Prominent black pastor Aubrey Shines sheds light on the difficult questions raised by the racial protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, proposing a Christian response to the agenda and claims of Black Lives Matter.
Watch Bishop Aubrey Shines on The Hugh Hewitt Show discuss Eight Questions About Race.
About The Book
People of faith have been in the vanguard of civil rights for 150 years, and like all Americans of good will, they wish to be on the right side of the divisive issue of racial justice. Yet many have qualms and questions about the goals and methods espoused by Black Lives Matter, which claims to speak for all Americans of color.
Is America really a racist society? Have we truly failed our African-American friends and neighbors on issues of equality and fairness? What is Black Lives Matter? Who are its leaders? What do they want? Does BLM really represent the interests of black Americans? Above all, what is the appropriate Christian response to the raging debate about race and justice in America?
These and other questions are addressed with clarity, sensitivity, deep knowledge of the subject, and a strong foundation in biblical faith by Bishop Aubrey Shines. This brief but informative book offers a guide and handy reference for pastors and congregants alike on how to think and talk about these profoundly challenging questions from a Christian perspective.
A Black Pastor Responds to Black Lives Matter
Are All White People Racist?
Is the Justice System Unfair to Black People?
What Has America Done to Address Racial Inequality?
Why Are Many Blacks Still Struggling?
Who Is Black Lives Matter?
Why Don't I Hear Any of This in the Media?
Is There a Christian Response to BLM?
Does it Matter What Color Jesus Is?
A personal reflection
There’s a certain Gospel story I return to over and over when thinking about the state of our country today. You might remember it from a sermon you heard at your own church.
Jesus is presented with a paralyzed man by his friends who lower him on a mat through the roof of the house where Christ is teaching. Impressed by the faith of his friends who sought out the healing power of this revolutionary rabbi, Jesus forgives the paralyzed man’s sins. A voice of objection rises up from the crowd: “Only God alone can forgive sins!” The Gospels tell us Jesus responded, “Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk’? At the sound of Christ’s voice, the man who had been an invalid for decades stands up and walks home.
Why is this lesson from Jesus’ ministry relevant not only to Christians but all Americans at this moment in our history? It is a story of both faith and action. Racial tensions threaten once again to tear our country apart. Like the paralytic and his friends, we can choose to have faith and take actions that lead to redemption or remain paralyzed on the floor.
God’s mercy awaits us; indeed, like His love, it is infinite. The Christian response to our complicated, painful, and sinful history of US race relations is to open ourselves to receiving God’s grace, then acting out our faith in the hopes of creating “a more perfect union” and bringing His kingdom on earth closer to what He envisioned for us.
However, there are elements in 2020 America that want to focus on the sin of racism while denying redemption to its perpetrators. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is one such element currently commanding the attention of large segments of the public — especially our young people, the media, and celebrities. The failure of many BLM leaders and supporters, and many others however well meaning, to open their hearts to Christ’s call to forgive and live through demonstrable acts of faith and kindness would leave the paralyzed man on his mat rather than giving him the power to take it up and walk. Which path will we choose?
This is a conversation Christians, and indeed all Americans, need to have before it is too late. As an Evangelical minister, I believe a society becomes sick when it turns away from God and His biblical truth. We are seeing some of the results of this denial today, with violence and rioting overtaking the rule of law and “cancel culture” replacing free speech with a culture of fear.
There are efforts to separate us from God and the values that have been the cornerstone of true freedom and equality for centuries.
My work has given me a first-hand look at all aspects of the human condition. I’ve walked the cell blocks of prisons and ministered on the streets of Chicago. I’ve dedicated myself to the study and application of Christian teaching to not only serve communities but pastor my own congregation at Glory to Glory (G2G) Ministries.
