Black Lives Matter: Going Deeper

Michelle Higgins’s talk last night was powerful and challenging. For many of us who are on campus and who are familiar with the Black Lives Matter movement, the concepts she shared with us are familiar. Others of us may be feeling challenged in ways that are uncomfortable. She said some hard things. The way she connected BLM with the mission of the global Church may have been new or unexpected.

While you might not agree with everything that the #BLM movement has said or done (movements are messy!), they are asking for something that Scripture points to: human dignity, because people are created in God’s image; the sanctity of all life; and governments which protect all life equally. 

Increasingly, Christian leaders from across the denominational and cultural spectrum, overseas and domestically, see that racial injustice and tensions are significant global issues that God wants the church to engage with.  And none too soon; globally, Christians around the world are confused by how silent the evangelical world has been on this issue. Other cultures wonder whether the gospel is good news when largely Christianized countries like the U.S. and Canada continue to struggle with this issue.

If you want to further explore the issues Michelle raised, we encourage you to check out the following resources from a variety of today’s thought leaders, both Christian and secular.

  • Thabiti Anyabwile’s Pure Church blog at The Gospel Coalition

    A former Muslim, now a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, Thabiti ecently appeared at The Atlantic’s Race + Justice in America Conference alongside Ta-Nehisi Coates to discuss hope in the time of mass incarceration.

  • One New Man: The Cross and Racial Reconciliation in Pauline Theology by Jarvis Williams
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    A timely and powerful account of a father’s past and a son’s future in a society that is frequently hostile to Black citizens. Winner of the National Book Award.

  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

    Bryan is a lawyer, professor of clinical law at New York University School of Law, and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which focuses on social justice and human rights within the criminal justice system. He offers stories from his work and points us toward principles of criminal justice reform in the U.S.

  • Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice by Brenda Salter McNeil

    An author, speaker, and consultant on multiethnicity and racial reconciliation, Brenda says, “It’s time for the followers of Jesus to embark on the prophetic journey that leads to reconciliation and transformation around the world.”

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Comments

Becoming very concerned about Urbana. A political movement is not why people are coming to Urbana. This conversation is not about Jesus but an agenda. So very sad!!!!!

So true - ALL LIVES MATTER - promoting hatred and more violence towards police officers.

The Truth Comes Out... In response to the allegations of Black Lives Matter activists, the Washington Post launched an unprecedented, case-by-case study of police shootings. After a year of research, the data are in, and they confirm the conservative position: The police use force mainly to protect human life, the use of force against unarmed suspects is rare, and the use of force against black Americans is largely proportional to their share of the violent crime rate. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/429094/black-lives-matter-wrong-police-shootings

Totally out of our expectation! Very disappointed with InterVarsity. Are you going to have a night talk about Other Minority Lives Matter? American Natives Lives Matter? Maybe our church should reconsider our support to the local Intervarsity workers!!

if you don't think minority lives matter, then why are you getting yourself involved in mission? What's the point of doing mission work if you don't think everyone's life matter in the first place?

At Urbana 2003 there was a very powerful plenary that dealt with injustices committed against native people groups. Ray Aldridge was the speaker, and the night culminated in a wonderful worship session with native music and dancing. You can't deal with every injustice at every Urbana...but this conference has a strong history of talking about things that most white evangelicals are more comfortable ignoring. And evangelicalism is better for this conference.

Tim, Urbana could talk about social justice for Black or any other minority races as much as it wants. However, the promotion of BLM movement makes people uncomfortable. The following article sums up our concerns: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/24/i-was-a-civil-rights-activist-in-the-1960s-but-its-hard-for-me-to-get-behind-black-lives-matter/#sthash.Hawly7sC.dpuf

An excellent commentary by Barbara Reynolds that should be distributed to all Urbana attendees. There is another side to the BLM movement that all Christians should know about. Michelle Higgins merely presented her sugar-coated version of the BLM.

Hi Christy! I agree and disagree. I definitely think we need to be careful about promoting politics at Urbana. However, I would challenge that Black Lives Matter isn't simply a political movement. Perhaps it has become that in some ways. But I assure you that the essence of it . . . the cry for Black lives . . . is not. Political or not Tamir Rice, Micheal Brown, and a host of others are still dead. To their families this is not political. This is personal. Grace and Peace.

You do realize that three investigations, two of them by Eric Holder's Justice Department, said the Michael Brown shooting was justified (a polite way of saying Brown was a thug that attacked a police officer). In fact, this is one of the things that keeps me from supporting anything BLM - the utter inability of the vocal elements of the movement to discern the difference between Michael Brown and someone like Eric Garner that was clearly killed for no reason.

