In Response to a Tragedy: A List of Articles Regarding the death of Trayvon Martin and the Trial of George Zimmerman

We at Union believe it is important to be a place that allows grace-filled dialogue.  We are prayerfully asking how to live as people of the Kingdom of God in the midst  of the death of Trayvon Martin and the trial of George Zimmerman.  We don’t know how to respond to this tragedy, but simply cannot ignore it, the implications for our country and our community.  We invite you to join us in praying for the Martin family, the  Zimmerman family and for the coming of God’s Kingdom.

These are some articles and blogs that we as a staff have found thought provoking, prayer directing, challenging and hopeful.  The titles are linked to the full article, the authors are linked to bios and we have included a quote or two from the articles themselves.

We Should All Be Terrified
Brian Bantum

Today, do not speak to me of peace. Do not speak to me of reconciliation or “turn the other cheek.” Today we must confess. We must confess to what our nation was and is continuing to be. We must open our eyes to the way the cancer of race in America not only persists but has mutated, calibrated itself to the supposed inoculations of “multiculturalism” and “post-racialism.”

…. my hope is not necessarily for more conversation, for more awareness or, right now, for talk of reconciliation. My hope is for confession, confession of the fear that is driving us to see the deaths of some as more reasonable than the deaths of others, the prosperity of some as more legitimate than the poverty of others.

If our black brothers and sisters are hurting, can’t we at least listen, seek to understand, and mourn with them?
Eugene Cho

Can we just take some time to hurt and mourn with many of our Black brothers and sisters?

Can we take some time to hurt with many Black churches and communities?

With our black friends, co-workers, and neighbors, can we commiserate with them – however limited we may be in that commiseration?

For us – as Christians – if our Black brothers and sisters in Christ are hurting…If they are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ; And if we are truly the Body of Christ as we profess…can’t we just shut up, listen, and mourn with them? Can we possibly try to listen, hear, and capture a glimpse of why they are upset, concerned, anxious, worried, and even fearful?

Does the Scriptures not command us to “mourn with those who mourn?”

Lament from a White Father
Jim Wallis

…there is a religious message here for all Christians. If there ever was a time that demonstrated why racially and culturally diverse congregations are needed — that time is now. The body of Christ is meant, instructed, and commanded by Christ to be racially inclusive. If white Christians stay in our mostly-white churches and talk mostly to each other we will never understand how our black brothers and sisters are feeling after a terrible weekend like this one. It was the conversation of every black church in America on this Sunday, but very few white Christians heard that discussion or felt that pain.

Trayvon and George: A Tale of Two Americas
Brian McLaren

Emerging America doesn’t love Trayvon and hate George, or love George and hate Trayvon. Emerging America owns both Trayvon and George as their beloved sons, their Cain and Abel, their Jacob and Esau, their older and younger sons in Jesus’ most famous (but often worst-interpreted) parable. That’s why Emerging America is heartbroken about the recent verdict.

But we will not let our hearts break apart in sharp and dangerous shards of resentment and shrapnel of fear. With God’s help, we will let the pain of love break our hearts open in renewed hunger and thirst for true justice and peace … for all people, equal and indivisible.

Christianity Today’s Reactions to the Zimmerman Verdict
Ed Stetzer

Since that fateful night in February 2012, we have watched and waited for a determination of what exactly happened between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. While we may never know the details, a jury has found Zimmerman not guilty of murder or manslaughter. However no matter what the jury decided, the fact remains that a 17-year young man old is dead, his family is hurt, and a man’s life has been turned upside down.

The focal points of the trial were certainly Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. But, in such trials, we learn about ourselves, our culture, and brokeness of our society. We learned that this society remains divided.

Certainly many issues were discussed, but three could not be missed: privilege, blame, and injustice.

So I asked three thoughtful leaders– a scholar, a bishop, and a pastor– to tackle these issues.

3 Things Privileged Christians Can Learn from the Trayvon Martin Case(privilege)
A Response from Christena Cleveland

….What is perceived as a serious problem to black people doesn’t seem to matter as much (or at all) to others. What is perceived as unjust and racist to black people seems to go unnoticed by others.

This is a problem for everyone who participates in our society. But I believe that this is an even greater problem for those of us who identify as Christian, are called to live out the metaphor of the diverse and interdependent body of Christ, and hope to follow in our Savior’s incarnational and subversive footsteps. We need to pay attention to the fact that America’s consciousness (and in many ways, the Church’s consciousness) is fractured along racial lines – for this misrepresents the cross-cultural and unifying love of Christ.

The Verdict Is In… and We All Lost (blame)
A Response from Sanford Florida Pastor Victor Montalvo

Contrary to the popular saying, God is not color blind. God is colorful! He made our various differences…. We miss God’s plan altogether when we settle for racial tolerance. Don’t tolerate racial differences—celebrate them!

It’s only when our brothers and sisters of differing races sense true love and acceptance that we begin to truly trust one another. The distrust we experience is because of fear and ignorance. We immediately look to blame others for the pain in this world. So we must also pray for ourselves, that we would recognize the cause of the pain of this world and deal with the sin of our hearts that so deeply distorts everything it encounters.

The Issue is Justice, Not Merely Race (injustice)
A Response from Central Florida Bishop Gregory Brewer

If we are committed to the Great Commission, then we should be asking, “Whom are we not reaching? Who is not being given the same kind of care and compassion that others are, and what can we do about it?” That is part of our witness to Christ.

….When I read the Gospels. I get the sense that Jesus was particularly interested in reaching out to people who were not favored by local governments or even the local religious institutions. That is one of the places where Christian ministry needs to be exercised.

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