Restoration Journeys Anti-Racism Statement
June 5, 2020
We at Restoration Journeys, as well as the rest of our team at The Restoration Initiative, our parent nonprofit, are outraged by the recent murder of George Floyd, an image bearer of God and one Black man in a list of so many other Black people killed because of racism in our nation. We mourn with Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, and we lament the sin and evil that is racism in the United States.
As leaders of a short-term missions program founded in New Orleans, a racially diverse metropolis in the Deep South, we cannot ignore the implications that has for our program and our work. It is no secret that the history of evangelical missions is not free of the sin of racism – that under the banner of spreading the gospel, people professing Christ have more than once inflicted damage on communities, particularly communities filled with people of color, by devaluing the image of God in the people of those communities. While it has taken many forms, the most obvious has been the stain of the White Savior Complex – the wrong belief that people of color are simply waiting for a white savior to swoop in and rescue them from their situation. Whether inflicted deliberately or unintentionally, the White Savior Complex, even when coming at the hands of well-intentioned people, is at its heart a belief in white superiority, rooted in racism.
We have been called to the work of the gospel here in New Orleans, to serve our city in the way Jesus served – caring for the marginalized, binding up the brokenhearted, and sharing the truth and freedom of His saving grace. At the heart of the gospel is justice and restoration, so as we follow Christ in our work, we must stand for justice and restoration, without hesitation or compromise.
We at Restoration Journeys acknowledge the painful, sinful history of mission work in our world, in our country, in our region, and our city. We lament the damage that has been done to people, most notably in communities of color. As leaders of a missions organization, we commit to listening and learning from our communities, making sure that any work we engage in is helpful and healthy. We commit to repent and reroute when needed as we move forward. We commit to speak out against the overt and covert racism that still seeps out of modern evangelical mission work. We commit to use our platform to educate and train teams in gospel-centered ministry that does not ignore the history of systemic racism in New Orleans, as well as our country. We commit to have honest conversations about the church’s history of complicity in racism and what we need to do to better reflect Christ in our mission work. We commit to teach our teams that racism cannot abide if the gospel is to thrive, and that we must actively dismantle white supremacy by beginning with ourselves and our feelings of superiority in order to bring about a more just and caring world that reflects the Kingdom of God here on earth.