I am white. Midwestern. Grew up in a farming town where the only non-white kids were adopted. I literally don’t think there were any non-white adults except a Vietnamese family my dad’s church adopted. Thankfully, the Lam’s were in our home regularly and babysat me.
My mom was a missionary to Korea and we ate Korean food regularly. Kimchee was in our fridge (wrapped in 10 ziplocks with rubber bands!) and I had “pulgogi” (Korean marinated beef) at my high school graduation.
I went to college downtown St Paul and had mostly white friends. I lived with an adopted Korean roommate two years in a row, but mainly we were white Midwestern kids.
Until I chose to follow Jesus in college and join InterVarsity as a campus staff in 1998, I don’t think I dealt much with race, racism and my own heart.
Fast forward to today. I am studying Genesis 6-8 and the Flood for my job writing Bible studies for my church.
God completely destroys the earth and everything breathing on it because they are just too wicked. But Noah is righteous. And either he is good enough to influence his family, or his family is also righteous because his 3 sons and their wives are also saved.
AND THEN, the iconic images of the Flood stood out to me: the animals. 14 clean ones get saved and 2 of every “unclean” (according to Jewish rules) animal get a place in the big ark.
I believe God made all of the animals. He could have just started over after the flood but He didn’t. He also could have chosen to make new people (I believe He did that too). But He saved a family instead and started over.
In the face of Black Lives Matter, pro-life debates and the Oregon Standoff, I have to say this today. I just have to!
Black Lives Matter. Although as a woman I do encounter some frustrations and judgment, I have no idea what it is like to feel unsafe in a parking lot filled with white, drunk college boys. I have no idea how it feels to be followed around the Mall of America. I have no idea how it feels to be watched in any store. Simply b/c of the color of my skin.
I know I have to choose to look every person in the eye and say good morning. Sometimes there are folks I encounter en route to the Y or at the bus stop who make me want to look away, but I choose to believe their lives matter. I have to struggle against prejudice and assumptions about blacks and browns with low-slung jeans that get my 4 year old to ask why he doesn’t pull up his pants. About the Native Americans who “always seem to have domestic violence and abuse” and get written up in the paper. About Chinese parents who are too hard on their kids. About rich white folks who probably don’t care about any of the above…
I will also dare to say: ANIMALS’ lives matter. God made them and throughout Genesis we see that they are included in the mandate to multiply and fill the earth. Revelation 5 tells us in the heavenlies that all creatures will worship the Lord.
I eat meat and am not suggesting we worship the animals, but sometimes we don’t take God’s command to care for the earth and all that is upon it seriously enough.
White militia lives matter. So do those Native families who lost that land to the whites generations ago – they do too.
The cops who wield justice effectively and lose their lives that mattered. The cops who give the others bad names – yep them too.
The Unborn matter. The woman who lost her babe at 22 weeks … no his name is Arlo – they named him. His life, albeit short: it matters.
The system made up of broken, wonderful, wretched, just and wacky folks: all of them matter.
And YOUR LIVES MATTER. They matter because God created you. He wants to rescue you from this corrupt system, generation and injustice.
So let’s live as if our lives DO matter. And like other people’s lives matter too. Show them what the Truth is.
To that widow across the street. To that kid who is always sent to the principal. To that new man who joined our fitness class today. To that single mom who has had to leave her job all week to care for her sick kids. To you who feel like the mundane is just that, MUNDANE.
To you who work out next to me, sit next to me at church, walk past my house, ride the bus with my kids. To you who raise kids with brown skin and face the challenges that surpass my own. To you who have brown skin and fight the anger, the fatigue and the injustice.
You matter. I notice. InterVarsity notices. The Church notices. Many of us see you and want to stand with you.
But even more: God notices. He remembered Noah and the waters receded. The family was rescued from the flood waters and eventually got to be free again.
God will preserve you. He will keep you from destruction. If you listen to Him and follow His plans (Noah literally was given building plans for this barge/ark) He will rescue you. He will bring you justice.
Your lives matter.
God’s words sometimes literally blow me away. Leaving me feeling speechless.
And then a blog tumbles out…
Sandi Shelton Asker
Training World Changers in Training