“For ‘In him we live and move and have our being.'”
~ Acts 17.28, NRSV
Persons may wonder how I can talk about race the way that I do. For me, it is a matter of allegiance. I recognized some time ago that I could not serve God and believe in race. I had to choose one and every day, I choose to believe in God and God’s Word– not race.
I do not honor or believe in race and suspect that there are more unbelievers out there. We just need someone to say it, to deny it: race-less. You don’t need race and in fact, our humanity is better off without it.
And I no longer swear by it. Race’s stereotypes get people wrong all the time. It prevents authentic communication and relationship with God, ourselves and every one else. Because we not only live by our prejudices but we hide behind them. (Peek- a- boo. God sees you.)
I suspect that if one is still identifying her and himself according to the terms of race, that she and he have not met their true or new self in Christ (cp. Galatians 3.28; Colossians 3.11). Frankly, race does not assist in self- discovery or self- actualization. It prevents it and thrives on our unwillingness and disinterest. Our belief in race is a bad one as it creates problems all around… even with ourselves.
Race creates a sense of dissatisfaction within and around us that only grows. It is a part of all that we are and the world that we live in because race is about living, moving and being. And that’s God’s territory, which makes race a theological problem.
Race is theologically problematic because the racial identity conflicts with our God- given identity and the identity that we have through Christ Jesus. Even if persons do not confess Christ as their personal Savior and Lord (cp. John 14.6), they are still loved by God, “proven in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8). Unlike race, God’s love is unconditional.
The racial self does not come from God. It is socially validated not divinely attributed. The racial self does not seek to be transformed by God. It is also not focused on God but survival and supremacy.
Race is theologically problematic because it calls into question our relationship with God and bases it on the social coloring of skin, which can be a sin or our salvation according to the social construct. Race says that God sees us and consequently, relates to us according to the social coloring of skin and physical features– even though we are all made in God’s image. It raises concerns about my relationship with God and who God is. Since my identity is tied to my Creator, race then becomes a snare when it suggests that God created some persons for the sole purpose of domination and/ or to be hated and others to oppress and/ or to receive His love alone.
This racial favoritism, of course, impacts the way that we see and treat persons from different cultures. Clearly, race is a problem not a solution to our living, moving and being.