A Message From Pastor Gabe
May 29, 2020
Dear Freedom family,
My heart is heavy. I find myself swinging from anger to sadness to shame, and back again. George. Ahmaud. Breonna. It would be tragic enough if their lives and their deaths were isolated experiences. But they are not. They are the shared story of millions of our brothers and sisters—brothers and sisters in our Freedom family. And the embarrassing reality is that I don’t know this story very well. It’s more comfortable to ignore it.
I know there are many other stories at Freedom—stories that need to be heard and understood and mourned. But no story has defined our nation, and the church in our nation, more than the one that is painted in black and white. Do you know this story?
With very rare exception, every generation of white Christians in our nation has ignored the story. Somehow we never seem to notice that things are not right. The brutal deaths are always outliers and exceptions. And we, of course, would never do anything like that.
Or would we?
History tells us that the vast majority of white Christians were more than happy to maintain the status quo. We owned slaves. We embraced segregation. We sat on the sidelines during the Civil Rights movement. Any obstacle our colored brothers and sisters faced was always their fault.
The temptation is to distance myself from the failures of the past, but that just leaves me even more susceptible to repeat them in the present.
I have been doing a lot of thinking, reading, and soul-searching the past few weeks. We have a beautifully diverse, gifted, and passionate group of men and women at Freedom Church. But we are not yet what God has called us to be. We haven’t really seen our brother. We don’t really know our sister. We have much more to learn about striving together for the faith of the Gospel. The prophet still calls out: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Off and on for over a year, but more vigorously in recent weeks, a group of nine leaders at Freedom Church has been wrestling through these topics. It’s been pretty raw. There has been anger, frustration, tears, confusion, fear, and doubt. It’s unscripted and messy. But God is in it. At times we’ve experienced grace, hope, and glimpses of unity.
My prayer is that, by God’s grace, our whole body will take this journey. God has called us to be one, as Jesus and the Father are one. Our team of nine is diligently working on ways to help facilitate this journey for more people at Freedom.
I have a long way to go. We have a long way to go. But nothing is impossible for God.