Monday, 06 July 2020 15:30

Let Them Speak

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In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, many concerned white people (myself included) asked, “What can I do or say that would help?”

Last week, we talked to author and activist Shane Claiborne, and something he said struck me. 


“Before I say, ‘I want to be a voice for the voiceless,’ maybe my job is to hold the mic... and to amplify the voices people aren’t listening to. And rather than stand in front of someone, get behind them.” 


This was a gut punch because I instinctively think it’s my voice the world needs, always and in every situation. 


A post-enlightenment, god-like self-confidence is baked into every individual, especially white males. I tend to think that if the world could hear my perspective, we’d solve this problem. 


We need to deconstruct this arrogance, and instead look to Jesus, who amplified the unheard. He wasn’t interested in what the religious elite had to say. He empowered the widow, the Samaritan, and the beggar. He gathered to Himself ordinary and unschooled followers who were far from impressive in the world’s eyes, and together they changed the world! 


We need to follow Jesus’ example. 


While Minneapolis was still burning from the previous nights’ riots, we invited Bethel University’s pastor, Laurel Bunker, to be on our podcast. Apart from a few words of introduction, and a couple of quick follow-up questions, I sat there and listened as she delivered one Holy Spirit infused haymaker after another. The more she talked, the clearer it was that my voice was not needed. 


As she quoted from authors I’d never heard of about history I never knew, it became abundantly clear to me that I have a long way to go. A quick scan of my bookshelf reveals the imbalance - 90% white male authors. This is true of the articles I read and the podcasts I listen to. 


Honestly, it also reflects the people I spend my time with. Isolation is my problem, and this grieves the heart of God. How can I possibly understand the hurting, when I am so far away? 


Now hear me: every person, regardless of gender and skin color, was created by God, with a role to play that’s vitally crucial to the Church and the world. 


Still, when it comes to race and systems of oppression, it’s our Jesus following, brown and black brothers and sisters that need to be heard. 


As Shane pointed out, it’s not that their voices need to emerge - they are already there! We just need to step out of the way and let them speak. 

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.
Instagram: @nzbenpierce
Twitter: @benalanpierce

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