Loving or Not Hating?

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. – Matthew 22:39

While doing some research in preparation for preaching the weekend before MLK Day, I discovered some troubling statistics:

• The median income for a black household in Minnesota is $30,306 while the same figure for a white household is $66,979.
• Poverty among whites in Minnesota is about 7%, while the rate is more than four times higher at 32% for blacks, the third biggest gap in the country.
• In Minnesota 76% of whites own their own home, as opposed to 24% of blacks
• Our high school graduation rate is 85%, but only 67% for blacks and 51% for Native Americans.

When it comes to racial equality, Minnesota ranks in the bottom five states in America. How can that be? I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons is that we’ve settled for not hating rather than loving. You may say to yourself, “I don’t judge people based on the color of their skin, and I certainly don’t hate people of color.” But Jesus doesn’t call us to simply not hate our neighbor; he calls us to love our neighbor.

If we see someone drowning and simply call out, “I don’t hate you” and allow them to sink…is that what the Gospel calls us to? Hardly. And many of our black and brown neighbors are drowning, right here in Minnesota.

What would it look like for us to move from not hating to loving? Downing people can’t pull themselves out of the water. What could it look like to use your hands, your voice and your power to confront the systems that perpetuate racism? Those are challenging and even controversial questions. But I believe that the Gospel calls us to ask them, and answer them.

Want to take a step of greater awareness? Click here to watch a powerful TedTalk entitled “Color Blind or Color Brave?”

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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  • Doug Scott

    Thank you, Jeff. This is excellent. I hope and encourage you to preach this from the pulpit, and to a wider audience.

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