Monday, January 15, 2007

I Wish I Weren't Racist

Being a white guy on staff at a predominately white church does not often lend itself to thinking outside of my own racial culture. That is not an excuse, just an observation. I am ashamed to say that in the four years I have been here, I cannot recall racial issues ever having been discussed beyond a few comments here and there. Those comments were generally about the need for our staff to strive to be "culturally sensitive." While I am not apathetic toward racial issues, I cannot say that I have put the thought and effort into these issues that perhaps I should. In the end, is not my negligence its own passive form of racism?

For MLK Day, Edward Gilbreath, editor of Today's Christian, wrote a thought-provoking article for Christianity Today regarding why so many blacks are leaving evangelical ministries and churches. His admonishment:

White Christian, you have people of color on your staff, but are you seeking their ideas and perspectives? Does your corporate culture reflect sensitivity to the feelings and concerns of nonwhite individuals? You've spoken to the black people who attend your church, but have you had them over to watch the game after service? Have you invited them to join your small group?

Black Christian, have you been keeping at an arm's distance those white acquaintances who have attempted to get to know you better? Have you written off some whites as racists because of silly comments they didn't realize were offensive? Have you taken the time to educate them about your culture, answering all of their probing questions about your hair care or your opinion of some black celebrity?

White Christian, you hugged and apologized to that nameless black person at an out-of-town conference, but have you made any new friends across racial lines since you've returned home? Are you now more attuned to the subtle ways society treats whites differently from blacks?

Black Christian, are you hanging on to unresolved bitterness against whites? Are you harboring bigotry of your own? Have you been ignoring God's command to extend grace? Are you resisting his call to become a bridge between the races, because you realize that bridges, by definition, must be stepped on?

As Christians, it's possible for us to do wonderfully holy things cross-culturally without ever experiencing a fundamental change in our thinking. To break out of the monochromatic status quo of today's evangelical movement, we must confront hard truths about ourselves and about the things that truly drive our institutions. If we don't, we'll never find ourselves in that place of total freedom and faith and unity that allows us to be used by God in radical ways. (READ THE ARTICLE | HT: BETWEEN TWO WORLDS)

1 comment:

Adam Winters said...

There is no danger of prejudice when you're lowering the broom on everybody.

Thanks for posting this excerpt, sir.