Despite your feelings of what you believe the BlackLiveMatter movement is, it is about Jesus meeting the people outside of the temple, in the trenches, to the non-Jews even though Jesus was a Jew. Your inability to see that the political movement of the Black lives matter is one, that is inherently that of Christ, is what is sad. As Jesus healed victimizer, Jesus turned over the tables in the temple that failed to see the connections between salvation and the political agenda of all people. Jesus' mission what's for the marginalized and estranged. For the Black and Brown people of our time in America that are persecuted by the police, Jesus life was for both the Black children that I shot by the police and for the police that stand outside a temple and decide who is worthy of life. So whether you stand as a most likely white and privileged woman, the sad part is that you haven't connected your Christian roots to the humanity of Americans that are Black and Brown and are persecuted, trying to live the life that Jesus' sacrifice has promised to them. You have failed to see the Christian movement that saves the lives of Black children and adults. So it's more than just Black lives, it's about spilled blood which matters, the same blood of our Christ, that same blood of innocence, is the same blood of Black's lives which cover our American streets, which will forever be shed but tainted if it is not connected to mission inclusive all lives matter in the sacrifice of Christ. I encourage you to connect the dots in love and in light I wish upon you, my sister.

Yes!! Well said. My thoughts exactly.

I've been present at the whole conference, and I've seen sessions on the authority of Christ, the call to global mission and witness, counting the costs and embracing suffering while saying "yes" to Jesus, approaching Christ with a humble and spiritually curious spirit, the centrality of the Gospel, etc...and I just got back from a 2 hour concert of prayer for the persecuted church. This, along with testimonies from around the globe about the power of the Gospel and diverse worship leading students before the throne of Christ. There was ONE talk on BLM...Regardless of whether you see the movement as aligned with scriptural calls to justice and "loving our neighbors as ourselves", it's incredibly inaccurate to characterize this Urbana as agenda-focused around a political movement. I didn't agree with parts of what the speaker said as well--or all of the perspectives and approaches of the Black Lives Matters movement--but I'd encourage people on this thread to be a little more sober-minded and avoid the all-encompassing, negative rhetoric that tears down what is actually happening in the lives of students here at Urbana.

It does not matter how many talks about BLM occurred! An organization that focuses on expanding the Gospel should not be supporting a movement that is a lie (remember hands up don't shoot? that was the lie that started the whole movement), and calls for the murder of our police officers, and destruction to communities around the nation. Black Lives Matter is a group that is the exact opposite of biblical. If anything, the whole movement needs to hear Jesus's teachings.

You are sadly mistaken if you think human dignity given to all races is not part of the heart of Jesus. There is no separation.

Yes, we did not go to Urbana because of political reasons, however, the reason being that Michelle being part of the Black Lives Matter movement

Would Jesus stand up there and say black lives matter - I think he would say ALL LIVES MATTER- this is the problem - this statement and her comments encite riots and promote hatred towards police officers and white people...we are all children of God - there is evil and good in the world. Why is this being promoted at a Christian Conference?

We feel cheated by sending our children to such a conference. Everything else you try to do in the conference just got devalued and became questionable!

All lives do matter, but the one to get persecuted and shot down in the streets, are the ones that are Black. So when people say Black lives matter it's actually a political and Christian outcry from the Black community (and other minorities and whites) to show that Black lives have been devalued as human, as Christian, as children of God. All lives matter, yes but the ones who were killed day after day, the ones was systematically oppressed by the justice system, are the same ones that are children of God. Think about it, if Jesus didn't walk outside the temple and spread the gospel to the non-Jews, your life as a descendant, most likely as person not of Jewish descent, your life would not matter and Christians would not exist thus, to be on the side of Jesus then, is to be on the side of one who realize that Black lives do matter. You are in fact a child of God just as the Black bodies that lay in the streets so as a Christian your brother and sisters are Black and their livelihood does matter so speak as Jesus spoke up for you.

You do know that the black on white murder rate is 5 times higher than the white on black right? and both are dwarfed by black on black violence. and even this is dwarfed by the millions killed by abortion, so why don't you address the real problems, stop blaming whites for all your problems and berating them for everything, and stop injecting your social justice lies into a spiritual event.

