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Austin Channing Brown on Reconciliation and Justice

Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown: A Voice We Need to Hear

It is the Jewish New Year, and I’m going to use this as a good reason to restart my blog. Yes, it has been a while. Life has gotten busy, of course, and a move closer to Messiah College’s campus, where I teach statistics, didn’t help. Still, it is time to begin to use this venue again to use my voice, and point to voices I think we all should be listening to.
Today’s post falls into this latter category. I’ve been tracking the various cases of African-American men shot, and often killed, by police officers with no discernible need. This is heartbreaking. To see the reaction has been troubling as well. There seems to be no hope or promise of remorse and apology, let alone truth and justice prevailing. I’ve been at a loss for words about what to say, and how to explain this to my children, two of whom have already been confronted with the reality that their skin color will lead to them being devalued and treated differently because their skin is a beautiful shade of light brown. Still, I’ve felt like I must say something. Thankfully, as I was processing the latest video of John Crawford being shot inside a Walmart while carrying an air rifle/BB gun in an “Open Carry” state, I came across a post by Austin Channing Brown. Channing Brown’s voice is one I’ve come to respect and I make sure I read whatever she writes. (You might want to subscribe via email, like I do.)

Channing Brown’s post speaks to our rush to reach reconciliation without making sure true justice is done. Here is a taste:

Heres what many think reconciliation looks like:

1. Having friends of color
2. Having diverse congregations
3. Serving in justice ministries
4. Hiring a person of color

I know this is going to be a little disheartening, so I am just going to say it. None of these things fall under the umbrella of reconciliation without one very large precondition: Justice.

Wow. I know I’ve been guilty of rushing to these. I’ve pushed friends and pastors to be looking for 2. and 4. recently. But I’ve never really mentioned Justice. Ouch. I cannot hope to express as eloquently and bluntly as Channing Brown does the implications of this jump over justice, so I will just beg you to go read her post. We, especially those of us who are white, must listen and learn from this wise woman.

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