Race-less Gospel

A race-less life is a Christ- filled life.


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If you hate

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Race allows us to categorize people, to lump entire human populations together, to pack them into overcrowded boxes and store them in the socioeconomic basement of our society.  Race helps us to forget our commonality as human beings, “out of sight, out of mind.”  It focuses on and creates more differences than even exist in an effort to maintain the illusion of superior and inferior human beings.

Race is not liberating or powerful.  In fact, our belief in race and our acceptance of this superficial, social and pseudo- identity is not an expression of self- love, self- understanding or even self- esteem.  Instead, our incorporation of race into our understanding of human beings and human relationships means the exact opposite.

The truth is, our belief in race has not made us more loving or understanding of our selves much less other persons from different cultures.  Race has done and is doing more harm than good.  It has not told us who we are but who we are not and can never be.  Race has not adequately answered the question, “Who am I?”

Why do I say all of this?  It is to remind you of the track record of race, to reorient you to the truth that race does not love us.  But, also to point out the obvious problem of race as a source of human identity and as a molder of human relationships.

We will never come together around race as it calls us to hate.  Not only does race foster self- hatred but you cannot hate someone without hating yourself.  You cannot hold hatred in your mouth without it staining your teeth, impacting your bite, without some of its energy dripping onto your self- image.

Race requires that we live in a perpetual state of hatred, which means that we must die to love.  If you hate, you must die to Love.  You must separate ourselves from God’s Love because in the presence of God, there is no hatred.

If you hate any one that God has created, that God has made different from you, because it was the prerogative of the Creator, then you hate the work of the Creator.  You cannot hate God’s creation and love God.  You cannot think less of a human being and think highly of the Image in which we are made.  Hate + Love ≠ Love.  

We choose to hate and we can choose to love.  The fact is, if we cannot love everyone, then we cannot love any one, including ourselves.

 

 

 


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The Benefit of a Name

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Names are important.  Nick names are cute but birth names carry a lot of meaning.  Parents name their children after persons they love and admire.  They hand down names of those who they have left an indelible mark on their lives and they choose to remember them through their child.  Parents also name their children based on who they desire them to be or believe that they are.  They give them strong names, beautiful names, popular names, catchy names, thoughtful names.

Strangely enough, we do not invest much in our understanding of them.  Sure, we know our name.  We can spell our name.  But, we do not see ourselves based on our first name.  Instead, we repeat the names, live the names, identify with and answer to the names, that bullies, bitter family members, strangers and our society calls us.

I have an interesting name: Starlette.  Not many people have it.  I have counted fourteen people so far.  We are small group but the name is great.

Often when I tell people my name, I add, “Yes.  It’s my real name.”  I know that there are Hollywood starlets but this is not a stage name. And the name has great power.  It’s hard to be a wall flower, a shrinking violet with a name that means “brilliant performer.”  Brilliant.  Performer.

Simply saying my name has reassured me, comforted me and reminded me of who I am.  I need only say it and it sets the record straight.  I need only repeat it to gain my footing.  I need only introduce myself by it and come to light.

Now, I don’t know your name or its meaning but I am sure that it has more benefits than the name that the social construct of race calls you.  My name is race-less as anyone can be a brilliant performer.  So, what’s your name?


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What race is really about

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It’s about hate versus love.  We will have to choose whether we are going to live in hatred or walk in love.  Before hatred kills, it cripples and without love, we will never walk unimpeded.

It’s about us versus them.  We will have to choose to accept that there is only us.  There is no them and there never has been.  We are all in this together, unable to be separated, segregated.  Our humanity is shared.  There is no one who is more or less human than another.

It’s about pain versus forgiveness.  We have hurt each other but returning hurt for hurt leaves everyone in pain.  It does not heal anyone.

It’s about a lie versus the truth.  Race is a lie and we made it up.  It is the lie we tell to ourselves and about others.  But, it’s time to tell the truth.  And the truth is, we are all created equally to to be loved by all of us.  We must not let pain have the last word.  Let forgiveness say something.

