When Axis began 13 years ago we noticed three things that were causing young people to reject their faith after leaving home for college. We call them The Three Ps: pop culture, partying, and professors. We watched as many friends and family members went through the sad process of deconstructing and losing their faith, and the evidence almost always showed that one of these Ps was a contributing factor.
Today, The Three Ps are still prevalent, but we’re afraid there’s a fourth P that might be even more influential: pain. Like the first three, pain has the capacity to take over a person’s worldview. It can turn a person’s life upside-down. And in the U.S., especially over these last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the pain of racism more vividly than we have in decades, and it seems to have turned our nation upside-down.
Over the last week we have struggled to make a statement on the developments surrounding George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, because we didn’t want it to come across as brand protection or a promotional move. Nonetheless, we are compelled to use the voice and platform that God has given us, and we pray that our intentions will not be misconstrued.
This isn’t about us.
It’s about the people in our communities who have been racialized, abused, and harmed with hatred. George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery were human beings made in God’s image; so were Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Fred Hampton, Martin Luther King Jr., and many more. We are heart-broken over the racism that has led to the deaths and physical harm of many people of color, and mourn for the injustices that their families and communities feel.
We recognize that throughout history Christians have adopted agendas of “me over you” and “us over them.” We recognize that the church is not always unified with a spirit of love for all people. We recognize the pain, sorrow, and torment that so many people of color have experienced through racism. Looking back, we at Axis recognize we could have done more. We recognize we still have more to learn, but we are committed to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as we continue to create resources that serve caring adults and teens of all races.
We’re deeply aware that this world needs more of God’s love. There’s a spirit of hatred on our earth and it’s time for Christians to resist it with the power of God’s love, the ultimate antidote to hatred. Jesus epitomized this thought and the power of Christians living this way in the Gospel of John.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23
It is this posture that has the power to undo The Four Ps; it is this posture that can help the next generation to trust God, and develop a lifelong faith. We pray God’s justice against the spirit of hate, and we are committed to being a force for love, justice and unity.
At Axis, we are paying attention to and writing about the pain that racism and unjust violence does to the human soul. In 2020, we’ve planned to address the issues of racism more intentionally with resources that are currently in production.Here are some of our current resources to help spark conversation with your kids.
How to Talk About George Floyd with Your Teen
Juneteenth (the forgotten day)We are also moving up our release dates of additional resources
- Video Conversation Kit on Racism
- A Parent’s Guide to Racism
- A Family Discipleship Pledge that will include how we’ll disciple our children to treat all people equally
We ask for your prayers as we continue to serve families to deal with The Four Ps — Pain, Pop Culture, Partying, and Professors. We mourn with the black community in countless years of deep sorrowful pain. Now is a time to change: to change as individuals, to change as families, to change as an organization, to change as the church, to change as communities, to change as a country, to change as a world, and to see the Kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven.