…okay and a few Blacks, and one Asian (I think). Diversity is a beautiful thing and I look forward to the day when we have even more diversity within my local church.
I am now reading the New Testament in an effort to finish up a course and I’m also contemplating a topic for an upcoming history paper. While reading, I constantly find myself confronted with the topics of division between both newly converted Jews (who are believers in Christ) and Christian Gentiles. The New Testament writers continuously challenge all Christians to practically live out the truth of the gospel they were receiving, but there were still divisions and misunderstandings between them, and there were also false teachings of the gospel that caused additional problems. I’ve been thinking a lot about the words that Christians speak and then the manner in which we practice our convictions. I am finding that is some cases, we are falling far short of being consistent in our “talk” and “walk.”
Today, I am specifically thinking about the issue of our creditability on the topic of “Racial Reconciliation” as addressed to the Lausanne Congress (global international conference on world evangelism) by Brenda Salter McNeil at Cape Town 2010 in South Africa:
Recently, I briefly discussed race relations between African-Americans and Caucasian Americans in this country with someone (a Christian I might add) who said to me, “There can be no racial reconciliation because of the history of slavery in the United States.” My heart broke after hearing this comment. In an effort to get our blog conversation started, I will only share a few of the reasons for my broken heart.
To begin, I love being an African-American woman. There are many aspects of my race and gender that are quite valuable to me and I bring those aspects to all of my relationships in hopes that they will be valued (not ignored) by others. In the same matter, I cherish each opportunity to learn from those who do not share my background and history.
Likewise, I do not ignore the realities of racism that has continually plagued this country. I don’t think any of us should forget the racism of our country’s past, or ignore it in its present form. Rather, we should honestly acknowledge and learn from our worst moral failures and darkest hours. We should see the sins of our countrymen for what they were and what they are: humans in rebellion against God and each other.
I visited the International Civil Rights Museum over the weekend, and as I watched the gruesome pictures of the murderers of young Emmett Till and the four girls who lost their lives in the Bombing of the Birmingham church, I thought to myself, “Christ came to redeem that.” As I saw the battled white male Freedom Rider, I thought to myself, “Christ came to redeem that too.” The truth of the gospel is that Christ came to make us all unlike our evil, selfish, sinful selves. He wants us to be like him, for “God is love (1 John 4:8).”
If we believe the truth of the gospel, then why are so many of our churches still segregated? If the local churches remain segregated (for “loyalty” to a particular racial or ethical culture), then why not at least partner with churches who serve a different demographic to show the world unity of the Christian family and regularly support evangelism and community outreach efforts?
Do you have intimate relationships with those of a different race or ethnic background? Is it evident that your local church values diversity?
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© Natasha S. Robinson 2011