Are You Willing to Die-In?

Die-in at Ohio State University
Photo credit: Allison Wilder

Jesus told his disciples “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).

To be followers of Christ, we know we must let go of our own pursuits in this world. We must sacrifice ourselves and give up those things we hold dearest (Luke 14:26-27). Our walk with Christ is a constant process of setting aside our own priorities and committing to the life God would have us lead. We're called to lay down our own lives for the sake of the Kingdom.

After weeks of protests, of news coverage, and of social media campaigns, many white friends have become outraged in our hearts for the injustices we see. You've read countless articles, commented on friends' Facebook posts, maybe even attended a local rally. But now what? What are we willing to do to affect lasting change?

Are you willing to sustain the hard work of overhauling a system? Will you labor to usher fundamental change to a national mindset? Are you willing to die to yourself when you attend your next die-in?

Via Lisa Sharon Harper

For our cries for justice to ring with any truth, white co-laborers must disrupt our own hearts, even as we disrupt the institutional status-quo around us. It's too easy hold up a sign and then go about our normal daily business. It's too easy to point at others as the source of the strife. It's too easy to perpetuate the very thing we protest. We must not lie down only to get up again into our old ways.

To be followers of Christ, we know we must die-in to ourselves. Jesus tells us “if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

White folk must die-in to our own perspectives, we must die-in to our self-preservation, we must die-in to our sense of exceptionalism. We must die-in to our desire to be at the center, we must die-in to our need to get ahead. Indeed, we must surrender ourselves to the example of Christ's ultimate die-in on the cross, because we know that "greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).

This means a fundamental shift for white folk. It means uprooting who we are and how we live our daily lives. Indeed, we must "count [our]selves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11), repenting of our participation in injust systems and turning to a new way of living that divests ourselves of its benefits. It means chipping away at injustice from all sides, with each moment we are given on this earth.

So yes, we protest, we write letters, we vote, we show up. Then we yield our resources and our own ways of doing things. We invest daily in communities and in individuals, raising up local leaders of color and stepping aside so they can soar. It means giving up your time, giving up your money, giving up your influence, giving up your goals and your plans.

Because this is what it will take.
This is what is necessary to ensure that lasting progress is made.
It takes dying-in to ourselves.

If we sit alone in our consternation, then like the grain of wheat, we languish in our own self-preservation. But if are willing to fall to the ground in solidarity, then together we will bear great fields of life-giving, Kingdom fruit.

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