The point isn’t partisan. But it is a point to be made.
First, kudos to candidate Hillary Clinton for taking the time to talk to the Black Lives Matter people. If you’d care to, you can watch the first 8 minutes of the encounter here. The commentators describe it as a tense encounter, but Mrs. Clinton seemed to be able to keep the tension within bounds. Good for her.
As we move to the shorter second part of the video, however, it seems that the tension grows. Mrs. Clinton’s body language betrays her, and the BLM spokesman becomes a little more aggressive in his comments. At about the one-minute point, the BLM spokesman accuses Mrs. Clinton of victim-blaming. He heard Mrs. Clinton saying that it was the responsibility of the BLM movement to “change white hearts.” Mrs. Clinton responds, “Look, I don’t believe you change hearts.”
The point to be made, I think, is that, look, you change hearts. If we can’t change hearts then we might as well close the shop. We might as well arm to the teeth, because then only raw power prevails.
Look, I believe you change hearts.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you may read the full transcript of Mrs. Clinton’s response to the “change white hearts” comment. Yes, she tempers her “you change laws” assertion with “you may actually change hearts,” but she then she adds “if that’s all that happens…”
Mrs. Clinton is not necessarily saying that changing hearts and changing laws are mutually exclusive tasks. Certainly they are not.
But, look, I believe you change hearts.
The good news of the Gospel is the good news of changed hearts. Looking forward to a day we now experience in the risen and living Christ, God speaks through the prophet saying, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
We need good laws. We need better laws. We need racial reconciliation and healing. It is not the responsibility of black community to change white hearts. But, look, you change hearts.
To change hearts, we proclaim the Gospel. We announce joy to the world and go tell it on the mountain. We point to the day of resurrection and tell it out abroad. We hail the power of Jesus’ name and crown him Lord of all. There are 10,000 reasons for our hearts to find, and we bless the Lord, oh our souls.
Of course, we can’t change a single heart, but God can and God does. He puts his Spirit within us.
As LPC looks forward to the fall, everything we do will be about changed hearts. We will worship the One who replaces hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. We will grow in his grace as we study his Word – the story of hearts changed through the power of the cross – in children’s Sunday School, youth groups, and adult studies. As we connect in fellowship – youth groups and around the Faith Acts dinner table, even at pig roasts and potlucks – we will connect and encourage one another as changed-hearts people with more change still to come. As we serve our world through food and housing freely given, children nurtured in Philadelphia, Guatemala, and Burundi, sight restored at Hope Kibuye, we will also tell of the gift of a changed heart. As we share in our neighborhoods, work places, and schools, we will share the best news we’ve ever heard or experienced: our hearts can be changed from stone to flesh by the grace of God and his gift of Christ.
Look, I believe you change hearts. Thank God that he did and does.
Here’s a transcript of the conversation between Mrs. Clinton and the Black Lives Matter representatives.
The referenced exchange was this:
#BLM: …you were saying that what the Black Lives Matter movement needs to do to change white hearts—
HILLARY CLINTON: Look I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential, to live safely without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school, to have a decent house, to have a decent future. So we can do it one of many ways. You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if that’s all that happens, we’ll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation. We will not have all of the changes that you deserve to see happen in your lifetime because of your willingness to get out there and talk about this.