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  • Centre for Public Witness

#BlackLivesMatter

#BLM has unleashed fierce emotions and reactions in people. Positive and negative. Simultaneously, we have noticed that more and more ministers are asking how they can guide their congregation regarding this matter.

We would like to share some points that may help.


1. How Christians should - and shouldn't - respond to #BLM

The task force had the following article in mind. Feel free to read it and let us know what you think - How Christians should - and should not - respond to Black Lives Matter: https://www.abc.net.au/religion/how-should-christians-respond-to-black-lives-matter/11173976


2. Few movements are homogeneous

A movement arises spontaneously, revolving around a cause that has merit, but it is possible that several people will view it as an opportunity to advance their own (ideological) goals. That is when bedfellows develop, and they are not always similar in nature or do not necessarily follow the same approach. For example, there were people in the struggle who planted bombs and others who were against it.


3. The movement's origin

#BLM's origins can be traced to a feeling towards law enforcers that has grown in the USA - they do not treat white and black people equally. Gradually, the #BLM movement grew, both in terms of agendas and course of action. However, it remains important to see and understand the core of the movement.


4. #AllLivesMatter

In the process, we frequently heard that #BLM is unwarranted because All Lives Matter (#ALM). People would then also add God to the equation and say that everyone matters to God. But what is the problem with such a reaction? Perhaps without being intentional, such a view relativizes the specific pain of a particular group. For example, suppose we started a movement #FLM (Farm Lives Matters) and people would say: “No man, leave that; all lives matter,” it would not go down well.


5. What matters?

There is a saying that goes: If everything matters, nothing matters.


6. Specific pain in specific contexts

The art is to not only notice pain in general, but specific pain in specific contexts. Then we could have conversations. Regarding #BLM, deep conversations arose about black prejudice and black privilege.


7. Where does it leave us?

With all due respect, Christ never healed people in the masses. He could stand still with specific people and lay His hands on them. The same is expected of us.


8. #BLM has a specific American origin

Yet many, especially black South Africans, could identify with it. Nowhere, however, have we seen mass marches occur, such as overseas.


9. South Africa's other issues

However, South Africa also has other specific issues, which we could call #crisises.

a) #WLM (Women Lives Matter)

b) #FLM (Farm Lives Matter)

c) #CLM (Children’s Lives Matter)

d) #HLM (Homeless Lives Matter)

In the past year, over 3 000 people have been killed in the Eastern Cape alone. So, we could also ask #WLF (Which Lives Matter)?


10. We, as church

Meanwhile, the sanctity and preciousness of our existence as a church remains of utmost importance. As said, it is not only of general interest but of specific importance in specific contexts.


11. Our dream

We believe that South Africa will really change if whites stand up for blacks on a large scale and blacks for whites.

#BLM #BlackLivesMatter #movement #unity #hope

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