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Bishop of Texas on Baltimore unrest, sin, and solidarity in God’s reconciling grace

Bishop of Texas on Baltimore unrest, sin, and solidarity in God’s reconciling grace

In the wake of unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Bishop Andy Doyle addresses the relationship between creating social change, working on personal and corporate sin, and finding solidarity through God’s reconciling grace in Jesus Christ. For Bishop Doyle, “black lives matter” and “every life matters”:

As Bishop I am mindful of how deeply sin dwells, not just in society, but in my own heart. But I am also confident and hopeful because I know the power of God’s reconciliation, which for me is not some lofty idea but a theological truth. From a Biblical perspective, it is not so much that we need to be reconciled with one another, as it is that we are reconciled already–with God and with each other–as an act of sheer grace.
 God has chosen solidarity with us so then with whom shall we show solidarity?
As Christians, we do not need to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. We just need to wake up to the great theological truth that in Jesus Christ God’s Kingdom is already here. It is a Kingdom that celebrates diversity of every kind. People from “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” are part of God’s Kingdom (Rev 7:9). It is a Kingdom where Freddie Gray and the Boston police department already stand together reconciled under the foot of the cross, and where violence gives way to economic opportunity for all as “swords are beat into ploughshares” (Isaiah 2:4).
Our vocation as Christians is simple. We are to make real social change happen and to be a sign that points to God’s all-inclusive Kingdom where all people have access to education, health, relationships and meaningful work. This will in-turn repair the unjust structures within society.
But let us not forget that real and lasting growth begins at the root. Transformation happens when we (as individuals) work on the sin that is in us and seek to live differently. Transformation happens when we see ourselves as members of the one, reconciled human family and begin working to repair the unjust structures within our own heart.
So let us chose solidarity with Freddy Gray because black lives matter. Let us chose solidarity with our black brothers and sisters because of our past and our potential future. Let us chose solidarity with the people of Baltimore who seek to be a better city tomorrow.
I also stand in solidarity with God and I will show this solidarity by working for the greater good because life–every life–matters, and how we live matters, long before the living is done.

Posted by Weston Matthews

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