“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
Romans 12.3-5, NRSV
The church in America is led by race and consequently, is convinced that she must live, worship and serve for herself and for her own people (cp. Second Corinthians 5.15: “And he died for all so that those who live might live no longer to themselves but for him who died and was raised for them.”). Convinced that our manner of worship is the right, correct or proper way, we continue to segregate ourselves and in so doing, create our own racially approved version of a god, wrongly believed to be the God of Judaism and Christianity.
Because we believe that we can serve both race and God or a racialized version of God, we suppose and teach that Christ died for some and not all. Since we cannot ascertain the motives and intentions of the heart, this judgment is based solely on appearance. They don’t look like us and they don’t live like us so God is not for them but us. We judge whether or not persons are members of the body of Christ based on socially constructed and racially approved characteristics.
This logic continues then that God also looks like us, just as we want God to. Race is our definition and demonstration of goodness and perfection. The God who is Spirit is created with external characteristics (John 4.24). Impossible though it may be, we reverse the power and the creature becomes the creator, making a god in our image.
Such self- serving reductions of sacred Scripture, proof of the continued impact of colonialism, are not supported by any stretch of the religious imagination. Instead, we are called to unite, challenged to change our mind about ourselves, our neighbor and our God. But, we must cast down the imaginations of race and humble ourselves before the truth of God, constantly confessing that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. God’s thoughts are higher; they do not lower one human being so that the other might be exalted.
We must stop using the Word of God to do what we want to but we must employ the Word of God to strengthen us to do what we would not. God is our divine Parent and if we always want to do what God tells us, then God is not our parent. If God is always in agreement, always supporting, always in favor of and offering no discipline, correction or counsel, then maybe God is our peer.
Perhaps, God is our partner, helping us to do what we want to do. If God is following in your footsteps, then we are not following God but ourselves. And this is the goal of race: to make us gods in our own eyes and subject the true God to its rule– if only in our minds. But, we are commanded “not to think of (our selves) more highly than (we) ought to think, but to think with sober judgement.”
We have amputated parts of the body of Christ not because they were unhealthy but because we did not like them. Unable to replace them, still we removed them because they did not match. And we find ourselves disabled, crippled due to our stubborn resolve to believe in race.
But, we cannot function without all of our limbs and organs. The body of Christ cannot survive without all of her members. We cannot segregate the eye from the head and not cause blindness. We cannot segregate the foot from the leg and not cause a limp. We will not live, move or have our being as God intended until we are reconciled to one another. Frankly, we have not fully been reconciled to God until we do.