Last week, a World magazine post denouncing Michael and Lisa Gungor for not reading the Bible the way the World magazine editors know is the only way God ever intended it to be read went viral. Relevant magazine responded. The white evangelical and post-evangelical world went crazy. Blog posts were written and tweets were fired.
Last week, Mark Driscoll got removed from the Acts 29 Network that he started. Lifeway Stores pulled his books. Blog posts were written and tweets were fired.
Last week, Ohio police shot and killed a young black man named John Crawford because he was holding a toy gun in Walmart. White Christian twitter was silent. No blog posts were written.
On Saturday, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri gunned down another young black man, Michael Brown. Some sources say the cop put eight bullets into the boy — a boy who was due to start college that Monday — while he was backing away with his hands in the air. White Christian twitter was silent. No blog posts were written.
On Monday, Robin Williams committed suicide. Conservative blogger Matt Walsh took to twitter to express his ignorance, and when he received backlash, filled an entire blog post with even more ignorance. Thanks to the outrage (and occasional “Yeah, you go, Matt!”), I would be willing to bet that in the white Christian world more people know Matt’s name than Michael’s, and more are outraged by what Matt said than by the fact that an African-American teenager was gunned down in the streets of the United States by the police for no reason other than the color of his skin.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles police shot yet another black man, Ezell Ford. Many white Christian bloggers and tweeters and Christian leaders (save Rachel Held Evans and a few others) still haven’t said a thing.
Meanwhile the news outlets are trying to figure out why the Ferguson police department looks more like a military. Journalists who tried to hold them accountable were arrested. And few members of the white evangelical twitterverse have said anything.
While the white Christian world debates who’s going to hell, the African-American community is already there, and nobody seems to give a damn.
While the white evangelical twittersphere was debating whether Mark Driscoll should step down from his pastorship, members of the black twittersphere were guessing which picture of them the media would show if a white person or a cop gunned them down. This is the world we live in. As my wife Kristen said, “We’d rather focus on who’s going to heaven or hell than the social injustice.”
We’d rather make Matt Walsh infamous than the police officer who shot Ezell Ford dead while Ford was lying on the ground and complying with police demands.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about Gungor and Driscoll and Williams and Walsh. I’m just concerned that in the midst of all the loudness about them, many white Christians aren’t saying anything about the racial injustice going on in the US.
In the original version of this post, I referred to the world that was silent as “The Christian Twitterverse.” Christena Cleveland pointed out that I had a blind spot:
@DavidMSchell “Christian twitter” wasn’t silent; white Christian twitter was silent. Stop ignoring POC voices.
— Christena Cleveland (@CSCleve) August 11, 2014
(POC is an abbreviation for “People of Color).
The fact that I hadn’t seen any Christians talking about this didn’t mean nobody was talking about it; it only meant that nobody I was listening to was talking about it.
Several people have since told me I need to center the voices and expertise of black Americans. I’m new to this whole “speaking out against racial injustice” thing, so I asked for an explanation. It means to share content by the people who live this stuff day after day, who’ve studied it, and who know what it is to be black in America.
In that spirit, I want to turn the blog over to black Americans and pray I haven’t talked too much already.
— (@TopFlightRod) August 11, 2014
— King Ghidorah (@__TrillClinton) August 11, 2014
— Brotha II the Night (@t_ythesportsguy) August 10, 2014
— Name Ring BELLS (@Heartbreak_Rell) August 10, 2014
— Not A Walking Target (@_bennythejet) August 10, 2014
— Run Tre (@UnoDos_TRE) August 10, 2014
If you are horrified, there are some things that you can do.
Second, tune in ethnic minorities. Hear what you’ve been missing. Christena Cleveland has a list of recommended Bloggers of Color. Start following some of them. When I wrote my original post, I got a long list of people to follow. This list included:
Third, if you want to be horrified more, look at the tweets on #NotMyChristianLeader, like this one:
#NotMyChristianLeader when white Christians act like they “discovered” state violence, but had the privilege of not paying attention before.
— Suey Park (@suey_park) August 11, 2014
Oh wait. That one was for me.
The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author.
An earlier version of this article appeared on the author’s blog.
Image courtesy of Daniela Kantorova.