Race-less Gospel

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


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No Longer A Struggle: Declaring A Post- Racial Identity

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“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Race is a battle behind me not ahead of me. It poses no threat.  I will never look over my shoulder because of it.

There is no wrestling within or without, no tug of war, no pull to one side or the other.  Race will not separate me from others or segregate me from myself.

I will not fight a social construct.  If people can build it, then I can tear it down.  If people can choose to say it, then I can choose not to.  I’m not fighting people over my identity, my perspective, my place on earth.  God was certain when He made me.

I have won the victory and have race’s white flag. It surrenders to me.  Race is defeated and I will not fight it again.  There is no competition, nothing that competes with me.

I am stronger; race is weaker.  I am superior; race is inferior.  I am the majority; race is the minority.  It is no match for me.

I have proven my strength; race is no rival.

I have held my position; race does not move me.

I know who I am; race does not threaten me.

I have nothing to defend when it comes to race. I can turn my back on it because race is not an adversary. I can let my guard down because it cannot attack me.

I no longer struggle with race because I am progress, moving beyond it, battle won: post- racial.


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Christ Saved My Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChrist saved my life from stereotypes. “In Him, “I am a new creature and all things become new” (Second Corinthians 5.17).  I am not more of the same old colored people, another addition to the racial group.  I am not another number, added into the racial majority or minority.

Christ saved my life from prejudice. In Him, I am clothed. “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.27-28).  In Him, I am one.  Christ makes me whole.

Christ saved my life from segregation. “In Him, I live, move and have my being” (Acts 17.28). There is no basis for fences or boundaries, assigned seating or separate entrances, warning or caution signs in Christ.  All can come to me because I come from All.

Christ saved my life from hatred. In Him, there is perfect love and God is love perfected.  “There is no fear in love. But, perfect love drives out all fear” (First John 4.18).  God casts out, calls out, circles the fear in me.  It must leave me first before I can second guess the motivations of others.

I don’t have to be the person that race says that I will be because of the social coloring of skin, the external markers of race. Christ gave me another life and way of being that is outside of this world and its oppressions, outside of me but inside of Him.  And all of me that is worthy of keeping, He has saved.


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Race and Misrepresentation

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mis·rep·re·sen·ta·tion/ˌmisreprəzenˈtāSH(ə)n/, Noun
1.  the action or offense of giving a false or misleading account of the nature of something

When we call ourselves racial beings, socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige people, we misrepresent our Creator.  God is not a racial being or a Racial Being, a supreme among supremes, defined or confined to physical, external, carnal clues, bound to the temporality of flesh. God is not a racial being, ruling and being ruled by what is seen.  God is Spirit, unseen and yet known, too often unexperienced but in every instance needed.

When we prejudge and hate, we misrepresent God’s love.  God’s love is not conditional, based on the social coloring of skin, given only to those who “look like Him.”  We are all made in God’s image because He has no favorites, no stepchildren, no distant relatives  (cp. Romans 2.11).  There is no chance that He would ever deny us.

When we stereotype and segregate, we misrepresent God’s unity, God’s community- kingdom, God’s togetherness.  God has it all together and has us all together in the palm of His hand (John 10.28).  God’s connectedness to all that He has created is never questionable. God touches and is in touch with every human being.  No member of His Body can be disconnected.

It does not matter what race says; race does not speak for God.  So, when it stands up in our lives, when it rises to speak on behalf of Scripture, it is always a misrepresentation.


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Segregation is Decreasing in Some Churches

That’s what yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article by Laura Meckler is reporting in “How Churches Are Slowing Becoming Less Segregated.”  In the article, the senior pastor of the Peoples Church of Cincinnati, Rev. Beard, makes a necessary connection, “If the church is segregated, no wonder the city is segregated.” For Reverend Beard, the Church determines the relationships and the way in which we interact within those relationships– not the government.  Interesting.

Meckler doesn’t gloss over the problems that arise when persons of different cultures attempt to worship under one roof but Reverend Mark DeYmaz’s conviction after reading Scripture (i.e. The Revelation 7.9-10) settles the matter: “If the kingdom of heaven isn’t segregated, then why on earth is the church segregated?”   I’ll leave that answer up to you as well as the rest of the article. 


