Dear CCDA Family,
There are moments when it is difficult to know what to say as leaders. Many of us find ourselves in such a moment as we try to comprehend what is ever-present before us. This week, we watched as Minneapolis resident George Floyd desperately pleaded for his life, while an officer mercilessly knelt upon his neck using the full weight of his body to constrict circulation. This inhumane act ultimately resulted in Floyd’s death. “I can’t breathe,” was Floyd’s repeated, ignored, final refrain. Many were too traumatized to watch the horrifying video, as it felt like a replaying of the tragic nightmare from 2015, when the nation witnessed the killing of Eric Garner as an officer utilizing an illegal chokehold, refused to release Garner despite his desperate pleas. “I can’t breathe.” As a people of God, we hoped and prayed that we would never have to witness this barbaric scene again; the scene of an unarmed black man having his breath and life terminated while surrounded by armed officers. Yet, here we are again. “I can’t breathe.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 suggests, “For we live by faith, and not by sight.” If we are honest, we might confess that in a season like this, this proclamation is difficult. When oppression, injustice and systemic sin abound, it is tempting to believe that death has the last word, and that God is either indifferent, unable or unwilling to end suffering. Weeks like this make us question if our labor is in vain, if our ministries are futile and if any of it even matters. These questions arise from our lamentation, because we’ve been here before. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. None of this is new!
Yet, the historic legacy of CCDA is that we do not shy away from critical moments. In the wake of such tragedies, amidst pulsating pain and seemingly unbearable grief, CCDA practitioners act, moving beyond our walls—praying with our feet—coming together in nonviolent protest, prayer vigils and town hall meetings. We advocate for judicial accountability, systemic reform and institutional change. We declare that new discipleship paradigms are needed to address racism and reframe it as a matter of discipleship, rather than a mere social issue. In the wake of such tragedies, CCDA practitioners and justice seekers purpose that we can no longer sidestep difficult conversations about police brutality/misconduct, racial supremacy and systemic sin.
As Christians, we remember that we are a people of shared hope. We know and follow a God who is in the process of restoring all things. We have a message of hope that eclipses despair, dissonance, fatalism and ultimately causes us to remember who we are and whose we are. We know this hope because of the gift and revelation of the Holy Spirit. This hope gives us patience. This hope gives us confidence. This hope fuels our perseverance. This hope ensures us that God has not abandoned us. It reminds us that we must interpret the present in light of the promised future. It reminds us of God’s history of faithfulness amidst oppression, tyranny and injustice. It is this Spirit-inspired hope which empowers and enables those of us living under the weight of oppression and injustice to affirm both our humanity and dignity in the face of systems and structures which seek to strip us of them daily. It provides substance for our sojourn and undergirds our pursuit of the Kingdom.
We, the leaders of CCDA, categorically reject the hatred and fear that has led to the senseless taking of George Floyd’s life … and the life before that … and the one before that …. While it is difficult in such circumstances to know exactly what to say, we acknowledge that to say nothing will also say something. This senseless loss of life and the injustice recent events highlight cannot be ignored or explained away. And, we are called once again to steward this moment, as agents of the Kingdom in our broken world.
The CCDA Board of Directors, Staff & Leadership