**(Please read Part 1)**
People are being hunted down like animals in the street and Christianity is quickly descending into irrelevance.
Let me be clear. Those butchered brown bodies splattered across the pavement are my brothers and sisters, my aunties and uncles, my sons and daughters. What you may not know is they are yours, too.
We might have differing skin color; we might not share the same socioeconomic rung in society; we might have very different interpretations of society around us. But one thing is absolutely unchanging; according to God's Word we are inseparably bound by one critical silver lining in the tapestry of God's creation.
It is called Imago Dei, a principle coming from Genesis: we are all Image-Bearers. Our all-sovereign, omnipotent, all-powerful God has stamped the indelible, unchangeable mark of Himself on each of us; black/white, rich/poor, Christian or not.
THIS DECLARATION OF GOD DEMANDS SOMETHING OF US.
Imago Dei is the foundation for any Biblical response we hope to have as Christians. There are plenty of Biblical passages which compel us to act in such circumstances, but the understanding that these butchered brown bodies are bearing the image of the God we worship is the foundation for all of them. Perhaps better said, our black brothers and sisters who are alive today - not yet butchered - who need our protection and advocacy, bear the image of the God we love and serve and worship.
We say we love God, but then quietly watch our fellow creation – who bear the image of that God – be butchered in front of us. How can that be?!
We claim race has nothing to do with it. Please, let us educate ourselves. Race has everything to do with it. Let us not divorce our current reality from the history that carried us here. The declaration that “All men are created equal,” never was intended for everyone! At the time of its writing, it was simply understood that brown skin descended from African soil was never that. Today, we live in that legacy. (Read Part 1 for a fuller explanation).
Our unwillingness to leap into action, introspection, and honest dialogue on behalf of our fellow image-bearers is much bigger than merely apathy, denial, or the obvious rejection of responsibility. It is actually our rejection of Imago Dei. And in rejecting Imago Dei, we are rejecting the God we claim to love and worship. My Seminary professor, Danny Carroll-Rodas, used to say, “We worship a God that we create.”
Our minds have invented a god that does not exist... at least not in the Bible. A god for whom protecting the most vulnerable is optional... A god for whom turning an apathetic head in the face of brutality is acceptable. A god that accepts our do-nothing Christian platitudes and our silent complicity as we continue to sit in the comfort and safety of our lighter skin. We are worshiping a god that we have created.
And it stinks to high heaven.
We casually piss on the honor of His name, and don't think twice about it.
Our dismissing of this suffering of the black community has been passed down to us from our forefathers, while we think we are the inventors of our own thinking. We are not. We may look with dismay or confusion on the writers of the Declaration of Independence who, themselves, owned slaves! Don't deceive yourself, this is the very same dynamic we, ourselves, are upholding when we say we love the God of Jesus – who was Himself lynched, by the way – and yet stand passively by while those bearing His image are shamelessly massacred.
Imago Dei is demanding more from us. Father God, the defender of the most vulnerable, is calling us to reflect His nature by taking a stand against this genocide happening right before our eyes. Our inaction is a disgrace to the God we serve. It is a mockery of who He is, as plainly revealed in scripture.
We, Christ followers, are complicit participants in this hunt. Every time we respond to the outrage and anguish of our brown brothers and sisters with a call to 'Christian love' instead of justice, we participate in the hunt. Every time we choose NOT to confront the racism around us – and in us – we are part of the hunt. Every time we claim every reason other than race as the cause, we are a part of the hunt. Every time we claim color blindness or suggest that we should only see the 'human race,' or claim reverse racism, or say “All Lives Matter,” we are part of the hunt.
May all of us, and the church in particular, WAKE UP, and decide it will not allow such atrocities in the streets of our country to continue unopposed. Oh, the power we would hold if we all stood up! We who hold the 'keys to the kingdom,' so to speak, have been lulled into apathetic slumber.
Seeking to protect the basic human rights of fellow image-bearers is simply the baseline for what Imago Dei asks of us, believers.
You may not want to protest in the streets. Fine, don't. That does not relieve you of the Biblical obligation to actively seek for the protection and justice of the marginalized, vulnerable, and targeted; most notably, that of the black community. For other ways to act, read here.
One thing is for certain, the hands of this nation are covered with the blood of the innocent and vulnerable. As long as we keep ourselves untouched from the God-given responsibility to take action against the brutality right in front of us, we can be assured we are on the side of the hunter.
And we can be assured we're worshiping a god WE created.