Sandra Bland and the Call to Move

By all accounts, my GA15 experience should have me floating on cloud 9.

And still…

Adam Hamilton​ is in the house tonight; we just passed resolutions affirming that Black Lives Matter, about the terror of the Charleston shooting and finally one against gun violence tonight; I’m surrounded by all these amazing people who have shaped and continue to shape my faith, and still…

Still I’ve got this vague feeling, like when you know something is not right and you can’t remember what it is and it haunts you and you cannot make yourself comfortable or restful or happy.

I realized… I’m thinking about Sandra Bland.

I’m haunted by her abuse and the incredibly dark questions that have yet to be answered about her death.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)’s identity is to be a “movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.” It’s a wonderful identity that is very difficult to live into. It’s hard to move a body that is so big and so diverse.

At several points during our business meetings this week, good Disciples objected to resolutions because they would be “divisive” or “exclusionary.” But we cannot truly be Disciples while also being paralyzed by consensus. The world is broken, so utterly broken, and wholeness will not come until we move.

That means some will not be able to keep up or perhaps we will just have to leave some behind. We don’t do this lightly. We will spend all the energy and time that we can afford to bring everyone along. But our budget to do so isn’t without limit.

Because if we spend our energy carrying able-bodied folks, Sandra Bland will die again.

We follow a shepherd who had no problem leaving the 99 to find the one. So, yes, sometimes you have to leave people behind. It is a double standard. Absolutely. There is preference for those who are in danger. So for all of us who live in safety and privilege and abundance and security, the message is: “Tough, get over it. There are much more important things than your feelings.”

There are even things more important that unblemished unity. And that is a very, very difficult pill for Disciples to swallow.

So we have to move. We have to move to less familiar and extremely uncomfortable new territories. We have to make agonizing decisions about how fast to go at the risk of leaving some of the 99 behind. We have to trust that the shepherd, in the end, will gather them all up again as we tell them goodbye.

We have to. Because Sandra Bland is dying. We have to move.


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