what was going to take place. This makes me wonder if pastors who

teach only love and reconciliation during this time as the solution to racial and social

injustice are naively leaving their Black church members unprepared for what is to


Shewanda Riley is a Dallas-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to

Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of

Prayers for Writers.” Email her at or follow her on

Twitter @shewanda.

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