The "All Lives Matter" phrase implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they're not. That's the point. BlackLivesMatter doesn't mean your life, Hispanic lives, Whites lives, Unborn children lives aren't important – it means that Black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important for your liberation. Liberation from control as Michelle said. Changing Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter is a demonstration of how we don't actually understand structural racism in this country. Why is the Evangelical church afraid of activism?; afraid of actually listening to the stories of their black brothers and sisters and mourning the oppression, the disdain, but judgment they receive sometimes on a daily basis. Why are you afraid of the conversation? Please sincerily ask yourself that question. Please ask your black brother or sister how they have experienced oppression and you'll be surprised. Don't say you already have, just do it. If there is a movement in this country that is a means to bring Christ's kingdom into this world, to bring dignity to a people who continue to suffer racism, marginalization, ostracism, disdain, inequality because of the color of their skin, we need to stand beside it. No, it doesn't mean we agree with everything. Jesus stood alongside women with questionable reputations and by doing so he brought dignity to them. This is what we are called to do; to love. And like Michelle said, indifference isn't hate but it isn't love.

It seems that Maria is indicating that if we do not support BLM, we are automatically labeled as supporting White supremacy. All police officers, white or black, lives are at risk from BLM movement. As a matter of the fact, I feel my live is at risk if I ever pass BLM protesters. Jesus cares more about salvation. Social justice comes naturally after salvation. Will you still look for social justice in God's kingdom? As Doc Anthony, who is black, said it well, InterVarsity’s unfortunate choice to endorse the BLM is every bit as wrong and confused, as if it had endorsed the KKK. Is the leadership of I-V totally UNAWARE of how BLM protesters followed police officers at the Minnesota State Fair recently, openly taunting them with slogans like “Pigs In a Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Chicken”? Does I-V really want to be associated with BLM’s kill-the-cops rhetoric? And does InterVarsity really want to be associated with a group that recently boasted (via re-tweeting), “We just shut down America’s biggest mall, a light rail, the highway and an International airport”? Is that how Christians do evangelism these days? This is an extremely bad decision by InterVarsity. Look for problems to arise.

No, I'm not saying that if you don't support BLM you are supportin WhiteSupremacy. However you missing an opportunity to advocate for the the lives of you black brothers and sisters. You know who lives in fear for their life when they get stopped by the police in many places of this country? Your black brother. What is salvation without social justice? The kingdom of God (aka heaven) is a time and place where ultimate social justice will reign. If we can seek that while on this side of heaven, on this side of the cross, we must seek to do so. Not all of will be involved in every single pursuit of social justice the Lord provides us with the opportunity to participate in. Frankly, it's impossible. However, we shouldn't then bring down and be quick to condemn brothers and sisters who are participating in social justice movements that, allthough never perfect, seek to bring justice and dignity to human beings. Christians are called to be light in a dark world, not to be light in the comfort of their churches. If we think BLM is liberal, or wrong, or dangerous, or whatever, well, then seek to redeem it! Be light! Or at least stop condeming those who step out into the choppy waters and seek the Lord's redemption not only in their own private personal lives but on the world God created, loves and seeks to restore!

Yes, let us all do our respective parts in building multi-racial and multi-ethnic churches. Apart from being involved with each other's lives in settings of cultural diversity, we cannot genuinely reflect the true love, beauty, and unity within the Body of Christ.

(1) "you missing an opportunity to advocate for the the lives of you black brothers and sisters." There are a lot of better and peaceful ways to advocate for black people. We believe social justice for all races, including black people. We just do not want to listen to a sugar coated, biased version of BLM. (2) "The kingdom of God (aka heaven) is a time and place where ultimate social justice will reign." You are correct! Spread the gospel first instead of promoting a potentially violent BLM movement. Social justice is, will be, and should be in the heart of those who have true salvation. (3) "we shouldn't then bring down and be quick to condemn brothers and sisters who are participating in social justice movements" It is not a quick reaction to Urbana's poor decision this week only. Please read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/24/i-was-a-civil-rights-activist-in-the-1960s-but-its-hard-for-me-to-get-behind-black-lives-matter/#sthash.B86TlSoc.dpuf (4) "Christians are called to be light in a dark world, not to be light in the comfort of their churches." That's why we go to Urbana to get out of our comfort zone. (5) "If we think BLM is liberal, or wrong, or dangerous, or whatever, well, then seek to redeem it!" That's why we are discussing it here. (6) "stop condemning those who step out into the choppy waters " Do you mean those BLM protesters who taunted Police with slogans like “Pigs In a Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Chicken”?

But the thing is, the two biggest killers of blacks in this country are other blacks and abortions, why don;t you address those problems before blaming whites for everything, white privilege is a lie, a comfortable scapegoat to use to escape facing your problems.

