Violence in Charlottesville: Our Response

It is difficult to know how to respond to the events in Charlottesville, VA. Something so simultaneously demonic, repulsive, and violent must require more than a statement—and indeed it does. But it also requires no less than a forceful repudiation from all faithful followers of Christ, and so Y.E.C.A. is compelled to condemn the events of August 11 as powerfully as possible.

White supremacy and blatant racism—ever present in American society and made powerfully manifest in the terrorism carried out in Charlottesville over the weekend—are diametrically opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are death-dealing powers that traffic in violence, oppression, idolatry, and blasphemy. They are an affront to the Triune God who created the world in an explosion of dizzying diversity and who himself exists as unity-in-diversity.

The story of the gospel—the story that frames Y.E.C.A.’s work in the world—is the story of a rebellious creation meant to be unified in its diversity, and a God who loves it far too much to leave it to its own devices. Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate answer to our own proclivity toward division and death-dealing relationships.

The reconciling work of Christ is all-encompassing. In order to accomplish our mission of mobilizing our generation of young evangelicals to overcome the climate crisis, we must recognize that the universal work of reconciliation cannot be partitioned. The fight for climate justice and for racial justice are the same. The work of exposing the death-dealing ideologies of both anthropocentric greed and of white supremacy is radically united. As we have stated in our Statement of Commitment to Diversity:

The ministry of reconciliation is holistic and undivided; we must seek to restore and reconcile all relationships, including relationships among God’s diverse people. We are called to confess the sin of division everywhere, to lament oppression and violence everywhere, and to seek healing and restored relationship everywhere. In doing this, we participate in the work of Christ, who has broken down the dividing wall (Eph. 2:14).

This requires pro-active engagement that goes beyond a passive desire for change, for we recognize that the powers and principalities of this world collude to create structures and systems designed to keep us separate and unequal (Eph. 6:12).

Y.E.C.A. is committed to a pro-active pursuit of the holistic vision of reconciliation given to us in Colossians 1, where Christ reconciles all things back to himself by the peace-making power of his blood shed on the cross. Our Savior died to undo the systems of evil on display in Charlottesville, VA and on display in the ongoing suffering of vulnerable and marginalized communities as a result of a changing climate. Y.E.C.A. stands with all faithful Christians in our repudiation of these evils and in our commitment to join our Savior in the work of making his reconciling love known in all the world.

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