Oregon pastor offers superb advice on race relations

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By Steve Miller,

This video was highly recommended which features Pastor Keith Jenkins of East Hill Church in Gresham Oregon.   The entire video is 35 minutes long and I encourage everyone to watch the whole thing.  Understanding that most people are short attention span thinkers I transcribed the ending recommendations for an easy read and as a teaser to get people to watch the whole video.  Please enjoy.

[Pastor Keith Jenkins, May 31, 2020, excerpt] So many of my friends have been asking, (my wife for instance) “What should we do?”

Can I just give you a word of caution. Don’t expect the Black community, in the midst of mourning, to want to be your teachers. Some may, but many are processing their own grief and anger. So what you might want to do is take up a lament with them. Pray and mourn with them. Reach out to any of your friends that are of the African American community, and express your solidarity, your love, your commitment, your affirmation, and let them know that you see them. Because sometimes the Black community feels like they have not been seen. Let me make it more personal.

Sometimes, in Oregon, I feel like I haven’t been seen.

Take the initiative to educate yourself. Arm yourself with by learning true American history. Lots has been omitted. For that matter, learn the history of Portland as it relates to community of color, so that you don’t injure those you hope to serve along aside of.

Ask questions and don’t make statements. Don’t posts those folks from media about things that you really don’t know about or that you haven’t had proximity to. Some of us have lived in different communities. If you lived in Gresham in the East county, you have a journey that is completely different than people that have lived in Northeast Portland, or in Baltimore, Chicago, or New York. We have a different narrative. Sometimes if feels like our narrative is not accepted. No one wants to hear it. We disregard it. So no matter how difficult it is at times, and it will be uncomfortable, just listen and hear the stories. In that moment when you are hearing somebody else’s story, don’t bring your story about how you got hurt and how one time… don’t do that. Just listen and be present with that person.

I was told by a very wise woman that listening is an act of love. (That’s my wife, Coco, who taught me that) you demonstrate love when you listen.

So communities of color – you ask why they are burning their communities right now. Why are they rioting. Some people are rioting for different ideologies. I look at young, Black men and women that are in in our country rioting. Marten Luther King covered that in the ‘60’s. It’s amazing that we’re still asking why they’re still rioting. He covered it when he said, “Rioting is the language of the Un-heard”. After while what do you do with all the pain, the tears. Your cries have been ignored. And then what do you do? It is not an excuse, but I do get where they are coming from.

Show love and compassion and empathy for every human being created in God’s image. It is essential.

For those of you who maybe want to take a journey and educate yourself, I’ll make some resources available. They’ll be a list on my website this week and I’ll put some on my Facebook page, as well.

In moments like these, the most powerful weapon we have at our disposal, is prayer. Pray fervently for our city, our country, our leaders, and the church to be the church. I would love for all of us to gather again. I would love for this to have been a Sunday we were all together.

Here’s one of the things that’s a challenge for me. There were people across the country who have challenged me to lead protests and get the church back open. Saying they are infringing on our rights to gather. Those same voices have been so vehemently, aggressively wanting to get back to church but have been conspicuously silent as it relates to justice and equality for other nations. Now, I want to get to church. I feel as though we will eventually. And as yet as a Black man I wander when I hear one but not the other. Or when we espouse racial equality but not equality for our ladies in the workplace. And so for me, I agree with Marten Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. So I don’t just want to just see justice, I want to see humanity blessed, and covered , and prospered. Everyone of them.

So let’s pray for fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God in your home, in your life. So that you might be a witness to the Kingdom of God. So that you might be a Kingdom representative. A fully empowered one. Yes, you are going to make mistakes, yes, you are going to trip up, you are going to fall on your face, you are going to say the wrong things. Then all you do is just be humble enough to say, “please forgive me. Is there a better way I could have said it that would have been less offensive?” But you can’t remain silent. So let’s pray for justice and equality for every American. Let’s pray that the Lord heals the wounds of our country. To bring an end to racism…

— There’s more to Pastor Jenkins message. Watch the whole video below.