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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on