Dear BIPOC Christians of the United States of America,
I am and have been an attender, servant and leader in the white Church of the United States. We define ourselves as such because our staff, congregation, practices and resources are all very dominantly of European descent. I know I am not alone as I say the following:
We want you to know that we are truly sorry.
When we first founded churches in this country, we either intentionally perpetuated, caved to the influence of, or did not speak loudly enough against white supremacy. And we are sorry.
We have been complacent and not been forthright with younger generations about our historical complicity in racist policy and culture (including but not limited to slavery, murder, segregation and genocide), and we are sorry.
We have wrongfully condescended your churches, your theology, and your worship, thinking of them as less-than, compared to our purportedly objective and intellectual standards, and we are sorry.
We have compartmentalized you as ministry projects, or patted ourselves on the back for your attendance of our stubborn traditions and/or practices, making our church supposedly sufficiently “multicultural” to the public eye, and we are sorry.
We are uncomfortable with the nuances of cultural pluralism, and so we long for an era of simplicity, despite such an era consisting of racial segregation and injustice, and we are sorry.
We have sacrificed faithfulness to Scripture, the value of corporate prayer and confession, and a healthy relationship with you, in the pursuit of business-based goals and maintaining power and comfortable segregation, and we are sorry.
We have not spoken biblical truth to socio-cultural and political realities for fear of appearing partisan and/or offending the immaturity of our consumers, and we are sorry.
We have believed self-conjured lies and doubted your honest and gracious words, and we are sorry.
We have downplayed or completely ignored your legitimate and discerned disquietude about the unethical character of political leadership and the very real danger of white supremacy, and we are sorry.
We have not listened to (much less highlighted) your uniquely prophetic voices, instead lauding our own too-little-too-late prophetic voices (e.g. this letter), and we are sorry.
I want to continually listen to you and learn from you. I want to worship God with you. I want to collaborate and have prayerful conversations. I am humbly willing to bequeath any and all of my treasured earthly influence for true biblical justice.
Asking for your grace as well as His,
James and other servants of the American White Church