The biggest killer of any race in this country are people of the same race. Roughly 8-9 out of every10 people die at the hands of their own race as well. Errant statistics not withstanding. This social construction is funny in the way it allows for we "followers of Christ" to be so selective. However, I guess I can see how that may be, because almost all Christians don't realize that Jesus did not look like the cops who murder unarmed people of color, or prey on women of color. He would've been from "the hood." Disagree? Google "what good thing comes out of Nazareth" ... Had Christ belonged to those who could not recognize the value of the least of these, I'm sure he would have called his trusted legion and left you here to wallow in your arrogance, but even you were spared, paid for by the blood of GOD. (Triune, remember?) You have the right to feel as though you have no place to speak for the marginalized, but at least have the respect to not call that indirect bigotry, "Christian." It's failing us all. Tremendously.

Perhaps not all lives are equally at risk because not all are equally participating in various forms of crime. Let us all encourage more people to read their Bibles and study in libraries instead, to lower and equalize the rates of risky behaviors.

If we had known 'Black Lives Matter' was the theme of this conference, our church would have boycotted it!! Maybe we should boycott it in the future if it becomes a political conference.... While Christians should make their voices known on political issues as good citizens, they should remember that Jesus's primary concern was not social justice but salvation.

A Feminist to the woman caught in adultery A man not afraid to hang out with tax collectors, sinners, who confronted the BODY POLITIC of his day. I am happy with Michelle Higgins' words and for her bravery. The blood that courses through your veins is red, as is the blood of people of ALL COLORS. Tamir Rice's blood screams from the grave! As do many African-Americans lives cut short on behalf of men with guns. Get Political! Open your hearts, God is separating those who worship in spirit and truth from the goats. His word says: Depart from me, I never knew you, "But Jesus we did so MUCH in YOUR NAME!" Christ incited riots! Consider your OWN agendas!

On the contrary, Jesus told Peter to put down his sword and brought healing to the ear of the Roman soldier after it had been cut off. Jesus incited no riots. Instead, He started a worldwide spiritual revolution through the preaching of the Gospel and the making of disciples. The Great Commission was NOT a political mandate; rather it was a spiritual mandate to make disciples throughout the world. This is not to say that one cannot be involved in the political process as a Christian. On the contrary, Christians are to be engage in the public square of political debate and voice their biblical views on the issues of the day. The danger is avoid the temptations of political power in allowing the politics to compromise message of biblical values.

When Jessica says that Jesus incited riots, I don't think she's meaning that he lead them, rather that riots began in response to His teaching. Luke 4 has the account of Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth, and the people's response to His teaching. " All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way." That sounds like a riot to me. I imagine that Jesus knew that this would be the response He would receive, so it can be argued that He incited a riot by proceeding in a way that would result in these actions by the people.

The plain dictionary definition of the word "incite:"....to stir, encourage, or urge on; stimulate or prompt to action: to incite a crowd to riot. The mere fact that a riot occurred in response to His teaching does not necessarily imply that Jesus had the intent to encourage or urge on a riot. Jesus had the primary focus of preaching the Truth of the Gospel. Being that Jesus is God, it is not hard to argue that He knows all things in the past, present, and future. Still, it is a leap of logic to superimpose such knowledge into a motive to incite a riot of violence. Jesus was the Lamb that was slain at the Cross. He could have easily defended Himself against the violence of the crucifixion by countering violence with further heavenly violence. But He chose not to. The BLM movement can learn much from Jesus.

If rice's blood screams from the grave, how about the white killed y blacks? Black on white violence is 5 times greater than the other way around. You need to stop grafting your politics onto your religion, you cannot serve two masters, Support Christ, not BLM.

Isaiah 61. Do not be side-tracked by the the title. Consider why you think It is such a bad thing. God is very concerned about justice. It was Jesus' mandate being moved be compassion and we are called to carry on. Being Christian and follow God's plan affects all spheres. Don't become so blinded that we start grasping at straws. Romans 14. Read; pray; seek. Sensationalism is not Christianity. But my God is Love.

How about teaching 'Unborn Baby Lives Matter'?

To Be Fair - A conference cannot always address every thing that is close to the heart of God... That being said, Urbana HAS addressed that in some form in the past: https://urbana.org/message/testimony-chai-ling

How does the subject of Black Lives Matter fit with the mission of URBANA and IVCF? And in a plenary session instead of a workshop? The Scriptures seem to speak clearly that ALL LIVES MATTER.

Clearly from the comments, many people are willing to ignore the plight of our society's most vulnerable for a gospel that has no teeth in challenging America's primal sin. That Christians cannot see nor understand how racism and state-sanctioned violence lies at the heart of the problems communities of color face. I would add to the reading list James Cones' "The Cross and the Lynching Tree."

