What Race Reveals

“For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it but I received it through a revelation of  Jesus Christ.”

~ Galatians 1.11-12, NRSV, emphasis mine

I was taught that, as Christians, we have a “revealed religion” and while I liked the sound of it, I didn’t have much of an appreciation for it when the lesson was first shared.  I didn’t know what it meant and I had not fully grasped what it meant in the lives of those who professed, like Paul, to have “received a revelation of Jesus Christ.”  But, I think that I am coming to understand it now.

I believe that I have received a revelation of Jesus Christ and he is race-less.  The Christ of my faith is not socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige neither is the Christ of history.  This is not how he was revealed to me.  I am certain that the disciples did not choose to follow Christ because of what he “looked” like and race was not a factor in Christ’s choosing of them.  And it is not the reason why Christ chose me or any other to serve in his ministry.

Not only is race not employed in Christ’s revelation to us, but race is neither a revelation of God nor is it revealed through the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit does not lead us to this social truth.  We are not led to a racialized identity by this sweet Spirit, left with us by Christ.

No, race is of human origin.  It is revealed to us by flesh and blood, taught to us.  We know their names and have seen their faces. We were not surrounded by a bright light from heaven or visited by angels.  Instead, we are instructed on who to hate and love, to accept and reject, to bless and curse from kitchen and picnic tables, on playgrounds and at the mall, in Sunday school classes and locker rooms and yes, from pulpits.  This truth and our reality is not repeated often enough.  We want to believe in race because it is too difficult to face ourselves and the depth of our depravity that is exposed in our practice of the traditions of race.  Perhaps, it is just easier, less challenging to believe that we are supposed to, that God makes us do it, that the Scripture instructs us to, that Jesus did it.

But, Christ’s Church is not built upon race; instead, it is race and its children that seek to prevail against it (Matthew 16.18).  We have misunderstood the place of race, its order and resultant, power.  Race is our revelation, our understanding of our lives and that of others. The only thing that race reveals is that we have not truly seen ourselves, our neighbor or our God.

Our belief in race is one of the greatest self- deceptions. Unconscious, we are in that sad, cyclical state of deceiving and being deceived.  We lie and are lying to ourselves.  It is all a lie; no one is as race says that they appear.  There are no colored people.

Race is a counterfeit gospel and not a part of this “revealed religion” that was demonstrated by the confession of Peter or the witness of Paul. Today, I pray that you would receive a revelation of Jesus Christ and his race-lessness.  Amen.

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