In the wake of the high-profile killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others, many white evangelical churches have shown renewed interest in matters of racial reconciliation. Some have joined protest marches, hosted conversations with local black pastors, or participated in citywide prayer vigils. But others, unsure how to respond, have taken the path of least resistance. In Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation, Mark Vroegop, lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, argues that recovering the biblical practice of lament can help the church speak where it is tempted toward silence. Kathryn Freeman, a writer and master of divinity student at Baylor University, spoke with Vroegop about his book.
How did it occur to you to bring together the topics of lament and racial justice?
Weep with Me was born out of my first book, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy. The more I explored lament as a biblical category and as a way for people to navigate their grief, the more I saw parallels and possible applications in the area of racial reconciliation. In my own experience pastoring a church, trying to help hurting people, and with grief in general, I’ve found that the language of lament is really helpful, since it has the capacity to move people toward one another rather than pushing them away. And this has important implications for how we discuss racism and racial injustice within the church.
Why do you think lament is such an important part of the journey toward racial reconciliation?
When the subject of racial reconciliation comes up, people often lack a common language for discussing it. We don’t always understand what other people mean when they use certain words. Lament helps ...1
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