The Church Identity Justice

Relief After the Insurrection

Charmie Curry

The morning of January 7, 2021, was a relief. I know that relief isn’t what many people felt after witnessing the terrorizing display of white supremacy twenty-four hours earlier, but I was relieved. I was relieved because I knew that it would make it through the day confident that my faith community would see me, acknowledge my emotions, and uplift the dignity of my Blackness. I knew that I would not have to endure the trauma of silence or empty platitudes. I could be confident that our daily corporate prayer and Sunday worship would hold space for and fully address the attempted coup from a framework of biblical justice. I knew that there would be adequate space for lament, condemnation, and an unwavering commitment to God’s truth. 

As relieved as I felt, a question still lingered: How might I have experienced this event if my family was still worshipping in a predominantly white faith community?

My family had spent the better part of a decade laboring in a New England church where our efforts to be a voice for racial healing were met with fragility. We were left holding a bag full of white tears and our own trauma. In the spirit of Galatians 6:2, we had attempted to bear our white siblings’ burdens, but with no one willing to share and bear our burdens, we were crushed under the weight of both. People were more concerned with protecting white ways of being than they were with justice, and so we left. 

When I reflect on that time, it is tempting to wring my hands and wonder what my family could have done differently. Were we impatient? Were we not gracious enough? Were we judgmental? In the years following our departure, I have learned that these are not the right questions. 

Now, I am asking better questions. I am asking why the white church fails to see the pervasiveness of white supremacy. Why do they fail to see justice as a central tenet of Christian discipleship? Why are so many believers silent and seemingly unwilling to challenge the status quo of race relations in the Church? 

I now realize that those wrapped in white supremacy’s tentacles need to be discipled out of that ideology; those who actively choose to espouse white supremacy should be put under church discipline. I want to talk about why the white church has compromised God’s truth and used harmful ideologies to further its own ambitions and unjust gain. 

My family’s journey led us out of our predominantly white church. God called us elsewhere, and we doubt neither his call nor his timing.

If I could give one piece of advice to our Black siblings at a similar crossroads in their journeys, it would be to practice discernment. Understand the difference between striving and thriving, graciousness and complicity. There are times when the way of the cross might seem lonely and burdensome. When the way gets difficult, recognize your value to God. Recognize your worth as someone who God fearfully and wonderfully made to flourish.