A Statement from Pastor Rod Parsley
Sunday, May 31, 2020 — COLUMBUS, OH
In the wake of precious George Floyd’s murder caught on video and the current climate of chaos that has manifested in our cities, I need to say something. I am the “Silent No More” preacher. You see, I grew up in the 60s and I well, well remember when it was illegal for me to share a water fountain with a person of color. I’m old enough to remember going down through the south, from Ohio and Kentucky down through Tennessee down into Georgia and Alabama, Louisiana and over into Florida. This was the route my family traveled every year. This was before automobiles had air conditioners and the South was still segregated.
I remember … I can see it vividly in my mind’s eye, as a young boy, in my blue jeans with my cuffs rolled up and our lunch in the Coleman cooler in the back of that ’64 Buick Skylark. I can remember starting to go into the restroom and my father having to take me by the hand and say “No, son. That’s not for you.” And I looked up and a make-shift sign made out of a piece of wood with some white-washed paint said, “colored.” He said, “That’s not for you.” But there were only three: “White Men,” “White Women,” “Colored.”
We have come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go. I remember watching the riots and the protests and the burning buildings in the 1960s. I remember watching Dr. King walk to Selma. I remember watching the great Civil Rights march to Washington, D.C. I remember standing on that balcony when we lost one of the greatest men that ever lived, taken by a racist’s bullet. I would to God that his anointing will be picked up. That someone will be mantled with that great anointing. That non-violent heart of God reconciling, restoring, reaching out. That mantle once again. Not a mantle of hatred. Our Bible commands, you must not repay evil with evil.
Sadly, we find our nation in that same state of division, disunity, and civil unrest at the hands of those that perpetrate injustice and inequality with hearts burning with hatred and minds of confusion and misunderstanding.
As a white man, although I wish I could, I cannot identify with the plight of my wonderful friends of color. I cannot possibly imagine your struggle. I have not experienced the fear of simply going for a jog or the barbaric brutality of someone with a badge and a heart full of hatred. I do not know what it’s like to be afraid for my children to leave their home or to be fearful around those who are pledged to protect them. What I do know is this: This … This has to stop. It’s time for this to stop. And it will not stop unless you join me in being silent no more. Your voice matters.
The black community is hurting. I’m hurting. It breaks my heart. Our nation is bleeding. Our nation is weeping. We must be steadfast. We must educate ourselves, and not be educated by the 8-minute cable news cycle, spewing their agendas on us regardless of which side of the aisle you find yourself. We cannot go on in bliss-filled ignorance. We cannot ignore the injustice. We must join hand in hand with people of color and we must fight this battle as one mighty Church together.
I know that God will bring healing, I know He’ll bring hope, I know He’ll bring us to a place of unity in a nation divided by the evil of racism and this demonic power of prejudice. And that by His grace … by the grace and guidance of the Holy Ghost, we, the Church of Jesus Christ will stand in solidarity with every person whose skin tone may be a bit different than ours. We will not only do that, we will lift our voice in outrage, and we will not ask for – we will demand – change.
We must be what Christ claims that we are: To serve … to be … and to believe who He is and who we are. The Church of Jesus Christ has to be a place full of people of understanding, a strong and mighty tower of refuge and reconciliation leading the way … leading the way … leading the way — not taking up from the back and pointing fingers from the sidelines — leading the way forward in moments of tension and division.
I can’t help but notice the ironic and prophetic nature of this very weekend, Pentecost, aptly named Days of Fire. That’s part of what that first Pentecost after the cross was all about. You see, people from every nation, every tribe, every tongue, every ethnicity gathered together in Jerusalem … all of them with various tongues and languages — and by God’s Spirit, there was heard a message of eternal truth and love that crossed every racial … every language divide and barrier right in the middle of cultural and governmental chaos. Calvary was and is still the great equalizer.
I believe that’s what our nation and our black and brown brothers and sisters need. They need every one of us right now. They need to know God’s care. They need to understand and receive His compassion for their pain and for those who love them to stand with them and stand up for them. To know that Christ died for all humanity, regardless of skin color. To know that your life matters to Him and to me and to the Body of Christ.
We will not be complicit. We will not be silent. We will not become participants in the problem. We will cry loud and spare not. We will pray. We will be advocates and allies and agents of redemptive change. Enough is enough. No more innocent black lives lost. No more murder. No more bigotry. No more racism. We give it no place. Let righteousness reign down the harness and let forgiveness come. Let peace be our portion. Let freedom ring. Let Jesus reign, not only in our hearts, but in our nation. God bless you.