Amid ongoing racial tension across the United States, pastor Carl Lentz has explained why his church, Hillsong New York, will not use the term "All Lives Matter."
In a Facebook post share earlier this week, Lentz discussed his church's support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said in his post: "At THIS church, we are not saying 'all lives matter' right now because this is a logical assumption that most reasonable people agree with. All lives are not at risk right now."
He continued: "We ARE saying BLACK LIVES MATTER. Because, right now, black lives apparently are worth LESS on our streets. It's 'our fight' not 'their fight'."
Lentz' statement comes just after the controversial police shootings of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and most recently Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, both of which sparked riots across the country.
Last week, Lentz posted a black and white photo of the Hillsong's leadership team on Instagram, and revealed they met to discuss the church's role amid ongoing racial tension.
"What's ironic about using a 'black and white' filter on a photo, is that you can't really tell who's black, and whose white..ironic.. Last night we had a meeting w/ some faithful leaders in our church, who are mostly black, to begin what will be an ongoing discussion on progressive diversity," he wrote.
Lentz said the leadership talked about things that were "frustrating/sad/uncomfortable and vulnerable."
"Things like how it feels to be black in America right now," he said. "I also asked how it feels to be black, and a faithful part of @hillsongnyc ...all I can say, is that I'm glad to be a part of a church and community that is a work in progress and discontented w/ status culture quo."
He continued: "I would encourage anybody who cares about people, to somehow find a way to hear voices of those that don't share your journey. It will impact you. And times are as urgent as they have ever been... What's cool to me?? I don't see this photo and think about color. I see this photo and I think about family.. #occupyallstreets also.. Shout out to Corey Robinson who declared 'I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT BEING BLACK! EVERYTHING!' Haha i cannot relate, but you totally convinced me."
A conversation about race also took place at Hillsong's Los Angeles, led by Benjamin Houston, son of Hillsong's founders, Brian and Bobbie Houston. Houston said in an Instagram post that his church came together to talk about "the realities of racism and injustice experienced by many across our nation today."
"This was the start of many conversations that need to be had; and even when the media goes quiet, The Church will remain loud at fighting injustice of all description," Houston said in the post.
The Huffington Post notes that Progressive Christian denominations have been active supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months, participating in marches and raising banners outside their buildings. More conservative evangelical groups, however, have not embraced BLM, mostly because of its support of liberal causes, such as LGBT rights and reproductive justice.