Called Out to Speak Up
By Robert (Bob) W. Jones

Every writer has a voice. How will you use your voice to speak up about racial justice? The rule of life for social media is “silence is compliance.” Do you agree?

Agree or not, may find yourself called out to speak up. Take that as a compliment. You have influence. My friend and fellow Word Alive Press author, Connie Jakab (Bring Them Closer) provides a framework of wisdom and empathy in her response to being called out.

I got called out this week by someone in our black community to speak up as a leader on #blacklivesmatter. I was a little taken back because I have wanted to remain in a posture of listening and learning. I am bravely stepping out to do what I can to lean into hard conversations presently.

People’s number one desire is to be heard. Belonging has to be felt. Trauma isn’t healed overnight. I was called out to speak up.

Here’s what I’m doing right now:

  • I am becoming more aware of how quickly I turn to control, punishment, power, and fear in my closest relationships starting with my family. If I turn to those things naturally, so easily in my closest relationships, it will spill outwards soon enough. Change starts with me getting brave to look inside to change.
  • Listening to my black friends and continuing to extend my hand of friendship. “People are hard to hate close up” is one of my favourite Brene Brown quotes. Friendship is powerful.
  • Standing up for others when I see or hear racist comments.

    My concerns:
  • We are liking our echo chambers and putting out dividing lines. We are unfriending those who don’t think like us instead of leaning in to learn. Online is NOT a great place to make decisions about people.
  • White people are shaming white people speaking up and boldly braving vulnerable conversations (and sometimes failing). Come ONNN friends. We can do better.
  • We have to have braver conversations for the sake of the little ones listening to us. We are shaping the next generation. Let’s give them something better.

    This is my stance:
    I follow the one who said, “This is my body broken for you.”

    So I do this.

    I lay myself down for you…
    … break my need to be right for you.
    … break my pride for you.
    … fight for you.

    My arms of belonging are open for you to be a safe place.

About this Contributor:

Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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