He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
At Lakeview we believe that if we endeavor to act justly, we must not turn a blind eye to injustice in our society. As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. The Servant Leadership Team wants to briefly address recent events that have highlighted the long-standing problem of racial injustice in our society.
We affirm that Black lives matter.
American institutions and citizens have a long history of treating Black lives as if they are worth less than others. Recently, the country has been captivated by manifestations of this in the form of violence or threats against members of the Black community, committed by police and private citizens. We recognize, however, that there are many more manifestations of this devaluing of Black life like mass incarceration and unequal access to quality education, healthcare and housing. We believe that this mistreatment is antithetical to Jesus’s view of our Black brothers, sisters and neighbors. He teaches us that all people bear the image of God and should be treated with the dignity due to that image. As in all things, we seek to align ourselves with Jesus. Until Black lives and the lives of any other group receive that dignity, there is work to be done.
We align ourselves with the oppressed, as Jesus did.
When we look to scripture, we see consistently that Jesus aligns Himself and His Kingdom with the oppressed. For example, we look to The Beatitudes to see who He calls blessed and to whom He grants the Kingdom of Heaven. In every instance we see Jesus elevating those who are not receiving the respect that they will in His just Kingdom. In seeking to follow in Christ’s path we too align ourselves with those who are intentionally mistreated or forgotten by the privileged in our society. We seek to enter into shared suffering with our Black brothers and sisters, lamenting racial injustice alongside them. Further, we commit to support efforts to dismantle oppression by being actively anti-racist.
We humbly look inward.
We recognize our own fallibility. As is written in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Racism is no different in this regard. The pervasiveness of the sin of racism in our society makes us acutely aware of the fact that racially prejudiced and biased views exist in our own church family. We also recognize our own complicity in allowing racism to continue to plague our society even when we do not think we are active participants in racist behavior. We say this not as an accusation but as a confession. We are committed to doing the work to educate ourselves as a church body on how we can recognize and correct these shortcomings in ourselves.
We care deeply about this because we seek as a church to represent God’s intention to recognize the value of all people, regardless of racial or social background. Further, as a diverse church, we recognize that productive learning and conversation on race is imperative to achieve true Christian unity in our family. To ensure these are not empty words without action, we commit to the following steps:
- We will make the intersection of race and Christianity one of our reoccurring topics in our sermons, adult education, and youth education. We believe this is necessary given the immense power race holds in our society and therefore Christian life.
- We will maintain a diversity of perspectives on our Servant Leadership Team.
- As, led by the Spirit, we will stand in support of work that promotes racial justice, racial reconciliation, and the dignity of all people.
- The SLT will study and engage in conversations about race that will better equip us to lead on matters involving race.
- We will remain open to being led to other ways that we can further reflect the values described above. This includes seeking the input of the Lakeview Church of Christ family and the Uptown community we strive to serve.
Lakeview Church of Christ Servant Leadership Team
Hugh Archibald, Kevin Chadwell, Annie Nono, Pat Paul, Walter Pierce, Austin White