“To put an end to something is an act of faith not an act of disloyalty.” Trish Miller, the new Mid- Atlantic Cooperative Baptist Fellowship coordinator, said these words over a lunch meeting with other CBF pastors. Her words were unexpected. What was a regular conversation about denominational life became what Eugene Peterson calls “a daily pentecost.” I felt a mighty wind blow on me and it quickened my conviction concerning the race-less gospel.
“Who said that?” While she was wiping her mouth and after putting down her sandwich, she replied, “Gordon Cosby, founder of the…” Servant leadership School, I said, finishing her sentence. I knew his name and was aware of his work. But, I had not heard this before.
She began saying that it was not an exact quote but it was close enough for me. I had it and I was not going to give it back for her to rephrase. I grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper from my purse to write it down. I wanted her to say it again just as she had before.
By this time, the lady that she was actually talking to had given her words more thought and she too now asked for a sheet of paper. Now, we both asked her to repeat his words. Afterwards, I told Trish that the statement alone was worth the drive. I don’t even know what preceded it but I am so glad that I had heard it. I don’t know who Cosby was speaking to or what act he had in mind when he shared his insight. But, he was speaking to me that afternoon.
This journey toward race-lessness is an act of faith. I trust that the racialized identity and its life that I have left behind are not worth comparing to the new life in Christ that I have already received. I believe that as I continue to walk away from race, increasing the distance between it and me, that I will see more of myself in Christ Jesus. And in so doing, I don’t feel that I have betrayed who I am, that I have abandoned “my people” (whoever they are), that I have sided with the oppressor (whoever he or she is).
I am doing this for God. I am replying to an invitation that He sent to me, answering a question that He placed deep inside of me, rising to a challenge that He has given me. I want to be found faithful to Christ even it means that I have to deny all of who I thought myself to be. “It is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2.20).