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Our hearts broken; our country in crisis … What should we do?

To say we are living in troubled times is an understatement. All of us are hurting. Our society must heal. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit and heal our communities; heal our world.

Emotions are running high. Like millions of others, I have not been able to rest well the past few nights. Two police related shootings have risen to national attention. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were human beings slain in the streets by men who we trust to protect us.

Admittedly, bad police do not represent all police. I know many well-meaning and good-hearted police. And most of them mean well. We need them; they are sworn to protect and help to care for our communities. We must support our law enforcement communities; cooperate with their efforts; try to build positive relationships with them; and pray for them, continually. Yet, we must deal with the few that have senselessly slaughtered too many of our people and represent deeper cultural problems that persist along racial lines.

Let’s face it!

The recent killings and other situations across the country that have been similar to these bring back to our minds cultural and generational emotions from the Jim Crow era.

A lot of blood shed is screaming out to us from their graves. We must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves!

Our attitudes of hate, and violence; our systems of injustice; a society full of acrimonious behavior must change. We must think beyond party politics; our society is in a moral decline, and we are hasting toward self destruction.

An unprecedented number of black men’s red blood stains the streets of America not to mention all of the other human beings who senselessly die from violence every day; there is no denying that we have a serious problem.

Time out for diverting the issues and pretending that this is just black people exacerbating the problem for political expediency or for some sort of cultural pity. Time out for silence and devaluing human beings just because they don’t look like us, don’t believe like us, or don’t vote like us.

The voice of the prophet Amos resounds in the corridors of my mind:

“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

A revival is imminent. The Holy Spirit will stir-up a godly justice and the righteousness of God will transform like none other.

So, we must not allow heated emotions to drive our actions. We must be sober minded and strategic. We must come together in unity and pray, and work together to advance a Christ-centered agenda.

Yet, a Christ-centered agenda is not a passive agenda that sings and prays and pats each other on the shoulder; then move on.

A Christ-centered agenda is about listening to each other, caring for each other, and trying to understand each other while also working together for change. We do not have to agree to care enough about people’s lives to fight for them, to care for them, and to honor them, to love them.

Admittedly, this is a challenging task; yet, with Christ, we can achieve it.

Far too long, division has been the answer to disagreement. But, we cannot change a nation in crisis with divisive resolutions.

Everybody’s life matter—civilians as well as police.

Now is the time!

We need Black, White, Brown, and other people; we need Pentecostals, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Independents, Word of Faith—any others who I left out. We need the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We cannot heal this nation with violence. Also, we cannot heal it being calm. We must remain intensely concerned, relentlessly devoted, and be silent no more!

This is the time; we are the people; we can do this in Jesus’ name and by the Holy Spirit!

With sincere concern,
Dr. Antipas
July 8, 2016

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2016

About the Author: Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pastor at The Potter’s House of Dallas, TX, and the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the Criminal Justice System Director for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and president of the Global Institute for Empowerment & Leadership Development, known as GIELD. He has additional experience as an educator, academic lecturer, itinerant preacher, pastor, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician. He is the author of Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color (IVP, 2020), The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Scripture and Theology (2019), Holy Spirit, Holy Living: A Practical Theology of Holiness for Twenty-first Century Churches (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and Unstoppable Success: 7 Ways to Flourish in Your Boundless Potential (High Bridge Books, 2014). | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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