by Carol Baldwin

Last week there were two more horrific shootings. One in a California synagogue, the second in a university in Charlotte, NC. This is not a blog about gun control or even an attempt to answer the question that plagues many of us, “What is our world coming to?” But it is a blog about what should we, as Christian writers, do to respond to events like this. Because the first shooter was a church goer and targeted another religious group, I’m going to focus on that event.

John Earnest, the man who allegedly killed one woman and injured three others at Congregation Chabad, attended an Orthodox Presbyterian Church–the denomination which I attend. It is a conservative, Bible-believing church; the pastor wrote this public statement condemning John Earnest’s actions.

In his article, “Why White Nationalism Tempts White Christians” Jemar Tisby, president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, and co-host of the podcast Pass The Mic and author of The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, asks some sobering questions.  I encourage you to read the entire article and think about his summary: “If any lessons can come from a murderous hate crime, then perhaps it is this one: Sin in the form of white nationalism crouches at the door of every congregation.”

We are warned in Genesis 4:7 to consider, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Sin lies at our door. What does that mean to you and me?

Another article was published in the Washington Post, presumably by someone who does not confess Christ. But the author’s words should make every Christian stop and think.

Last week I had lunch with Vermelle Ely, an 86-year-old African American woman who has tirelessly shared her life experiences with me to make my novel, Half-Truths, authentic. We were talking about the two shootings  and I asked for her thoughts were about what was going on in today’s world.

Vermelle Ely and Carol Baldwin                Charlotte, NC, 2017

Without a moment’s hesitation she said, “Things are going backwards.”

I’d expected her to respond about the current shootings, but she turned the conversation to white nationalism and the shooting in Charlottesville, Va. two years ago. It is very clear in her mind that our country is going back to the prejudice and discrimination that she experienced growing up in the South.

I’m still mulling over this conversation and wondering what we, Christian writers for children and young adults,  should do about this situation. I’m glad to see a beginning trend toward more racial diversity in illustrations, picture books, early readers, middle grade, and young adult novels. Marley Dias is a young person who’s tackled the issue head on.  I’m trying (I hope!) to address issues of racial injustice in my novel.

Our readers are the next generation of adults. We have the opportunity–through quality literature–to create stories that can address issues such as injustice, inequality, and true equality in the Lord.

“There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3: 11

Christian writer: What do you think?

Leave me a comment and let’s begin a dialogue.