May God have mercy on our souls when we cannot see the injustices in the world; when we choose to be blind to those problems in our society that do not just happen in our country but on our very own campus.
Now you may think, “Ben, you are ridiculous! Inequality happening on our campus? Nah.” But it is real. That is why I personally enjoyed Marque Jensen entering chapel yelling, “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!” Because peace cannot exist when problems are treated with indifference.
This is negative peace, and it is allowing a problem to continue by not talking about it or even acknowledging that it does not exist. I think negative peace also continues when we take a stance of defensiveness that “allows” us to say we are not part of the problem.
That is why I found it so interesting that a specific comment made during the Racial Reconciliation Ngage discussion received a round of applause. For those of you who were not at the session, this comment referred to grace needing to be given to those in the role of oppressor from those being oppressed. This comment was made in response to an international student who asked what people thought about racial inequality happening on campus.
That round of applause deeply disturbed me. I think John Perkins, the father of the Christian Community Development movement, says it best: “We all have been damaged by this system. We all need to work towards fixing it.
“Yes, grace is needed, but that comes after we admit that we are part of the problem simply because we are part of this damaged system. We must admit that first. Then we can talk about grace, but I will be darned if we bring up grace before that. These are our friends, our family, sisters, brothers, people we are in relationship with. We have to care. We have to care.”