Race and Reason

“We have a faith that forces you to reason about what makes us who we are. … In truth, we are never quite sure what we believe until some one gets it wrong.”

~ Stanley Hauerwas, Without Apology: Sermons for Christ’s Church

” Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.” ~ Robert Bresso

Race does not make us who we are.  I knew this early on but wasn’t sure of what would be left of the world as I knew it once I said it.  I hated race and its words.  I just couldn’t see how they were coupled with the sacred Scripture.  How could I believe that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139.14) and a part of “the Negro Problem” ?

I had yet to come to the conclusion that Christ’s gospel was race-less but I did know that race was not for me but against me, that God’s plan for my life was not according to race or based on the one that society had picked out for me.  I did not come in a color and I knew that society had gotten it wrong.

If race is a social construct made of human hands and God is self- existent (and He is), then do human beings or God make us who we are?  This argument is not about nurture versus nature but human versus Divine.  Whose hand is upon us first?  Do we come from our parents or from God?  The psalmist tells us, “Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127.3).

Well, David, who composed Psalm 139, would argue and most, if not all, Christians would agree that it is God’s hand that is upon us first: “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.  In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed” (cf. Psalm 139.15-16).  No human being has this capability, this kind of knowing.  God is the only Author of humanity.  In the beginning and in the end, He is with us.

I have no reason to believe race over God.  I am not a race woman but God’s child who plans to make visible the race-less gospel of Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because I believe that God made me and that race gets its wrong.  God spoke me into existence; race could never say it any better.

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