Brandon Wrencher

Brandon serves as Pastor of Blackburn’s Chapel UMC and Abbot and Director of The Blackburn House, an intentional community program in the Western mountains of North Carolina. Brandon is also involved in leadership with the Christian Community Development Association and edits their theological journal. Brandon is married to Erica and they have an almost two year old son, Phillip. Brandon enjoys sports (especially college basketball – GO TARHEELS!), listening to underground and classic hip-hop albums, collecting classic sneakers, reading and writing, good conversations and hanging with friends and family. Follow Brandon at www.theblackburnhouse.com

Psalms for Ferguson| BlackLivesMatter

Loving God, at such a troubled time we turn to you. We lament the senseless deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and so many others and the pain that their parents, families and so many of us feel. It is heart-breaking that the discord and discontent in Ferguson, New York, and around the country has caused so much uncertainty, hopelessness, and fear. It is unsettling that the lack of understanding and accountability has led to violent actions and words. We are horrified by the ensuing violence– the tear gas, the rubber bullets, the military force, the rioting, the looting, the name-calling, the stereotyping. These families and their loved ones cannot grieve in peace. It is a travesty.

O God you have told us what is good: let us act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Every 28 hours in America an unarmed black person is shot and killed by someone in law or security enforcement. There is a history of violent and senseless deaths of unarmed men and women of color in this nation. Ethnic minorities have been reminded of this painful history in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. And so we mourn with those who mourn, we bear one another’s burdens. We grieve with the families of children who left this world too soon because of hate and violence. We lament our country’s racism – the laws, structures, systems and ideas that reinforce stereotypes, bias, hate, the destruction of life and diminished possibilities for people of color to flourish. We decry our personal involvement whether through action or silence.

O God you have told us what is good: let us act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Still the divisions that exist between us over how to interpret these tragic deaths betray our common humanity. Our disagreements are a break in communion. We ask for our differences to not determine our relationships, we ask for the capacity to see the image of God in all, in both Michael Brown and Darren Wilson, in both Eric Garner and Daniel Pantaleo. And so even in our rage and seeking of justice, we ask that forgiveness and humility guide our relationships rather than blame or hate. We seek to overcome the violence of exclusion that reinforces the categories of enemy and ally, oppressor and oppressed, disinherited and privileged.

O God you have told us what is good: let us act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

May these senseless deaths of unarmed black and brown men and women be a mirror, enabling us to see and name the deep social divides, conflict and patterns of exclusion in our own communities. May we witness the brokenness and insecurities in our own hearts. May we come to believe that every human being and all of creation are precious and beautiful, to live into the great wisdom of Ubuntu that “I am because we are and because we are, I am.” May we assemble courage to hope for justice, to work for love, to live into the world we long for.

O God you have told us what is good: let us act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Amen.