Dear TeachBeyond Community,
The death of American George Floyd is a horrifying reminder of the depravity of the human heart. This human condition blinds us to our words and actions that do harm based on race, and goes so far in many to become a hatred that spreads in individuals and society. The resulting protests in countries around the world have been a call for racial justice and for a dismantling of prejudicial systems and systemic problems that have been oppressing people of color around the world.
Our leadership has been personally challenged by this, as we hope you are. Over the past few weeks we have become increasingly conscious of how we can personally better reflect God’s heart of love for people everywhere in our attitude and actions and share in His opposition to all who discriminate or perpetuate racism of any kind. Many of our deep motives and entrenched ways of thinking are unknown to us, and it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that we can repent of the non-Christlike thinking which remains as a consequence of our fallen human nature, often manifested in our own prejudices and assumptions about other people. May God’s Spirit transform our hearts and our behavior to more closely reflect His own.
We are fully committed to creating space to listen and for the needed dialogue within TeachBeyond. As TeachBeyond has continued to grow over the last decade, our community now better reflects the global church, with half of the membership now non-Canadian or American. However, there is more to be done. For example, we also recognize that work is needed to reflect the growing diversity in various levels of leadership in the organization. We also need to work so that the membership in TeachBeyond’s largest sending country of cross-cultural members, the United States, better reflects the racial diversity of the church. Will you commit to praying with us about this need? Our global leadership team is intentionally wanting to reflect our growing diversity and we want to make it clear there is to be no tolerance for paternalism or racial bias. In this sense, as the Scriptures say, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.”
Dr. Martin Luther King reminded us 70 years ago that “there is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions.” Our calling is to be a community that strives to deal with the roots of problems and not superficial facades. It is only through being deeply rooted in our being created Imago Dei that we can see lasting change, where our personal and organizational values align with God’s intended design and where TeachBeyond communities around the globe reflect these commitments in our ‘life together’ and practices. This is why we speak of, and need, transformation. What steps can we take to be more transformational in dealing with racial issues as an organization? How can we further reflect both the local and global church in our membership? These are not easy questions and we welcome your sincere and serious input.
Our prayer is that we are not just anti-racist in our hearts and actions – that we are not just against something – but that we will be also for deep, profound agape love for all human beings as each is equally created in the image of God. At this time, when the suffering of black people in the United States is bringing this matter to the attention of the world, we especially pray for black communities and their struggle for justice and freedom from oppression. Let us grow in our ability to listen, learn, and love together, even while we grieve for all who continue to suffer around the world.