Racism Riots and Revival

Monday, June 8, 2020 7:45 AM

By Mario J. Lomuscio

Let’s have an honest conversation. Honestly, my soul is tired. These last two weeks have been emotionally exhausting for, I think, every American. I’m tired of the news. I’m tired of the virtue signaling on social media. I’m tired of the anger. I’m tired of the vitriol. I’m tired of the hatred. I'm tired of the violence. Most importantly, I’m tired of the division tearing our communities apart. My soul longs for a United States of America. How do we mend the torn fabric of our broken culture? 

I’ve spent the last two weeks talking with people and listening. I found not only friends and neighbors with whom I mostly agree, but also people who vehemently disagree with me on politics, on religion, and on social issues. What I learned from my friends, neighbors, and others were the things that are truly troubling them in the wake of last week’s violence. They were genuinely concerned about police brutality, about inequality, about injustice, and about Racism. They feel that when they try to talk about these issues, their concerns are typically explained away by their conversational counterparts with cold statistics that invalidate the reality they are living. They told me that when they try to talk about racism, the conversation usually devolves into a quibbling disagreement surrounding the definitions of either the words “systemic” or “Institutionalized.” 

 If racism is the main concern, then the definition of “systemic” is irrelevant. When my friends and neighbors hear people say that “there is no systemic racism in America”, they leave the conversation without the acknowledgement of the racism and injustice at the root of their pain. They leave feeling ignored and misunderstood. During the many conversations I’ve had this week, I heard nearly every last individual tell me that they've personally experienced racism, prejudice, and bigotry. Try telling them that statistically speaking, there’s no real problem with racism in America. 

Last weekend I watched a profound conversation between Pastor John Gray and Pastor Steven Furtick. They identified what I think is an excellent question: Should it take a video of a man being choked to death on camera to start taking action against the racism experienced by our own friends and neighbors? It’s simply not enough to condemn racism, shrug our shoulders, and say: “well I’m not a racist”. That’s an excuse to continue ignoring the problem. We can and must do more.  

Another concern I heard was that once the violent riots began, the righteous call for justice became drowned out and lost in the smokescreen of media sensationalism.

Obviously looting and rioting is objectively wrong and morally indefensible. I cannot condemn looting and rioting strongly enough. But, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, it’s not enough to condemn riots alone without addressing the conditions that sparked the will to riot In the first place.  

So where do we go from here? What can we do about racism and riots. I can only give the answer that makes the most sense to me: Revival. The divisions that are clawing at our cultural substrates are not new. As Pastor Gray mentioned last week, this isn’t a problem that can be solved in the legislature. No new law will address the hate in a man’s heart. Our problem is not legislative, it’s spiritual. What we need now more than ever is the love and healing power of Christ. The Gospel is the only lasting medicament for racism in America. It’s the only healing salve that can mend the deep wounds and scars of our broken culture.  

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” -Galatians 3:28 KJV 

We must stop pretending we are colorblind. Colorblindness is a deficiency to be corrected, not a virtue. God saw color when He made man in His image and our differences were not a mistake. The question is: Do we have the depth of faith to lay down our differences and pick up the Kingdom of heaven? We must find our common humanity. We must love our neighbors as ourselves despite our differences. We must acknowledge the raw pain of those with different lived experiences than our own, and have empathy; even if we’ve never had the same experiences. We must listen to one another as if our future depends on it and we must lift each other up. A house divided cannot stand. Let us remember the Judeo-Christian values upon which western civilization was founded. Let us live unified in Justice and Righteousness as brothers and sisters in Christ. In the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “We can either learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

If you are asking how to start, let’s start by having an honest conversation.