Updated: Apr 27, 2020
Are you seeking assistance to get on your feet? Are you a neighbor working alongside others who are struggling to access resources? Here are a few places to begin in Charlotte, NC. There's often a bigger picture. Are we focused on long-term [mutual] transformation or only temporary relief? Are we working to build local capacity, affirm dignity, transform systems, and work for the empowerment of disinherited neighborhoods over time? How am I changing in the process? Why are things the way they are? Are we affirming one another's gifts and talents? Are we asking the right questions? Two quick thoughts here: Re-thinking Relief: I'm concerned that we (big C church - especially the white evangelical church) still have so much work ahead of us when it comes to relief and how relief and development overlap. Antiquated thinking and colonizing power structures still hold the cards when it comes to how we do relief. The role of the living church is so crucial and we urgently need to create space to learn from those who practice action-in-reflection. I'm concerned that church networks are inclined first to inquire with city leaders over listening first to voices on the margins. We definitely need bridges between both worlds, and yet the most vulnerable are often left for last and distressed communities often carry the weight of crises. I'm concerned that we're too busy setting up our relief sites without much thought related to what's going to be most empowering and dignified long-term.
Whole Gospel: Now is a season of checking our theology while actively being engaged on the ground. It seems that the white evangelical church is in a crisis of discipleship, and I'm convinced that our beliefs drive behavior and our behavior is linked to our collective outcomes. I thank God for groups such as the Asian American Christian Collaborative, as well as others who are calling for a holistic approach to life and relationships to meet the needs of a whole person and whole community. During times of crises and a pandemic such as COVID-19, we need to continue to sound the call for restorative relationships, health, wholeness, future economies, and justice as COVID-19 exposes the cracks of injustice that existed long before the pandemic began.