At the beginning of the year, activist Michelle Higgins took the stage at the Urbana missions conference and issued a call to action: all Christians, she said, should support the Black Lives Matter movement. The video of her talk went viral and sparked a fierce debate among evangelicals about their role in the movement. Higgins talked with RELEVANT about the speech and the importance of Black Lives Matter.
###Can You Define Black Lives Matter?
Black Lives Matter is a decentralized movement that maintains momentum by having local organizers and activists take on a call to people in their own spaces. It is headless intentionally, and that’s actually an opportunity for Christians.
We want to affirm that nobody has the right to decide whether a person is executed on the street. The movement is very clear in what it affirms: Nobody has the right to harass or kill a police officer.
###Why Should Christians support the Black Lives Matter Movement?
Reconciliation is not just a hug and a kiss and now we’re OK. True reconciliation involves equity, racial equity.
Black Lives Matter is preaching life, hope and justice, and if we want to learn how to preach a fuller Gospel, then we have to participate with people who are teaching parts of the truth. If we hide from the areas where truth is being preached—like the truth of all people being created equally—we actually perpetuate some of the lies that come attached to that truth.[We need to be] in those movements to tell people, “Jesus loves justice and Jesus loves you, and He’s calling you into His family.” If we’re not rehearsing the Gospel here, then we’re going to be really bad at making disciples of all nations.
###How Can Christians Have Honest Conversations About Race Issues That Help Us All Work Together?
Everyone interested in working together has to educate themselves first on the issues surrounding Black Lives Matter. And then, don’t talk about it on social media. Find somebody in the flesh who will sit with you through the mess of saying the wrong thing for the wrong reasons and still protect you, because Christians are called to create safe spaces for each other. Find somebody who can help you process what you’re learning.
###Who Is Trying to Affect Change in His or Her Church?
To really affirm that black lives do matter is to say we all agree that white lives don’t matter more or less than black lives. If we begin to live that way in our worship space, then it will begin to trickle out outside of them.national scale.