Headlines this week have again been filled with the names of black men shot and killed by police officers, and — in at least one instance — protests have erupted in response. This has sadly become a known routine.
It is apparent that we are failing as a nation to see the image of God in those around us. This failure has become a deadly one.
In his new book, Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World, Leroy Barber tackles this failure head on, writing that we must learn to embrace, rather than disconnect from, “the other” if we are to achieve shalom.
He begins the journey to shalom in Babylon. Babylon, he writes, is a synonym for ungodly depravity and corruption. Yet the people of Israel were called to be there, living in discomfort among those different from themselves.
And that’s OK. God did not call them, and does not call us, to comfort. Instead, God calls us to hard work and hard places. Our deliverance does not come when God releases us from those places of division, but when we lean into them, fully accepting why we are there — not to share God with a godless people, but to learn and act on the essential lesson that we are all God’s people.
You can read more about Embrace in a time of division at Sojourners.