Brothers and Sisters, the time for justice and truth to break loose in our society has always been right now. We cannot afford to merely remember the courageous actions and words of our heroes of the past like Martin Luther King Jr. and Ida B. Wells, we must embody the spirit of that struggle of love and hope, but for our time and in solidarity with this new emerging movement of justice that is clashing with the death-dealing powers that keep crushing the most vulnerable. We are called to speak up for those that have no one to champion them. The truth right now is that Black people are being killed on the street without consequence. The rise of executions of unarmed black people, and the equally alarming silence of the Church that claims to worship the Unarmed and Executed One, is a sign that we have lost sight of our calling to stand in solidarity with the victims of state dominance.
However, it is never too late to repent from our alignment and complicity with the very evil forces of worldly power & state violence that crucified Jesus, and we can now instead participate in the life-giving, mercy-filled, and justice practicing, way of Jesus. And for those that are in the DC area, you are in luck, because my friend Ched Myers pointed me towards an important protest that is happening on Wednesday, 11/12/14 in your area! Here’s your opportunity to walk humbly with God along with masses of people who are willing to speak truthfully to our society about who we have become, and how we can actually begin to be a just and righteous people. Check it out:
“We can’t all be in Ferguson but we can be in DC!”
“When future generations of Black children ask, ‘where were Black people during state sanctioned murders and why did it take root, what will you say?’ When future generations of White progressive youth ask White progressives, ‘where were you when they moved on Black people… why did you let it take root?’ What will White progressives say? When future generations of Latino children ask, ’where were you when they moved on our community and the Black community?’ What will Latinos say? When future generations of lesbian and gay children ask, ‘where were you when the police murdered members of our community, most of whom were Black?’ What will you say? These are the questions of today. Where are you standing? Did you ignore the issues because the largest numbers of state sanctioned murders are of Black people?”
“As state sanctioned murders reach an unprecedented high and creep up in all communities throughout the nation, where will you say you stood in the face of this militarized state killing machine? Stand is an action verb. As for me and the SpiritHouse Project, history will show a clear and dedicated commitment to breaking the silence on modern day lynching. Our history shows, that even in the face of insurmountable odds as a small organization, we stand on the right side of history when we convene a national memorial service on Nov. 12, 2014 at Freedom Plaza at 12:30pm in Washington, DC for the 1000 Black people murdered by police since 2007.”
“1000 murdered victims by the police make it clear that this is not relegated to sporadic crimes against a few individuals. Rather, when we call the names of the 1000 Black dead, it is clear that state sanctioned murders go beyond sporadic murders of individual Black people. State sanctioned murders target and profile entire communities.”
“We are clearly in the grips of an American epidemic predicated on racism and state violence. Unless we halt the spread of this epidemic, history will write that good people remained silent and failed to act. Nov. 12th is an opportunity to act. We cannot all be in Ferguson, but we can be in DC!”
For more details of the protest please click here. Let’s stand in solidarity with those that have been murdered and collectively say “No more”!
Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD
Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well.
Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance.
His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign.
Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today.
His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action.
Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo.
Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.
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