When People Want to Argue Over Your Experiences (A Letter to Professing Christians)

Our current times have stirred up so many people. I think social media aggravates it, makes people emboldened in their responses, and some are quite mean spirited.

Along with the stirring comes the troops of denial. “There is not a problem. I don’t see it.” Or “It does not affect me, therefore it’s not a problem!” Deniers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Some do not deny, they deflect. They are quick to pull some stat that is negative about people being oppressed, “See, look what they do wrong!” They change the subject to something that could possibly shift the narrative to, “There must be something this person did to deserve this.”

Dylan Roof flat out confessed he murdered 9 black people in their own church to start a race war. Those weren’t criminals. They were in their own church, worshipping Jesus, and welcomed him with open arms. He admitted to being racist and there are still people who deny or deflect from the issue of racism in America.

Both the denier and the deflector gain something. They do not have to express compassion, listen, love, humble themselves, learn, assess any prejudice in their own heart, or assume any responsibility for a solution. It’s perfect for the person who wants no skin in the game.

I had a Christian lady tell me recently, “This is not my fight.” So, as a Christian we can chant against abortion, throw tantrums if we feel sensored by anyone for our religious beliefs, say we follow Jesus, yet completely ignore what He came to do. He came to bring justice to the world.

If we are only pro unborn lives, let’s change the chant to “We care about the unborn. Once you are born, we don’t care. If you are marginalized, poor, a different ethnicity, don’t think like us, or don’t vote like us we really don’t care. Don’t ask us for help. We don’t care about you! Yet you should really get saved. Jesus loves you, but I don’t!” WTHeck is that line of thinking?!

My encouragement to the church world is do not complain or critique how people respond to a crisis you don’t care about enough to be involved. If you do not care about black people, don’t judge how they respond to hundreds of years of trauma; years of injustice, horrific treatment, being brutalized, the government bringing drugs into their neighborhoods, wrongful incarceration, being treated like garbage, their successes outside of athletics/music mostly hidden and any negative stat amplified.

I was traumatized watching George Floyd die and double traumatized by the insensitive or bigoted responses of some people. I saw my dad lying there (he has brown skin). I saw Jesus. Not saying George is saintly. Stating people watched Jesus (a brown man) be murdered and it was okay to publicly crucify him. People stood by and watched Jesus suffer and die. No fair trial, just execution. In America they used to have Sunday afternoon lynchings. They would go to church, afterwards lynch a black man, all while eating lunch. That my friends is INJUSTICE. They probably considered themselves good Christians. It’s funny how our ideas of what is good don’t always match God.

It reminds of the story of the Good Samaritan. The two religious people crossed the street to avoid helping the hurt man. The Samaritan was the only one to stop. Jesus said, “Be like the Good Samaritan.” And not in an arrogant, “I am here to prove my superiority and fulfill my messiah complex.” In a humbling oneself to help your neighbor. Who is our neighbor? All of humanity!

Be silent or pray if there is no desire to love. If there is no desire to love as the church, can we hang our hats and go home? Take off our WWJD bracelets and just admit we do not care.

Can we stop talking about Planned Parenthood? Because racism planted PP in communities of color and encouraged abortion. Black people did not form it, fight to abort babies, nor ask for abortion rights. White women fought for abortion rights and to put them eventually in minority communities. Until the 1980s/90s the majority of babies aborted were white.

Imagine living in a society where the history is to hate you, blame you, make you the butt of the joke, and you see how people who look like you are treated. Imagine the message sent (if it were an honest conversation based on what I have witnessed), “Keep the baby, now if they are killed once they are 5 years old or older society will not care. Your child will become a hashtag for a season, yet overall society does not care about your dead child once it’s born. Even if it’s an unjust murder, your community will be blamed. Oh, and please do not say black lives matter, that’s offensive to us!”

Sometimes in cultural Christianity it feels like people are saying Jesus loves everybody and giving you the middle finger at the same time. At least I have felt this way at times.

I saw a young black female protestor say, “I am afraid to have black children. I do not want them treated this way.”

Someone sent me a “prophetic” word to white people from a white prophet and it said, “Though most of us think they (black people) are just getting what they deserve we should mentor them…” I was floored. It was outright racist and using God told me this. God is not racist. God pulled all people out of Africa. The oldest remains are a black woman. Jesus was not white. He was brown. He would not have even been welcomed in His own church for hundreds of years. He would have been in the colored church. Slave owners would not even allow their hostages to worship God. So Jesus probably would have been out in the fields being beat up too!

