“Repair and Reparations”
Today, I got an email from one of the departments of the Presbyterian Missions asking me to fill out a survey. I usually ignore these because they typically do not ask me anything important. However, this one was different.
It reminded me that the 225th Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly approved overture RGJ-10 (Resolution on Race, Reparative Justice, and the PCUSA—From the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy), and they wanted to hear from people about their understanding and views on Repair and Reparations. They said, “This survey is to gauge the reparatory work being discussed and/or pursued by congregations and mid-councils and draw distinctions between repair and Reparations as these terms apply to the situation of Indigenous nations and Afro-American people.” The link to the survey is surveys.pcusa.org/s3/Reparations-and-Reparative-Justice.
I encourage you to take the time to fill out the survey. It was one of the most prevailing issues of our time when the “Governor Idiot” of Florida wanted to write into the textbooks that African Americans benefitted from slavery. It is important when more than 25 colleges, using the term “Christian” while violating every truth in the Holy Bible, asked for exemptions from the Department of Education so they could openly discriminate against LGBT students, faculty, and staff members. Baylor in Waco, Texas, made news when claiming that their Baptist tradition gives them the freedom to do as they wish, including disobeying the Bible.
To me, the beneficiary of reparations is not the Afro-American community or the Indigenous nations but it is the white community and Christian churches. It is about saving the souls of those who have done wrong, as the Scripture reminds us that redemption requires undoing the past wrong. In Matthew chapter 5, as a part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says,
23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
The Euro-American community and Christian denominations, including PCUSA and UMC, to the Afro-American and Indigenous nations owe a great debt. The wrongs that were done for more than 400 years must be paid, or the debt will only grow larger, and future generations will have to pay more.
As Jesus teaches, God hears the cries of the oppressed and ignores the worship of those who owe a debt. For the Euro-American church to pretend that it worships God with empty and meaningless words of their personal salvation while they ignore the debt they owe it only heaps coals of judgment on them and their posterity. There is no salvation for the white community without Repair and Reparation.
We need a new theology that takes the Bible seriously and reflects the truth taught by Jesus.