JOHN MEETS DON: A Crisis of Christianity and Political Culture
Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, is one of several black faith leaders under fire for recently attending a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.
Gray, along with Darrell Scott, a pro-Trump pastor from Ohio, Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Maryland met with President Trump last Wednesday. The ministers are being criticized for meeting with the president, whom some say is a racist and has policies that aren't in favor of minorities. Gray responded to his critics on social media and said he prayed about whether to attend the meeting. In a post to Instagram Gray said; "I asked the Lord when I was asked to be present in this initial meeting about potential prison reform – that could greatly end up benefitting many people who look just like me – 'Lord, do You want me in that room?"
As should be obvious the Lord's answer was "yes". The response by many in the Christian community presents a shocking reality, one that personally saddens me. As we have crucified the seemingly widely beloved pastor John Gray and others we have indirectly suggested that engaging in conversation (meaningful and with reformative motives) is something that is synonymous with compromise and this, quite frankly, is a false view.
We Christians claim that Christ is the answer to every question, the answer to every single life problem, but yet how can He (who truly is the only answer) be such to questions we never ask. This event has shown a discreet and very covert crisis within modern Christianity; the inability to embrace a conversation without assuming compromise.
Those who don't think like us (Christians), those who embrace other cultural ideals and dogmas, those who may even be an outright racist and hater is one whom Christ loves and no matter how we may have a personal distaste for them, holding a conversation does not equate to compromise. In fact, if it is done skillfully and with anointing, it can be one of the greatest pathways to conviction.
Instead of being crucified, Gray should be commended. He sat in a seat very few get to sit in and he, along with others gave a voice to, an otherwise, voiceless segment of the community. Let's not close this door through criticism and limited perspective but let's walk through it with hope.