Jack* is a white american, goes to a majority white school and is headed into the military and then law enforcement. He was part of NYCUP Spring Break 2015 last week.
"I've never had a black man tell me that he was excited that I was going into law enforcement," is what Jack* said to me the last night at NYCUP Spring Break. I looked at him and said if he entered into hard conversations about racial reconciliation, continued to learn and grow in crossing barriers of race and class and disciplined himself in seeing all people made in the image of God, he could be used to change the world. I would be glad to have him patrolling the neighborhood I live in now and where I'm from and would be happy to have him share with my students throughout his career.
I am a black male, raised in the de facto segregated south and have genuine fear and mistrust of white law enforcement and authority figures; but the Love of God enters into that fear and by His grace I am able to choose to love and serve those society and my culture would have me to fear because all people are made in the image of God.
Jack* and I opted into the discomfort of racism, prejudice and the history of law enforcement in America among black and brown communities and Jesus met us there. We were honest about our fears, limitations and ignorance about the other because of our cultural lenses. I listened to his questions and he listened to mine. I shared anecdotes with him and listened to his. I was blessed by this conversation and he said he was as well.
He leveraged his power as a white male to empower me and I leveraged my power as a black male to empower him. I was willing to enter into his personal choices and questions and he was willing to enter into the relational and systemic implications of slavery and blackness. This is what reconciliation looks like. There is profound mutual transformation at the cross of Christ.
Praise God for the work He has done, the work He is doing, and the work He will do. I wait in faith-filled expectation because He has good things in store for those who love Him. Black and white, Asian and Latino, citizen, immigrant and native - all welcome at His table. Amen!