“Of all the major institutions in our society, the church is still the most segregated. Americans of different races work together, play together, study together and entertain eachother. But seldom do they pray and worship together.”
~ David R. Williams
“A great many black Americans view their white fellow citizens with anger. And a great many white Americans view their black fellow citizens with fear.”
~ Jacques Barzun, Race: A Study in Superstition
“Among large numbers of Christians, racism has been the other faith or one of the other faiths.”
George D. Kelsey, Racism and the Christian Understanding of Man
If there is one thing that I do not like about the Church, it is the fact that its members have incorporated the doctrine of race into the practice of our faith in Jesus Christ. Though we claim to have experienced the freedom found in him and proclaim it from week to week, we are quite comfortable with the yoke of race. We confess that we are all God’s creation, that we are all made in God’s image. Yet, when we describe persons racially, we define them in ways that would attempt to erase the fingerprints of God. We confine them to our eyes and we believe that we have put our finger on identity when we call her or him a color.
Being colored people imprisons us, unable to move beyond the flesh to the spirit.
How we ever agreed to use the flesh as a measurement of one’s acceptance to God while confessing a faith for which Jesus’s flesh and blood paid the price, I will never understand. Nowhere in Scripture is the social coloring of flesh and to that end, our physical appearance ever used to determine our relationship with God or proximity to the presence of God. See all heart references. That hierarchy is purely a figment of the social imagination. Our skin and our sins are two different things; they are synonymous or indicators of good and evil.
Being colored people and being Christians are mutually exclusive.
But, we did not stop there. We subjected God to our belief in race. Consequently, God was now socially colored beige, black, brown, red, yellow and white. Either all at the same time or perhaps separately as there have been books written to that end with the suggestion of a “Black Jesus” and a “White Christ.” We have allowed race not only to pull us apart but to pull Christ apart, crucified afresh (Hebrews 6.6).
Supremely spiritual, the Invisible, Immortal and Eternal, we called God a white and a black man, put God on our side and against those we were opposed to. But, there are not enough crayons, markers, pens or paints to color God in. God’s presence is endless. Our colors will run out before God does.
Being colored people binds us to our flesh. Perhaps, we are actually afraid of becoming spirit. Maybe this is an attempt to keep the Spirit in and to keep us out. Separated again.
So, what should the Church do about race? Get rid of it. Crush this idol. Flee from it and don’t look back so that we can look at each other again and see the face of God.