What Our Faith in Race Reveals

 Race should not be confused with God though it is often an unconscious and easily accessible substitute, our go- to god and our alternative deity.  Our faith in race is one passed down to us as a supplement to our Christianity, evident in the unspoken belief that there are scenarios in America’s racialized society that the Word of God does not apply to, that cause its statutes to appear more a utopian ideal than an achievable expectation even for followers of Christ.  However, our faith in race suggests that God does not know all things, that God is no longer the expert on humanity, that there is something else that knows us better than we know ourselves.  This hidden belief in race suggests that Jesus does not fully understand our experience of suffering because if He did, He would not ask us to turn the other cheek or to love our enemy.  Our acceptance of race is actually a temptation to sin as it provides pseudo- loopholes and offers occasions wherein we might choose to respond as race/ism dictates as opposed to that of the Word of God.

Sadly, we are temples for race and race worship, walking about the world as colored people.  We conform our bodies to the image of whiteness, in hopes of attaining a social perfection and subsequent economic freedom.  We practice the commandments alongside that of a racial code of ethics, substituting one for the other as the occasion or person permits.  But, race and its progeny, that is stereotypes, self- segregation, racism and prejudice, have coopted the will of God and the chief end of humanity.

We have subjected God to the will of race and God, in turn, has become a racial being.  God has become a means to a racial end.  However, race and our belief in and practice of racism do not bring glory to God but to race.  Today, we want to know whom God is for and against and what color Jesus is.  For some of us, there is no doubt that Jesus was/is a “white” man with blond hair and blue eyes.  His body must represent the socially constructed image of purity and safety or His ability to save humanity is to be questioned. For others, we can only accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior if He was/is a “black” man.  Jesus’ suffering on the cross for our salvation and redemption is not sufficient but Jesus must be made in the image of the oppressed to authenticate His experience of suffering.  We have turned the image of God on its head and now God must bear our image.

Race draws our attention away from God and to ourselves.  Our sanctification by race through color is an external perfection that deems Jesus’ sacrificial death inapplicable and useless because it cannot make us white.  Our faith in race reveals the shallowness of our Christian conviction, the true motivations of our discipleship and the reality that we do not trust the promise of the One who said that He came that we might have life and life more abundantly– not based on our appearance but on our acceptance of Him.

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