Someone who loves me dearly asked me not to make public commentary on the happenings in Ferguson and the related conversations about racial injustice in America. (Sigh.) It is hard to let such a significant series of events pass without comment. However, it is great to have someone who deeply loves you make a plea for you to use wisdom. So I am not making public commentary.
I do not need to add my little voice to the streams of important observations made by the likes Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Voddie Baucham, Thabiti Anyabwile (also here), Benjamin Watson, Leon Brown, Jarvis Williams, Carl Ellis, Russell Moore, Al Mohler, and Harold Dean Trulear. However, I do want to say this again: I ask, “Where are all the brothers?” because African American men remain one of the most Unreached People Groups in North America:
An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group.
The original Joshua Project editorial committee selected the criteria less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents. While these percentage figures are somewhat arbitrary, “we should not underestimate the significance of the small group of people who have a vision of a just and gentle world. The quality of a whole culture may be changed when two percent of its people have a new vision.” – Robert Bellah, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, originally quote in Psychology Today in the 1970s, currently quoted in Christianity Today Oct 2011: 42.
(The Joshua Project provides this definition. We assume African American men are reached. I would suggest they fall well within the definition of “Unreached.”)
Reaching my brothers in the flesh is part of the task of those being obedient to the Gospel. If those men of color in Ferguson we see in the news throwing rocks and bottles, swearing in absolute rage, burning cars and buildings, and taunting the police and National Guard were, instead, men transformed by the good news of Christ’s death for sin and resurrection for righteousness (cf. Rom. 4:25), the local and national responses to Ferguson would be vastly different – even in the midst of a perceived miscarriage of justice. Such truth does not nullify the need for institutional justice. Yet it does remind us that the real battle lines are not in human realms even though they are played out in the human realms:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore… as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:12-15 ESV)
Comments are good and necessary. Boldly sharing the Gospel has eternal and present implications. Go tell an African American man about the love of God in Christ, and do so without fear.