I have sat at the feet of white evangelical men my whole life. Most have pointed me to Jesus. Many have not. I have given my entire life for the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My silencers have never been angry outlaws or the gay or transgender, the drug addicted or alcoholic, the homeless, the prisoners, black neighborhood gang members. Some Evangelical white men do not care for me or my opinions very much. That’s ok with me.
I am a white middle class woman of white privilege. My experience of being silenced for whatever reason is nothing, hardly worth noting when I consider the black men, black women, brown men and women, the boys and girls of the united states of America that are anything other than straight and white. But I know hurt. I know rejection. I know what it is to be dismissed as an emotional woman learning to use her emotive voice. But now they hear me roar from the bottom of my soul, and they don’t like it very much. I’m ok with that too. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. But I hope some will listen, if not to me, then to the nation, now roaring with pain and angry rage. I hope they will see the oppressed on fire with the sting of injustice coming from their lips. They are angry. We are angry-a bottled voice exploded.
So, my white evangelical man friends, listen to me roar, listen to the voice of your nation roar with rage. Listen to those who look, act and talk nothing like you. You’ve had your voice. You’ve had your applause, affection and admiration. You’ve had pay raises and funded trips and funded books. Your backyards are a refuge you can run to when you are tired. You aren’t hungry. You can talk and know your voice will be not only heard, but recorded and shared! These are good things when you use them well. And you have.
But your nation is roaring.
Stop. Just stop it all and be still. Be quiet. Quiet your Facebook banter and chatter. Stop your posturing and pivoting to meet the crowds of white admirers where they are at. Stop looting dialogue from your black friends to make it sound like you get them. That you ARE them. You’re not. I’m not.
White evangelical men, it’s time to step back. Step down, step aside, make room and make way for other people that don’t look and act like you.
Your pulpit doesn’t need you to for it to stand. The church walls do not need you to hold them up. Your people have left that building and have been thriving behind covid’s closed doors. God’s grace is holding his body together. His might is going ahead of Him. He has made a way for new voices to rise. See it, take a chance, and allow for radical change.
Black women need to speak. You don’t always need to speak.
Prisoners, the homeless, the ineligible unfit and afraid need to step up as you step away and let them lead.
Jesus was always found in the lowest places. He had a reputation for trouble. He made way for women. He turned the tables, told his friends to stop arguing. Told the waves to be still.
Just. Stop. Stop talking and listen, please.
If you must lead, lead to the lowest places. Bow your heart and hand your microphone to the thirsty. Cup your hands so they can drink. Be not afraid. God is in the center, you never were.
You’ve grown in honor. You’ve stood high on the applause of men, front and center
You’ve orated, sung, wept, prayed, gave and gave…It’s enough. You have done well. Now, give it away.
Let women lead. Let black and brown people lead. Find Jesus in a whole new way when you humble yourself and pray, far from your board meeting walls.
Look around, Jesus has left the building. Go with Him. Go to the streets, the neighborhoods where he’s knocking on the doors of the hearts of His own. You’ve owned the stage a long, long time. Bow out. Hand over the keys. Sit down. Pull up a seat. Listen with love to black, brown, women, the uneducated, the poor, the least of these.
The poor, the marginalized, the least of your brothers and sisters is where you will find the weeping Christ. Follow them. Follow Jesus.