Dear CCO Community,
A little over two months ago, we entered into a moment that none of us could have foreseen as the COVID-19 pandemic closed down campuses and completely changed our world. At that time, I thought financial challenges and physical distance from our students were going to be the main problems we faced in the months ahead.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. The last few weeks have been sobering. The death of George Floyd has left our world furious, numb, crushed, hopeless, lamenting, and demanding justice. His death, along with countless others, is another chapter in our nation’s book on the suffering of our Black brothers and sisters over the past four centuries.
In light of these acts, we continue to proclaim that the CCO condemns racism as sinful. Racist ideologies and systems deny Scripture’s affirmation of the equal value and dignity of all people who are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27-28). We also continue to stand by this and the entirety of the Charlottesville Statement we signed in partnership with six other evangelical campus ministries in 2017 following the demonstrations at the University of Virginia.
Over the last 49 years, the CCO has aspired as well as struggled to live into our core value: we embrace God’s multiethnic Kingdom. This process is a “long obedience in the same direction,” and we continue to be humbled by just how much we don’t know. At times we have participated in moments that glimpse the great multitude in Revelation 7. Other times, by what we have done and by what we have left undone, we have hurt our Black brothers and sisters.
Statements are not enough, intentions are not enough. Jesus requires more.
When I was a student, I heard John Perkins say, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.” Racism is not a problem of bad people and good people, it is a struggle of death and life. And the Church is the only place with the absolute answer to the problem of death; our only hope is that we are not our own, but belong—body and soul—to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Our calling is to proclaim life in Christ, even as we lay down our lives for others (John 15:13).
To this end, as part of Christ’s Church, I want to say this: Let’s live into our calling as believers in this area. This is a moment to witness—through our words and actions—to the One who has the power to forgive, to heal, and to transform the flesh and blood of our world.
As we seek to live faithfully into the call of Christ in this moment, I’d like to invite you to do the same. Here are a few practical steps we can take together:
- Pray. For our Black brothers and sisters, for our Christian witness, and for the Church in this moment.
- If you realize you need to seek reconciliation with a specific person—don’t wait, go and do so (Matthew 5:23-24).
- As you can imagine, this moment has disproportionately affected our Black staff. With that in mind, we are offering extended paid time off, expanded mental and spiritual care, and seek to ease support-raising challenges for a season. To this end, I invite you to make a special gift to Black staff in the CCO as a way of encouraging them in their continued ministry to students (James 2:15-17).
As believers, we acknowledge that reconciliation begins in our own lives when we confess with our mouths that none of us are without sin (Romans 3:23, 12:3). In Christ we have received new life and the ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to us who now walk in a way contrary to the world around us (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
CCO community, may our witness be more than words, and may our actions be more than a protest—may we walk in the Way, live out the Truth, and reflect the Author of Life. For He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities and calls us to follow Him. Surely He knows the way from here.
Come, Lord Jesus come. Instruct us, humble us, grant us your Spirit, and guide us. Intercede for us when words fall short, and may Your resurrection power defeat strongholds, unmask idols, and change our hearts and minds to conform us more into Your likeness.
In Christ alone,
President & CEO