The concept of personal identity has been a hot topic these days. Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal┬áhave made us all question what does it mean to identify with a particular gender or race. This isn’t about them. It’s about grieving with Charleston.

Identifying as a Christian means I grieve with family.

You see among all the different ways that we label and identify people, the label that I cherish most and hold above all other categories is that of “Christian.” I am a part of the Body of Christ, and when one part of the body hurts and suffers I suffer with them. So, today I am grieving with Charleston.

Here are the names of my murdered brothers and sisters:

  • The Honorable Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, 42
  • Tywanza Sanders, 26
  • Cynthia Hurd, 54
  • The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45
  • Susie Jackson, 87
  • Ethel Lance, 70
  • The Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49
  • The Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.
  • Myra Thompson, 59

These members of my Christian family were in the sanctuary of their church. They were studying scripture and worshiping God. They were following Christ, the very Prince of Peace — even welcoming the stranger in their midst. One who sat and worshiped with them for a full hour before killing them.

It is horrific and unbelievable that this kind of hatred, evil and violence continues to exist in our world. And so I grieve with Charleston.

Can any good come from grieving with Charleston?

If any good is to come of this tragedy, my hope is that it will unite the Body of Christ. Our identity should always be first and foremost “Christian.” Let us — as the Family of God — stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. Let us grieve with Charleston. Let us pray with Charleston. And let us work against the racism, hate and evil that is attacking our family.

I am grieving with Charleston.