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Give us the courage

how_to_heal_a_broken_heart_001God of all bravery, of all triumphs and victories, of every success and accomplishment,

God of guts and grit, of heroism and fearlessness,

Give us the courage to trust in You, the unseen and yet visible, hidden in plain sight within us.  Give us the audacity to believe that we need not search any longer, that You really are present in us, that we need only seek You in order to find ourselves.

Give us the courage to trust more in the unseen than the seen of us, to look within and stand firm, to live within and not back down, to dare to trust in spirit more than flesh, in vision more than eyesight, in Your eternal Word more than the armies of past actions.

Give us the courage to talk back to stereotypes and to deny prejudice a vessel, to say that I am not who has been but who will be.  Give us the determination to be new and to stay new, to not fall back into old patterns and traditions, behaviors and mindsets, hatreds and divisions.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God and put a new and right spirit within me” (Psalm 51.10).  Amen.


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Let’s Talk About the End of Race

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Last week, I wrote about why the church doesn’t talking about race.  I listed the excuses that we make, which include: “It’s too hard.”  “It’s too sad.”  “It’s been too long.”  And, “I didn’t do it.”

Talking about the end of anything, whether good or bad, can be difficult.  It can even cause anxiety as we are uncertain as to how things will be once this experience is no longer available or that person is gone.  Though race causes an unusual and avoidable amount of pain, many of us cannot see ourselves apart from it.  We do not want to even entertain the thought and often say that race will be with us forever.

We would rather confess that race is eternal than admit our unhealthy dependence on this social construct.  Establishing it as eternal makes it immovable and untouchable, which releases us from the responsibility to respond or act.  But, race is not natural and it never belonged to us or with us.

And it is not eternal as it has a beginning and an end.  It is not heavenly or ethereal but as temporal as the flesh that it attempts to define.  So, why is it so hard to talk about the end of race?

1.  It’s hard because it’s painful.  We don’t want to admit it but race has hurt us, those we love and could have, should have loved.  Leaving would force us to acknowledge its wounds and that can prove difficult, even debilitating.

2.  It’s hard because it’s time- consuming.  We’ve made race so much of who we are and included its progeny in every part of our lives.  It will take a lot of time to figure out where we start and race ends.  Untangling ourselves from the ways of race is hard work.  Freedom is hard work.

3.  It’s hard because it’s personal.  Race gets under our skin because it’s talking about our skin, the closest thing to us.  And it can be difficult to face something that we trusted and now find has tricked us and caused us to much torment.

4.  It’s hard because it requires change.  We know that race is not good for us but we are “creatures of habit” and we have made race very comfortable in a strange kind of way.  It will require a change in perspective, language, expectations and outcomes.

5.  It’s hard because it’s ritual, habit, routine.  We have been racial beings, socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige people.  We don’t know how else to be seen or that there should be another option and that’s it’s better and true.  It is the only way we know so it is hard to believe that there is another.

6.  It’s hard because it is supported by society and the Church.  It’s hard to go against the culture and a system of beliefs.  It is difficult to go against time and time- honored traditions and customs.  Questions arise:  “Who will we share this new life with?  Will I be understood?  Who will I belong to?”

7.  It’s hard because it is misunderstood.  We believe in race and we don’t know why.  We look at our skin and say, “Okay.  I accept.”  But, our acceptance of race is not informed by researched knowledge, science or Scripture.  God never called us a race of people.  We have always been His children.

8.  It’s hard because it makes us feel good about ourselves.  Race is about pride: pride in ourselves to the misery of others.

9.  It’s hard because it’s sinful.  We do all sorts of things in the name of race and feel that it is an exception to God’s rule, that we get a pass, that there is a loophole in the law of God’s love.   But, race does not trump grace or mercy, forgiveness or reconciliation.  It applies to all persons no matter their appearance or socially assigned difference.  We don’t get to sin against persons or ourselves because of race.

10.  It’s hard because it’s hard to say, “Good bye.”  But, let me help you with this one: post- racial.  Good bye.


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Why we are the Church

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“The fellowship has its source and origin in Christ.”

~ Mary Rearick Paul

We are together because of Christ.  He is the Seamstress that knit us together (Psalm 139.13).

We come together because of Christ.  He is the Chief Cornerstone upon which our faith is laid (Ephesians 2.10).

We belong together because of Christ.  He is the Unity that unites us all (First Corinthians 6.17).

Together we are because of Christ.

Together we come because of Christ.

Together we belong because of Christ.

Amen.

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