Easy Answers Fall Short
writer David Gaddy Covenant Team member
Pastor Jason and I (Gaddy) get coffee every so often at Reed’s in Mebane. Over the last few weeks, we have both participated in the unity walks in Haw River, Graham, and Mebane. Many of you have participated with us and we are elated by that. Some of our conversations today surrounded these walks, their necessity, their effect, and the need for continuing conversations.
There was one particular item we agreed on as we talked about these walks. We noticed some of the religious, insider language used is only leading to easy answers to complex problems. Most notably of this language is the phrase “What we have is not a race issue, but a sin issue.”
While it does fall short of the walk with Jesus to hate someone, simply calling racism sin would seems to point to Jesus alone being the answer. I used to joke with students when they would come to me with questions and just say “Jesus.” You have likely heard someone say, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” Very quick, simple, answers to what are likely complex problems, including systematic racism. If some of these quick answers were true, the Church would have been on the front lines of many issues and we would have been much further in the fight for equity and equality. Maybe the short answers people tend to give are easier than confronting the person we see in the mirror and the biases we may have within. It is difficult and it is scary.
The start of combating systematic racism is realizing none of us are colorblind, none of us “don’t see color.” We must realize that the race issue is an "us" issue. All of us need to grin and bear and struggle with this issue and do it together.
I am a Math Teacher by trade. Jason made an analogy that fit so perfectly, it was worth quoting him on it. Back in the day, we used textbooks! Y’all remember those? In the back were answer keys to the odd questions only. The teacher would call you out for your answer. Jason said, “You could argue that you had all the right answers. However, inevitably, the teacher would ask you ‘Where is the work for the answer you gave?’”
We have used simple answers for a long time and look where we are now. Doing the same thing over and over, saying the same thing over and over, and expecting the same result is the definition of insanity.
Our simplistic answers will never mature, cover, and heal unless they are backed up by hard work and dedication for real, long-term solutions on multiple fronts.
I have been blessed to be part of the services at Storied Church. One of the prayers Jason has shared with me to use is typically our dismissal. May this dismissal motivate us to seek more than simplistic answers to the complex issues of our day.
May this dismissal reveal within us the capability to put in the hard work to heal the hurt that exists around us. And may this dismissal remind us that we are not just dealing with a sin issue, but the real calling on our lives to the way of Christ “do good, seek justice, help the oppressed, defend the cause of orphans and fight for the right of widows” (Isaiah 1:17)
“May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers,
half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth
boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so
that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform
their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really
CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s
grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator, Jesus
Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Savior, and the Holy
Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, be with you and remain with you, this
day and forevermore.