Thoughts on #Ferguson

December 1, 2014
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Last week we published an article on how we can make sense of the grand jury’s decision to not indictment Darren Wilson on the shooting of the 18 year old, Michael Brown, in August. We weren’t alone in sharing our thoughts on making sense of this tragic event in the history of the United States. But, what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri is not just a one time occurence. #Ferguson is not over. The core of what has happened in the town outside of St. Louis goes much deeper than an encounter gone wrong between a white police office and a black teenage boy.

To help our iAt readers be more informed on topics of racial justice, racism, and white privilege here are some articles that have been published since last week Monday’s grand jury decision.

Chuck DeGroat, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Western Theological Seminary and Senior Fellow at Newbigin House of Studies wrote “#Ferguson: A Gospel Issue.” DeGroat writes, “We don’t get it, friends. And we can’t, and won’t, until we walk a hundred miles in the shoes of someone very different than us or until our friendships reflect the diversity of society.”

This morning, Christena Cleveland, Austin Channing Brown, Drew Hart and Efrem Smith jointly published a response entitled “Black-on-Black Violence: Pastor Voddie Baucham’s Assault on Black People.” The Gospel Coalition published “Thoughts on Ferguson” by Baucham last week where he states, “It does me absolutely no good to assume that my mistreatment was systemic in nature. No more than it is good for me to assume that what happened in Ferguson was systemic. I have a life to live, and I refuse to live it fighting ghosts. I will not waste my energy trying to prove the Gramscian, neo-Marxist concept of “white privilege” or prejudice in policing practices.” He even went on to suggest Michael Brown “reaped what he sowed, and was gunned down in the street.”

Cleveland, Brown, Hart, and Smith respond by laying out how white-on-black violence has defined the last 400 years of the United States history. Black-on-black violence is an extension of white-on-black violence which they call Baucham’s statements as this form of violence. They stated, “Internalized racism, a term first coined by black scholar W.E.B. DuBois in 1903, involves accepting a white supremacist social world that places black people at the bottom, and adopting society’s negative stereotypes about African Americans concerning their abilities and intrinsic worth.” The four authors end the article by saying, “Given the long history of anti-black violence in this country, all followers of Jesus must be committed to engaging in the transformative and liberative work of Jesus, which means affirming the image of God in black people and resisting all White-on-Black violence in word or deed.”

Sojourner’s posted “Ferguson: Between Jesus and Barnabas” by Drew Miller. Miller writes: “’Whether or not any of us become racists is a choice we make. And we are called to choose again and again where we stand on the issue of racism in different moments of our lives.’ Today, we have another choice. The grand jury is under the spotlight, but we are all responsible.”

Twitter #staywokeadvent and the webpage with the same name is a movement to live into the season of Advent as we long for justice, reconciliation, and peace. Collected by Theology of Ferguson, authors of #staywokeadvent call followers of Christ to join their voices in solidarity with all brothers and sisters in Christ and to explore how our faith, race, justice and activism intersect.

What articles have caught your eye in the past week? What has helped you process and make sense of what has happened in Ferguson? What are your thoughts on Ferguson?

About the Author
  • Liz Moss is the former managing editor of In All Things and the Andreas Center Program Coordinator. Today she is the Development Director for The Tesfa Foundation, serving students and families in Ethiopia. She is ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church in America.

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