Recently, I have been considering the meaning of belief as it relates to the Christian faith. My readings and writings have been led by this desire to understand more fully what I mean and in turn, what others are saying when we confess, “I believe.” For the past couple of months, I have led a small group study of Kyle Idleman Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, which left me with this pressing question: “How do we know the difference between a screaming fan of Christ and a follower of Jesus?”
This past Sunday, I delivered a sermon concerning the nature of belief and the various interpretations of belief. I began the sermon with statements that I had heard Christians say concerning their faith like “I’m a Christian but I don’t go to church.” “I am Christian but I’m not religious.” “I am a Christian but nobody’s perfect.” Frankly, they sounded more like disclaimers and they, too, leave me with questions.
On Tuesday, I led a workshop titled “Shoes Required: Walking out the Gospel of Peace” and the group discussion quickly revealed that there are several layers to our meanings, that peace practiced is very different from peace talked about. So, what do we mean when we say that we believe in peace? I know. More questions.
However, questioning is a natural part of belief. So, it seems only natural to question my belief in race. What do we mean when we identify ourselves by socially constructed races? What are we saying when we call ourselves colors and why do we believe?
What is the nature of this faith and our commitment? How is that God gives us free will to confess Christ or not but we have no choice as it relates to this social construct? And if our skin is really not beige/ black/ brown/ red/ yellow/ white, then what are we really saying about ourselves, our neighbor and our God?
Do we believe in race or in the natural inferiority and superiority of people? Do we believe in race or the sovereignty of societies and cultures? Do we believe in race or natural privileges and disadvantages? Proven not to be a biological reality but a social invention, what do we believe and does it really have anything to do with race?
I believe that race is nothing more than a concoction, a cover up, which prevents us from truly seeing and consequently, believing who we really are: all God’s children. So, for that reason, I don’t believe race at all.