My video-chapel convocation address for the Fall 2020 semester released last week (also available in print and through the Lead On podcast), ended with six steps you can take to accomplish real change—particularly related to racism and other social justice issues. If you have not heard or read the message, take time to view it in its entirety. If you have already done so, review these action steps and get busy implementing them this week.
First, settle the question once for all—absolute Truth exists and is revealed in the Bible. The Bible may be hard to understand, may be open to interpretation, and may need discerning application to modern problems—but decide once for all the Bible is true and you will submit yourself to its authority on racism and other social justice issues.
Second, discover orthodox Christian positions and resolve to uphold them—no matter the cost. Study the Bible to discover foundational truths that have been agreed upon by Jews and Christians for millennia. There will always be some matters Christians debate in every generation. That does not mean you cannot discover timeless, foundational convictions that have never been questioned and stake your life on those.
Third, be a discerning student of both the Bible and culture. In today’s social media driven environment, extremism reigns. There is little patience for reasoned discussion or nuanced positions. Profanity-laced tirades have displaced logic-based arguments. Sloganeering is used to define tribes with this underlying premise, “You either say what we say and mean what we mean, or you are not one of us and we will destroy you.” Christians must resist this herd mentality. We must take time to evaluate what we see, hear, and read in light of biblical revelation and in the context of our Christian worldview.
Fourth, take personal steps to build cross-cultural, multi-ethnic, or multi-racial relationships. Move to a diverse community. Join a church where you are a minority. Get involved in ministries that are intentionally diverse. Stop trumpeting your supposed outrage on social media and do something concrete, specific, and intentional to build relationships with different kinds of people.
Fifth, as part of rising above self-focused consideration of these issues, move beyond America-centric consideration of the global problem of racism. Americans tend to think we have the best or worst of everything and our problems should be all-consuming. Racism—often tinged with religious persecution—is being expressed through sexual violence, ethnic cleansing, and genocide around the world. Global Christians address global problems which are devastating large numbers of people.
Finally, prepare for a hard road and trust God to sustain you. The Bible predicts the world will become more hostile to Christians, not more affirming, as time goes by. Do not despair! Trust God to sustain and advance his kingdom—not your life, community, culture, or country. The Bible promises, in the midst of cultural conflict, God’s kingdom will endure. Our kingdoms do not. A common phrase used today for culture-shaming is, “Be sure you are on the right side of history.” While that phrase sounds threatening, it really is good counsel. The right side of history is allegiance to God, his Word, and his Kingdom. Someday, when all that seems so important right now is a footnote in eternity—you will be glad you endured whatever hardships may come your way to obey the God who created and sustains all that is, ever was, and ever will be.