I have seen some incredulous reactions over the last week regarding Charlottesville, Virginia. People are shocked at the fact that 50 years since the civil rights movement there are still white supremacists and Nazis. This doesn’t surprise me at all.
You see, 50 years ago there was legislated and structural racism. There were laws in place and public policies established that segregated and limited the rights of black people. These laws and policies were largely removed 50 years ago.
What we are seeing now is the limits of legislated measures. You can’t legislate the heart and when people still harbor hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and condescension in their heart things like Charlottesville can occur. The problem is, those that want to fight against racism have very little to work with because this issue is a heart issue and not an institutional issue. Reducing this whole problem to the simple removal of controversial symbols and statues may help but it still does nothing about the heart.
Part of the problem with the secularization of society is that the heart is barely acknowledged. Character is old-fashioned and considered naive and child’s play. These things are pushed to the side so we can tear down some statues and blast someone on social media. No one, not the KKK, not the Nazis, not the Antifa, not the Religious Right wants to deal with matters of the heart. Why? Because this is too hard. It is easier to join a mass bombardment of tweets than take the time, the silence, the prayer, and the work to change the heart. Also, one would have to acknowledge our own limitations and our own lack of imagination and compassion to develop a society or community that govern effectively. Dallas Willard says that, “there are no human solutions to human problems.”
So rally if you must, post something on Facebook if you need to, try to legislate something good for all but until we acknowledge our need for God and begin to rely on the leading of his Son to transform our heart and create in us a version of himself, we will be looking at the same problems, or worse, 50 years from now.
This is why I care so much about Growing Up and helping myself and others find transformation in Christ. It is only in Christ that we find solutions, we find change, we find hope, and we find a vision for the future.