If you study American history it outlines in clear English why there have been economic disparities. Everything from slavery, Jim Crow, Black Codes, Red Lining, Scorched Earth, Mass Incarceration for crimes not committed or receiving massive sentences for petty crimes, Devil’s Punchbowl Concentration Camp (freed hostages from the human trafficking of Africans) were put in concentration camps and killed by the thousands, Tulsa & Rosewood Massacres (when black people built wealth, their cities were burned to the ground and hundreds murdered). The system of racism was set up to prevent black advancement.

We never want to forget 9/11 or the Holocaust, yet hid Concentration Camps for black people and torturing/killing millions of them. We cannot hide from the skeletons in the closet.

President Hoover stated he would never allow a Negro (not the word he used) to rise to power like Malcom X or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr unless the government formed that man. During the Black Panther Party era, government officials were sent into black neighborhoods to loot, start riots, and hurt people and blame it on the black community.

I have had my own experiences with racism even the past few weeks.

I believe racism stole parts of my childhood. My mom pushed me to study more, do more, achieve more because she stated, “People think we are ignorant. You are brilliant, yet must work twice as hard.” I did not get as much play time. I did college level work in secondary school. I was moved into a school for the gifted and I hated that school. Parents did not want their kids to be with me or come to my house. I am not that old people! This is recent stuff.

I recall going to an all white church and the lady telling me, “This used to be a white church.” She grabbed her purse and moved. She turned to me and said, “I am not moving because you are black.” Racism seems to find comfort next to religion, this should not be. I think it’s because sometimes in circles of faith excuses are made for sin and Sunday mornings are typically the most segregated day of the week. People are not forced to relate to anyone who does not look or think just like them.

Kudos to pastors trying to diversify their church! Heaven is a multiethnic place. If you don’t like brown people, just wait til you see Jesus and most saved people in the Bible. They were brown, dark brown.

I recall my years working in a laboratory where white people, especially white men would take credit for my work. Sometimes their names were put on reports I wrote. Sometimes those with far less qualifications would complain when I was promoted and work against efforts. One lady told me, “Well, at least your job is secure because you are a minority.” Obviously it was affirmative action. There was sometimes resentment, pushback, lying, and some nasty parts too. You learn to suck it up because companies usually do not favor the person who reports issues. It’s a misunderstanding or you get shunned.

I have overheard and been the target of racist comments. I have listened to the ignorant stereotypes. “They all are poor. They all have kinky or frizzy hair. They don’t have dads at home. They are angry. They steal. Oh she’s pretty or educated, she must be mixed.”

Even with studying chemical/civil/environmental engineering, running businesses, running not for profits initiatives, serving the community, and a gifted level I.Q, I still face racism and racist mindsets. I have worked twice, if not three times harder than some of my peers and have faced dishonor for the way God created me to be. I thank God for who I am. I am not seeking any sympathy. I do want people to understand racism did not die just because we had a black President!

There are more black men in college than in jail, which is a miracle considering racism and profiling. There are more black women getting advanced degrees than any ethnic group. There are 107 historically black universities in America. There is a group on Instagram called the Dad Gang, they showcase black fathers caring for their kids. I was raised by an upstanding black man. We are not ignorant, poor, thieves, violent, nor fit any of the stereotypes. We are also not the anomaly.

Media paints the pictures it wants society to believe. I had a friend who’s mom became racist after watching the news daily. She now hates black people. I do not trust all things shared in media.

Racism is woven into all 7 mountains of influence, including the church. Every time you see white Jesus, you see a denial of who He is-a repainting of His ethnicity that fueled white supremacy.