My late father faced institutionalized racism in the Jim Crow Deep South of the 1920s and worked hard enough to move to Chicago where he could build a better life for his family, including starting his own business. He never regarded race as insurmountable and never complained when others did. He simply did his best, believed in God, and trusted in the essential decency of his fellow Americans. He carried the lessons of Micah 6:8 within him and radiated it to others: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
We must relearn Dr. King’s sermon on the primacy of “content of character” over the color of skin and ensure all black lives do matter using the very best of ourselves and our traditions. We must call forth a restoration of values instead of revolution in society.
I’ve concluded that people generally want to do good, but may reach the wrong conclusions without Christ’s grace to undergird their thinking. This is where we find ourselves with race relations in modern, increasingly secular America.
My response to this crisis was to establish Conservative Clergy of Color (CCC) along with Reverend Derek McCoy, Pastor Francisco Vega, and Reverend M.J. Reid. I co-founded CCC for three reasons. First, to ensure people understand not only how we went wrong on race in America but also what we got right. Second, to remind black America and all Americans we still have a choice to reject the politics of racial division that have cut against the interest we have in living in a society where everyone can succeed. Third, to help recommit us to the biblical principles that can counteract a misguided, secular agenda that often hurts people, damages the family structure, and undermines national unity.
At the time of this writing, a majority of Americans say they support Black Lives Matter. Sixty-nine percent say blacks and other minorities face unequal treatment in the criminal justice system, the highest percentage in more than three decades. You might agree with these statements. Clearly, there remain significant economic and social challenges for blacks in this country that must be addressed.
What matters for us as Christians is not just describing injustice but how we respond to it. Christianity teaches us that good and evil share space in every human heart. It’s our obligation as Christians to heal this divide by first healing ourselves. Faith is a choice. Work is a choice. And sometimes it requires many years till the truth of justice arrives.
The United States is approaching one of the worst crises in its history. Because of our historically Christ-centered culture, Black America can and must help pull the nation back from the brink of being torn asunder.
Every day I get questions from pastors, congregants, and many others from across the country who understand that we are at an inflection point. They want to make the right choices, but with all the labels, media spin, and professional activism swirling around them, there is naturally confusion.
Labels like “systemic racism” that do not accurately portray the black experience in America, and newer ones such as “white privilege” or “white fragility,” divide people into groups rather than illuminate racial disparities. They deepen grievances based on skin color and create more uncertainty or even anger.
This book is based on discussions I’ve had during this pivotal time. It is divided into eight questions about the state of race relations today and what I believe is the appropriate Christian response to ensure we come through this period having addressed chronic problems facing communities of color for decades.
It is my hope that this direct, honest discussion of these issues — one that you often won’t get from the media or political establishment — framed through the teachings of Christ, will empower Americans of all backgrounds to choose to engage during this tumultuous time in a way that is truly focused on improving lives.
“It is my hope that this direct, honest discussion of these issues — one that you often won’t get from the media or political establishment — framed through the teachings of Christ, will empower Americans of all backgrounds to choose to engage during this tumultuous time in a way that is truly focused on improving lives.”
~ Aubrey Shines
About the author.
Bishop Aubrey Shines, a Chicago native, began ministering in the Cook County Correctional System in Chicago, IL as an evangelical minister licensed by the reformation of the Church of God in Christ. He has earned a degree in Computer Science, a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, and a Master’s Degree in Divinity.
In 1987, God moved greatly upon Pastor Shines’ heart and he became founder of G2G Ministries, Inc. The ministry has since transcended denominational, cultural, and ethnic boundaries.
Pastor Shines had a zeal for God’s people to know Him in a greater and more personal way, rather than solely through human emotions.
In May 2002, he began teaching a basic theology course to train leaders in the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida area. The curriculum focused on the Patristic Period and the impact that the First through Fifth Century Fathers of the Church had on our global society. As a result of the consistent weekly Bible teachings, the attendance to these classes grew steadily in number during the first year. Saturating his desire with prayer, God began to clearly speak to him and it became apparent that God was leading him to shepherd this newly assembled flock of believers as their Senior Pastor.