If America's primal sin is racism/slavery, then does the blood of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BROTHERS soaked in the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam not atone? Name me 1 law 1 that gives advantage to whites over blacks.

As long time supporters of InterVarsity (and hosts here in St. L to exhibitors and students for the past 3 conferences) we could not be more disappointed/grieved in what we witnessed on Mon. eve. Granted, large forums are not conducive to teaching doctrine; however, these rallies should be focused on CHRIST and his word. IV and Urbana organizers are responsible for the influence this angry activist ranter may have had on unthinking univ. students who, as she, may be lacking in sound teaching. Personally, our family has a commitment to living in St. Louis city, in a very diverse neighborhood where we have many friendships with people of all races. Some are angry, but most are not. They are grateful for the gift of freedom and the opportunity to rise above all the hateful rhetoric and class envy. To hear Ms. Higgins reference, of all people, Angela Davis as one still waiting with hope -- INCREDIBLE. Yes, we need to love our neighbors - all of them - but my black friends do not consider themselves "projects" who don't have enough sense to take advantage of all that our country has to offer. Disparate school districts ..... for sure! Why? For one, where are the fathers in these neighborhoods ...... we need to speak the truth, right?? Solution for eternal security and peace with God: Redemption provide by Christ's sacrifice. Solution to poverty in the U.S. cities ..... (1.) Graduate from high school (2) Get a job -- and show up so you can keep it (3) Don't make babies before you are committed to someone in marriage. Really not so difficult, Michelle. Less drama perhaps, but instead of ranting against the (white) evangelical church, I think a few words directed at the black church turning a blind eye to a VERY SERIOUS and ONGOING problem would be helpful.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Instead of drawing an "us" circle, she used her opportunity to shock and divide. Her good points (and there were many) could have been made in a such a way to encourage unity rather than pointing more fingers. Jesus never came to start a political social gospel movement. He came to set individual sinners free. I am sorry for all the hurt and mistrust that all people experience in various environments. It's not right, and is not part of our eternal home, but only Christ sets us free. I truly regret that she called out those who stand for the unborn because they may not be called to adopt all the foster children in the system created by non-responsible parenting. Life is messy. God fixes individual messy. All Lives Matter and Jesus calls us one by one, not in a social justice movement.

She used her opportunity to divide rather than create a mutually respectful experience for ALL of God's people. Jesus never came to start a social justice or political movement, but God came to confront and change individual hearts, one by one, to love and worship God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I especially regret that she called out those standing for the unborn because their churches are not ending the foster care system, which is created by irresponsible parenting. Change individual hearts to become individual respecters of God and all men (black, white, police, hispanic, asian, native, etc.) So much better is tonight's Jordanian video where the focus is on God and calling back His glory to our land, to heal our land, to heal individual hearts. All Lives Matter.

In reading the comments, I do have a couple of thoughts in mind. I don't think Black Lives Matter as a movement is perfect by any means (it is an automotive organization), so it can be pretty sloppy. I think IVCF has made a clear distinction that they are talking about BLM not just in terms of the organization, but in the sentiment that black lives matter and are valued and dignified the way that God intends just like any other life of any ethnic group. I'm not really sure how there is implication that black lives matter leads or encourages killing of police or disregard of police (especially in this talk). Michelle in specific never said anything remotely about putting police in harm, or white people in harm. Her one main point is as follows. We should care, because God values life and that it is sad that for black individuals are killed. It is important to grieve.

I am stunned and deeply disappointed in InterVarsity/Urbana. Here's the quote that was repeated in the national media - "Urbana Speaker: 'Black Lives Matter is a Movement on Mission in the Truth of God". Really??! At blacklivesmatter.com, click on What We Believe - which lists their "Guiding Principles". These include sections entitled "Transgender Affirmation" & "Queer Affirmation". Another section, "Black Villages" states "We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable." Whatever on earth does THAT mean?! Movements are "messy" - but this one is completely disconnected from Biblical values. Urbana, in your attempt to be "relevant", you have endorsed heresy.

The obvious follow-up question should be: "Did Michelle condemn the voices of hate within BLM that do target police and white people?" Such voices of hate are ever present, though not necessarily highlighted by the media but are clearly associated with BLM. Does Michelle speak out against the mob-like tactics of shutting down malls and freeways merely to advance a BLM political agenda? Yes, all lives matter! Even mall business owners and commuters on the freeways are loved by Jesus...

