Culturally, what has happened is that only within the past 30 years have people of color been able to sit down at the monopoly game. Think about it. We’ve been buying up properties, able to get low-interest mortgages, even the ability to OWN more than one house, whether it’s because we’re paid generous salaries, or at the misfortune of another losing their home and we are able to purchase, renovate, and rent out that home for profit. If you’re NEW to “the game” you are at a disadvantage. The only homes available are in economically disadvantaged areas or even in neighborhoods with steep HOA’s and requirements that are going to be more difficult for a family that is only 1 generation removed from being PROHIBITED from having a home in those neighborhoods, schools, and areas. In fact, there are famous black preachers that have indicated that they weren’t even able to attend seminary in the 80’s due to the poor racial outlook in our communities and churches. Dear friends of ours just recently shared that only 12 short years ago, a black family purchasing a home in Newark ended up with racial hatred spray painted on their new home. We may not like to face it, but it’s out there and we must as the body of Christ, face these situations head on and allow God to change us personally as we seek what we can do going forward to be a part of changing these inequalities.
To highlight these inequalities, a professor at a University had black students come to class and start a monopoly game, an hour later he invited the white students to then join the game. “This,” he explained, “is what it feels like to experience the inequality that is an inherent part of our systems.” Now imagine being added to a game of monopoly and not being told all the rules, or how to play, or even how the cards can help you to get ahead.
Until we are convinced of the problems, we will deny the reality of practical solutions. Since 2014 and the terrible loss of Michael Brown we have been having a discussion that has led to very little, if no change in our systems, communities, and churches.
There is also personal responsibility. There are those in the church that are moved to frustration at the lack of involvement or the lack of movement towards these inequities. To that I would say, that is precisely why the church is made up of many individuals whose duties and burdens should bring them forward to not only address these issues, but become the practical hands and feet of those who would bring about the much needed solutions. I had a pastor whose response was most appropriate during these times. When approached by such issues, his response was always, the reason that it is such a heavy burden on your heart is because the Holy Spirit is calling you to DO something about it. While we are to be the biggest cheerleaders and can even provide platforms during these moments, it is the role of each person, to help carry the burdens of our communities.
For instance, we can’t just say “we should do something about abortion” or that “abortion is murder” without being willing to also step towards, or alongside a young mother who feels she has no other options. We must be willing to adopt or help provide prenatal care to moms in these dire straights. Being a part of the solution is a game-changer, but it will cost more than our indignance, it will cost us the same time, money, and energy, Jesus teaches us through the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Created with images by National Cancer Institute - "Family Playing Board Game. An African-American family (adult male and female and two male children) sit around a coffee table playing a board game. Photographer Bill Branson " • Travel LocalLV - "untitled image" • dylan nolte - "A family of three. Brother, sister and mother, stroll on the beach in Greece at sunrise. When the kids can't sleep on holiday, take them for a walk on the beach. If you can wake up it makes great photos for the golden hour." • Jan Kahánek - "tabel day"