I do not care what people say about it’s a thing of the past. I saw all the nasty posts about President Obama by people. Some called his wife an ape or monkey. Racism did not die. It’s now being filmed and posted on social media. America was built on the foundations of racism. No one was blowing up my feed, emails, or phone to pray for Obama. No one was shouting “God appoints leaders let’s honor them,” to me during his presidency. They were tearing him to shreds. Now people tear me to shreds if they even think I am questioning Trump. I have been called horrible names by professing Christians thinking I am saying something negative regarding Trump,

I saw how professing Christians have bullied others online, threatened ministers who supported black lives matter, and black out Tuesday. I have watched threatening of businesses too. One platform minister told me she lost thousands of followers. Just for saying black lives matter. Threats, tantrums, name calling…all in the name of Jesus. I have been called some colorful names and threatened too!! What do you do with the angry, entitled, racist in your church? I rebuked one last week. She deleted me. God bless you, yet not apologizing for calling sin what it is. Narcissism must be addressed in church and thinking the world revolves around us. The Gospel revolves around Jesus.

Whether we recognize it or not, the world sees our hypocrisy. The world sees the disparity regarding the causes of injustice we support. The world sees when we don’t seem to care. The world sees racism in the church even if Christians bury their heads in the sand.

The excuse cannot be “I don’t understand injustice,” because I saw Christians going crazy online when they said their religious posts were taken off Twitter, FB, or Instagram. People marched our statehouse and several other states to protest the shut downs due to COVID19. They were not tear gassed, to my knowledge, nor slandered online by any Christians I saw. I believe some of the protestors in Michigan had guns. They had the right to protest during the stay at home orders. But those protestors about the recent murders, that is just George Soros, ANTIFA, and terrorists. I wonder if we are blind to our double standards or see them and just want to pretend we don’t. I can imagine a black person showing up at a BLM event with a gun and being killed immediately, “They looked like threat.”

In this racial unrest, some professing Christians have not demonstrated the heart of a Good Samaritan. I met with protestors, let some cry on me, listened to stories. While some of the Christians I knew watched from their comfy homes passing judgement and denouncing Black Lives Matter, focused on looters/rioters, they missed the whole point.

It took protests and unrest to get the two men who murdered Ahmaud Aubrey and filmed it arrested. He was not a criminal. He was jogging down the street. They blocked him with their truck and murdered him in broad daylight. It took protests and unrest to get the cop arrested who knelt on George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds arrested. Many others have never been prosecuted. If Dylan Roof can kill 9 black people in a church and get walked out nicely, why do black people have to be gunned down?! The autistic boy who played violin was just walking home. Dead. Why are people so upset? Why are they rioting? Why are people crying? We don’t have a racism problem in America! The system is just.

If the system is just, how did Dylan Roof go into a black church, sit through their bible study, confess he killed them for being black and get walked out calmly? The police even took him to get food. Yet George Floyd supposedly had a fake 20 dollar bill and was lynched on film. If you think this is a just system, tell me the last time you saw a white person lynched and it broadcasted? Our white serial killers and rapists are treated with greater dignity.

I grow weary from deleting abrasive, prejudice, and racist comments on my social media. People have been combative, angry, refusing love if they do not agree politically. It’s made me sad to be labeled a Christian. Yet who am I to judge. My job is to roll up my sleeves and keep jumping in the ring. I keep trying to educate people online even when they call me mames or call me racist (they do not know what that word means). I do know because I have lived it! Oh my I have lived it. My parents lived it. My grandparents lived it. My Native and Jewish ancestors lived it.

We keep getting back up even if the world or church seemingly chants, “We don’t truly care about you! You don’t matter. If you say you matter, then you are excluding others and racist.” I keep getting back up when exposed to some of the worst of humanity. That will be our legacy! Overcomers. We have come a long way, yet we still have a long way to go.

I hope something said here helps someone. If you have been an ally and genuinely care, thank you! God bless you. I am thankful for anyone willing to stand up against injustice.

Before I go, I do care about the injustice to police who are doing their jobs or businesses owners looted. I also recognize the catalyst for all the unrest. I do not know how I would respond to all this if I did not know Jesus.

We can deny it, deflect from it, look away, or ask what we can do about the problem. It is a problem. Cities should not have to be burned to get a murder on film taken care of…and for those who say, “Why can’t they just pray or peaceful protest.” The football players tried that; they were called unpatriotic and by our leadership sons of $&!”?’s. Dr. King peacefully protested and he was violently beaten, water hosed, his friends beaten/murdered, dogs let loose on him, threatened, and he was murdered. Can we stop pretending that the protest is the issue and look at racism/rage against people of color. If we do not pay attention, I believe history will keep trying to repeat itself.

Warmly,

Erin Lamb