It is important to grieve, it is sad when people die, when they are killed, when there could have been a different outcome. All life is has value and should not be ended tragically early. I don't like to hear and see people killed, beaten, abused, treated unfairly, or even rudely. In all this media covered, tragedies that have occurred a common theme is people breaking the law. In every case, the people who died were doing things that they should have known were wrong. That said, is it better to grieve the loss of a person that has committed to their community? Is it more reasonable to say, they signed up for it so they should expect it? Is it better to let people that dedicate their lives, because it is not just a job, to be murdered at breakfast, or lunch, or in the middle of the night, all because of the profession they were called to do? Our world is what we make of it. Sadly we have make a huge mess of it. BLM has consistently pushed the theme of hatred and violence against police. From New York, to Minneapolis, to California, they have inflamed masses of people with false claims, untruths, veiled threats, and dangerous behaviors. I'm very sad to see IVCF embrace this group and will not support it in any way. BLM likes to push the economic message, so will I, I am done as a IVCF financial supporter.

If IVCF just wants to 'value life', why don't they just say so? In replying to Ryan, we do care, and it is sad, for black individuals are killed; however, we also care when white or Asian or any individuals are killed. It is important to grieve when anyone gets killed. As one comment said - While Christians should make their voices known on political issues as good citizens, they should remember that Jesus's primary concern was not social justice but salvation.

When signing up for Urbana, I had no idea that I'd be signing up for a political rally. Although I do agree that Black Lives matter, what really matters is the eternal salvation for all. This is a missions conference, and should not be taken advantage of in order to promote a political position. What's even more disturbing however, are some of the points that Michele Higgins made in front of the 16,000 people who attended the conference. She made disrupting comments about how Black Lives Matter is more important than topics such as abortion, as well as gay controversies. Overall, very disappointed and would not be surprised if Urbana will lose many supporters and attendees in the coming years.

Jesus always stands in solidarity with the marginalized, those that society has neglected and treated as if don't matter. The marginalized aren't perfect of course, Samaritans and tax collectors had issues too, that didn't stop Jesus from socially advocating for them. The danger in opposing the marginalized by deed or indifference, is that we may actually oppose the biblical God himself. (If) BLM and communities like it are actually marginalized among us, and we turn a blind eye, or worse dismiss their plight altogether, in so doing we risk abdicating his mission altogether. "Sociology without theology is powerless; theology without sociology is blind." May we tread with humility and sobriety. ps: Major kudos to Christy, Michelle and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Theology by itself is neutral. Errant theology will lead many astray and into eternal damnation. Biblical theology will lead people to Jesus, the Savior and Lord of the universe.

As an attender to Urbana 4X, it was disappointing to hear this point of view from the Black Lives Matter movement. A few points: 1) On the subject of justice, one scholar comments that be careful what you ask for, you might get it. Apart from the grace of Christ, we are all objects of wrath. There is none righteous (Rom. 3:23). How about Black Lives Need Repentance? Or Japanese Lives Need Repentance? Eternal separation and damnation await those unrepentant. We will stand before a Holy God in judgement. I think that is a more important matter than speeding tickets in your zip code. 2) The Bible teaches us not to "let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold... get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger (Eph.4:26). This Black Lives Movement is built on rage and anger. There is bitterness that is so thick and the heart of rebellion (like the followers of Korah) so strong, that it can't be of the Spirit of Christ. Forcing repentance from "white evangelical" college students? It only reinforces the separation and suspicion between the two groups. 3) I think of God's response to Job (40:8) when there was a question about justice. Who are you? The only response is utter repentance. We should fall on our knees, all of us, and ask for forgiveness to God and God alone. The Gospel is reconciliation in Christ alone. I pray that the rest of Urbana focuses on Christ alone, who is the beginning and the end - the Alpha and the Omega.