 


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What can we expect of race?

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What do we expect of an unjust system, an unfair practice that bases human value and purpose on the social coloring of skin?  Why do we ask of skin, look to the surface to give our lives and the lives we live with others a deeper meaning?  Why place such an expectation on race?

Why did we think that race could bring us together when it thrives on division, when it calls for separation and segregation?  Race creates categories not circles.

There will be no hand- holding, no singing of “Kumbaya” here.  God is not present in race.

How could it ever make us better when it casts members of our humanity as worse– based solely on looks, appearance, our sight instead of God’s vision?  Why did we ever expect that race would make us see ourselves and others more clearly when it prescribes prejudice and stereotypes?  Why did we give our eyes to it instead of keeping them fixes on Jesus?

What can we expect of race, this social construct that prizes and praises the flesh of some over others?  Nothing.  In the end, it will return to the earth just as our flesh.  It will not rise with us so maybe we should lower our expectation of it.


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We are predominately, majority

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We are predominately spirit, more spirit than flesh, more breath than earth. We are majority spirit, more than a number, made of a substance that cannot be counted.

We are predominately us; there really is no “them,” no human being outside of our shared humanity.  We are all strangers, all immigrants, all travelers passing through this world.  We are majority neighbor, relative, family, kindred, siblings– despite all of our many rivalries.

We are predominately God’s.  We don’t even belong to ourselves as we did not make ourselves; we are not co- creators, co- laborers in the field of humanity.  Who has planted us in the earth and who will root us up?  We do not actually take care of ourselves.  For who gives us breath, His Spirit?

God… is predominately, the majority of us.


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Dear Body of Christ

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Dear Body of Christ,

We are the Body of Christ, not the race or races of Christ.  We are not colors but the children of God, not stereotypes but the saints of God, not prejudicial guesses but members of a royal priesthood.  I thought that we were called to walk in the spirit not after the flesh, that we had been called to worship in the spirit not according to our flesh, that we had been commanded to love as Christ does not as our culture requires.

We are the Body of Christ, the Church of the living Christ of which he is the chief cornerstone.  But, Christ did not lay the foundation of race.  Racism was not a part of the blueprint for our being.  Prejudice is not an architect of our humanity. None of this was ever a part of God’s plan for us.

We are the Body of Christ, the bride of Christ, married to one groom.  There has been but one joining, one wedding ceremony, one covenant shared, one vow made.  Christ does not have multiple wives: a Black Church, a White Church, a Red Church, a Brown Church, a Yellow Church, a Beige Church. We are called to be one Body, members of one another. It’s impossible to be a body if we are not.

Sincerely,

A concerned member


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What more can we say about race?

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“I’m a problem.  You’re a problem.  We’re all a problem.”  That about sums up any conversation on race.

We have told “them” and “you people” how we feel for more than four hundred years and there have been responses.  We have enslaved, traded, murdered, marched, sat in, sung about it, been falsely accused, jailed and beaten, bombed, suffered dog bites and fire hoses, passed legislation, married, integrated, segregated more, hated still.

And we keep talking about race but to what end, hoping to reach what conclusion, believing that “they” will say or do or be what exactly to us?  What do we need this mysterious and unnamed “they” to do in order for us to forgive our faults and failures, to let go of our bitterness and fears, to give up attempts to dominate and to let down all of our guards?

At some point in the conversation, we have to accept that we have been heard and that “they” have responded, whether we like it or not, whether we feel it sufficient or appropriate or responsible or compassionate or enough.  How many words does it take to forgive? How many words does it take to forgive?

Because if we are continuing to say the same things and the response remains the same, then we have to change the conversation.  At some point, we have to forgive and make peace if only with ourselves, knowing that we have been hurt and heard, that we have survived and now thrive, that we can move on and move up.  We have to accept them as they are, understanding that we can change– even if they don’t want to.

What more can we say about the race problem?  I think that we have said enough.  I believe that it’s time to start talking about the solution, we human beings.  Race has interfered with and interrupted that conversation long enough.

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