The Andrews Apology & The Bigger Picture
"Those who have grown up in brown/black skin ...
Instead, we ignore and avoid it because we don’t want to deal with the disruption and discomfort that will inevitably confront us when we finally engage. But this elephant is big and bold and brightly striped in black and white. And he appears quite bullish in that he’s not only “in the room,” but rather appears to be following us everywhere we go.
This elephant of ours is the prevailing racism, discrimination and bigotry that bombards our present culture.
If you turn on the TV you might as well invite it right onto the couch beside you. When you go shopping at the mall, it greets you in the parking lot (it happened to me just yesterday). If you’re invited to sit at the board room table, you’ll surely find our elephant there. And if you’re riding in your car, or standing on a street corner that pesky elephant will surely track you down. Even if you’re at the most sacred meetings in the most sacred spaces on Earth, that shameless elephant seems to squeeze his way in and find a spot to sit and stay. And if this elephant is so determined to follow us everywhere we go, we must, at the very least, identify and acknowledge it.
Furthermore, I believe that it is our God-given mandate and inescapable responsibility as clergy and followers of Christ to speak against all forms of evil and immorality…in us and around us.
It should give us pause that we live in a time and place where one of the clear frontrunners for the nation’s highest office is an unabashed bigot. There are hundreds (dare I say thousands) who have lost their lives at the hands of police. Most of the time the offending officer is white and the victim is black, but there are very few indictments; more less convictions. If you’re poor and black in Flint, Michigan, then you’re probably using tainted water. I wondered why the city didn’t try to save even more money by changing the water source in the affluent neighborhoods as well. But this kind of discrimination is not new, and our elephant is not finished. He follows us everywhere.
If you’re a black actor or actress, you can forget about receiving the highest honor in your field unless you portray a character of some despicable sort. If a white person says that they felt uncomfortable or that they feared for their lives, then they are usually excused of any form of molestation inflicted upon a person of color. If you’re a well respected, highly-educated, credentialed and qualified black leader employed at the denomination’s highest level, you can be easily reminded that you’re expendable. And if you work at a black Christian university, the parent denominational body can threaten to strip certain valuable entities, branch offices and resources while stubbornly refusing to share others.
This is our world. This is our elephant. This is racism.
Maybe you don’t care about the Oscars. Maybe you never attended an HBCU. Maybe you’ve never been mistreated by the police. But you still don’t have to look far to find the elephant. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Our churches are bastions of righteousness and justice. Our God is the righteous judge, and he inspires his prophets to call for “justice (to) roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” It’s the responsibility of the church to “call sin by its right name.” It is our duty to do everything in our power to point people to the antithesis of sin in Christ and the love of God that He so beautifully displayed before us.
So here’s what we can do:
It’s been said that elephants are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet. I recently saw a documentary about how keen elephants are when it comes to solving complex problems. One study even proved that elephants have advanced self-awareness capacity. This is a crucial finding which may explain why elephants demonstrate such strong relational systems. It’s obvious that self-awareness is essential to understanding how to relate to the larger group. Nevertheless, it’s a foregone conclusion that we (humans) are the most intelligent of all living things on Earth. And if elephants can demonstrate self-awareness and problem solving, then surely with the help of the Holy Spirit we can solve the problems that threaten to destroy our very existence. Surely we’re smarter than an elephant.
 Amos 5:24 NIV
 E.G. White, Education (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1903), 57.
 See 2 Chron. 7:14
 See 2 Corinthians 5:18