Attended Urbana in 90 & 93 and felt called to pray for the 16,000 attendees, speakers. Listened to Livestream December 28 which surprisingly featured Black Lives Matters. I was grieved by the racist and condescending tone of Ms. Michele Higgins and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship leadership's decision to provide a singular platform for an activist group Black Lives Matter to promote their political agenda. It appears that the original mission of the Student Volunteer Movement has been hijacked, derailed and subverted by the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). Do Black Lives Matter? Of course. I fought racism in my family in the 70's. Sure, it exists, but pumping it up again and again makes me think of people who continue to blame the world for their problems like no one else on earth mattered. I am posting this as one of the insulted last night on livestream from the West Coast. Ok, we're listening, but one thing is for certain. You err not knowing the Scriptures. Secondly, our God is a non-respector of persons. He's colorblind already. Don't play God. I've listened to Farakhan back in 1993 at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, listened to his diatribes and well honed anti white rhetoric in Washington, DC recently, and listened to the Black Lives Matter movement leaders. Seriously, what do you believe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would think of the opening talk by Michele? The rhetoric was so divisive and condescending . You tell us to give up our authority. Who are you talking to? You can't say you're like Jesus and live like Herod with your words. You're alienating the Body of Christ. An old African proverb reads, "A peacemaker is a bridge walked on by both sides." It usually goes ill for the peacemakers, but to get a hearing, you're going have to be in alignment with the LORD Jesus' agenda. You think if you can straighten out the "whites" that everything will be alright. Good luck playing God. Do you realize how diverse the Euro-centric world that you referred to is? The Evangelical world? Armenians have experienced Genocide, Irish and English, Europeans were enslaved by the millions by the Barbary Coast pirates from Africa who would steal children out of their beds in Britain, African tribes sold their own people into bondage, six million Jews were murdered in extermination camps in the Holocaust alone, 20 million in Soviet Russian destroyed by communism, millions in China by Mao, millions in Cambodia by Pol Pot. So let me ask you. Are we your enemy? Do we listen to one another? Hope so. If we are followers of the same Shepherd. How many people died in the Civil War over this subject? How many slave owners were black? You know its true. Look, the President is Black, Oprah, the richest woman in the world is black, so? Sounds like the Devil wants to divide the body of Christ. Speak the truth in love. If we have been saved out of the world system, we are part of His amazing Kingdom. Are we preparing to greet Him? To be found doing His work when He comes? Loving one another? Exhorting one another with understanding? In the process why bite and devour one another? Why provoke each other? To sow dissension among brothers and sisters? If Jesus was in the room at Urbana, and there is no reason to believe He was not, "Where two or three are gathered I am there in their midst" ~would you not be ashamed when you railed against the pro life movement? Is there no fear of God before your eyes? Do you not believe that those little undefended lives matter not? That they need our protection as well? Suffer the little children come unto Me for such is the Kingdom of God. Have you given up your God given gift of being a mother to the unprotected womb? How many black lives are snuffed out there before even taking their first breath? The most dangerous place on earth is the womb today. What happened to spiritual, prayerful, intelligent productive discussion? While Michele has a right to voice her opinion's, the IV staff have a duty to allow others to voice their opinion in a rebuttal to her "speech." Where were the IVCF elders last night? Where were they before the speech was given? Should probably listen to those who have seen a few more sunrises and sunsets, those without a Progressive agenda they're were obviously foisting on young minds. When you go to someone's house as a guest, you might want to think about being polite and not insulting the builder of the house. Stop exporting racism? Do you know who you were speaking to in that audience? Many missionaries, yellow, white, black, brown, who have sacrificed it all to go abroad or into the cities of this country. It was insulting. You kept saying sorry, you knew. I hope that you find a sister in the LORD who can mentor you through these waters. If you don't I fear for the street justice you plead for. Careful for what you wish for. The true judgment of God is not pretty. Reconciliation is hard work, thoughtful, prayerful work. I'm reading what you've said, I've listened to what you had to say. I think you're missing the mark. Relisten to Martin Luther King, Junior. Read the Word. Reread Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Especially read Deuteronomy 28, the blessings and the curses. Those who teach will be judged much more severely. Though you speak in the most lofty and exalted language, like an angel, beware of pride which fuels your tongue. That which comes out of your heart can set a city on fire. But love like Him. Speak the truth in love. Listen to your critics. Truth be told, we're all racists. That's why we need a Savior. We've all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None does good, no not even one. We're all hypocrites. And so? Good place to start. We are also created in His image, Saved by His grace to do His will. Keeping it real. Too much at stake.

Thank you for your thoughts and your time! Couldn't agree it more!

As a former IVCF campus exec leader and previous attendee of Urbana, I am deeply disappointed with how this conference has strayed away from its primary mission focus. The Evangelical Church needs to boldly engage with the difficult issues of racism. Multi-ethnic churches help to model the breaking down of racial barriers through the love and power of Christ. There are many such churches that should have been highlighted. Instead, however, it is unfortunate that IVCF has been co-opted by the "Black Lives Matter" movement. There are better frameworks through which to have a discussion on race within the Body of Christ. BLM is not the path by which Christians should strive to emulate after; some of their goals are noble but their methods are not Christ-like. The real question to ask is why does BLM not concern itself with the Black genocide occurring daily while Black unborn babies are targeted for death via abortions? BLM appears to be more concerned with political power when it allows Sharpton and Jackson to become their primary representatives. IVCF has damaged its credibility by allowing its missions platform to be hijacked by a political movement.

Race based discrimination is one of the greatest collective and historical sins of our nation. While (many of) our laws have changed we continue to live with the consequences of slavery and segragation. Crime, poverty, mass incarceration, sub-standard public services, and injustice effect black communities and black churches in the United States much more deeply than they effect most white communities and churches. We as white evangelicals have been less than helpful on these issues. Most of us have been silent. Some churches have even provided shelter and support to those who would perpetuate these injustices. We, as white evangelicals, need to repent of our apathy and begin loving our brother as the gospel compels us to. But repenyance requires the admission of wrongdoing, and I fear that many of my white brothers and sisters are not ready to admit their complicity in protecting and constructing systems that continue to oppress their brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks Urbana, for having the courage (once again) to make us uncomfortable and call us to repentance. Your legacy of ministry is appreciated deeply.

Repentance is greatly needed; however, it does not occur in a vacuum. After repentance, then what? It has been said, that the greatest division in the Body of Christ occurs at the eleven o'clock hour on Sunday morning. Hence, the greatest move towards racial reconciliation is to build local, regional, and national movements of multi-ethnic and multi-racial churches where love is truly color-blind! Transition from all-white, all-black, all-Hispanic, and all-Asian churches to all multi-blended churches. That would shout to the world that Jesus is the God of love and uniter of all peoples!

I need to share how I was impacted by Michelle’s talk on Monday night at Urbana. First, I am not offended in the least when a brother or sister who loves me points out that I have elements of racism, bias or prejudice evident in my life. I know there are blind-spots and idols in my life; help me repent. And second, I very much yearn for the integration of spirituality and politic in my life so I can stop this insane notion that these can be fragmented and kept separate. That’s part of the problem in our country. None-the-less, Monday night’s talk has left me feeling alienated from the conversation for the following reasons: 1. I felt I have been leaning in to the issues of race in my experience, in my church and my community. But since I unable to address Michelle’s concerns using her framework, her language, and her intensity then I am prescriptively “indifferent” by her definition. And it was clearly said that indifference is the enemy of restorative justice. 2. I’m not sure the way to address this problem is build ourselves up with ennoblement, hubris and ego-building chants. My reading tells me a key to letting Christ shine through my life is to “empty myself of myself”. Is it wise to pick a remedy that we will need to repent of at a later date? 3. Jesus knows the faults of His bride; but He wants to marry her anyway. Call me a racist, that’s fine, but to slur His bride by saying she plays the whore with racism has just divided the family. Do you really want to go there? I am open to trying again in this conversation. It’s a big world and our experiences are so vastly different. Please trust I’m not looking to be comfortable, but I am looking to be included. Might it be possible to address the racism in our midst in the tone of James 3:18 which says,” And the  seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Don't call me a racist because I don't apologize for what other people with my skin color did generations ago. Putting their sins on my shoulders because we share the same skin color is racist. Let's talk about how people treat each other today. That is something we can change and influence. If I treat someone badly, call me on it. There is a Christian way to do this, and Michelle Higgins' speech was not it. Don't blame the church for not doing more, while not putting the proper blame on the government for establishing and protecting slavery and violence. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

Catching up on reading the St. Louis Post Dispatch. On Mon. Dec. 28, the same day of Ms. Higgin's rant, SLPD published the Washington Post piece: 965 Fatal Police Shootings (for 2015.) Check it out ...... very informative data and racial breakdown: 50% killed were WHITE, 26 % black, 17 % hispanic, 8% other. http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/for-police-a-year-of-reckoning-offcers-fatally-shoot-nearly/article_ae7e06ad-3604-568a-8470-449ce65c17dc.html

Let's do some math based what you've written. Numbers from the census bureau: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html Of Fatal Police Shootings 50% killed were white, but they make up 77% of the population. That's 27% lower than the population percentage. 26% killed were black, but they make up only 13% of the population. 13% higher than the population percentage. A quote from the article you linked to: "Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men fatally shot by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic." 3 in 5 killed after LESS THREATENING BEHAVIOR WERE BLACK OR HISPANIC. Very informative data and racial breakdown.

Where are the black fathers who so deeply care about their families if black lives really mattered? ----- According to the most recent government figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “72 percent of black mothers are unwed which eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans.” To be sure, these statistics do not imply that babies born to unwed mothers will be unsuccessful or devoid of opportunities. However, the data does bespeak of the need for more fathers in the home who are involved in their child’s life. ----http://www.blackloveandmarriage.com/2011/02/the-atlanta-post-on-8-important-statistics-black-america-should-pay-attention-to/

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