In April, I talked about the ways in which being a multicultural church is easier said than done. How I wish that our faith would be enough to bring us together. Because it is more than enough if we would allow it. Our shared relationship with Jesus Christ is enough to bring us to the Lord’s table if we would put down our privileges and entitlements. Still, we want God to sit down with us and not them.
Praying hands should be able to hold hands, to join hands with persons of other cultures. Voices lifted to God should be able to speak to persons of other cultures. How is possible that God’s people, Jesus followers practice racism, prejudice and stereotyping? Surely, we have forgotten his commandments. Obviously, we are not following in Christ’s footsteps.
Sin is the biggest difference yet God did not allow this to come between us; instead God became like us in Jesus Christ. But, we cannot get over the differences in our appearance, perspectives and traditions? Yes, we pretend to for one day and a couple of hours on Sunday mornings. Fooling no one. Well, maybe just one– yourself.
But, time’s up. The scales must come off. If you read the list below, then your vision will return.
It might not be a multicultural church if…
- The members of different cultures do not have a relationship with each other outside of the church, if they only see each other on Sunday mornings, if all they have found themselves to have in common is that they attend the same church.
- You cannot talk about race, racialized or race- related incidents with a measure of respect and understanding, without labeling or judging, without withdrawing from the conversation through silence, reverting to stereotypical assumptions or resignation because you are right and they are always wrong.
- Your talking about race threatens your relationship with other cultures, if there is an unspoken rule that we don’t bring race up around here and if someone does, they are ostracized (because race has nothing to do with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, our faith, worship, right?).
- You don’t know the cultural cues, customs and traditions of the other cultural groups represented and you don’t see a need to.
- You speak disparagingly about the dress of other cultures, critique, criticize or seem confused by their hairstyles or clothing choices or see their appearance as something to be tolerated (if only in your mind).
- You speak of the other cultures represented as persons to be fixed, helped, aided and view yourself as the source of their change (if only said to persons of your cultural group).
- You see the cultures represented as an internal missions project, a do- it- yourself renovation of those people (Remember: You don’t have to say it; you need only think it and operate from this premise.).
I hope that this post is challenging. It might even upset you. And if it does, ask yourself why?
One last thing, sitting on the same pew does not make you a multicultural church. It’s more than a new seating arrangement. We will all need to come a whole lot closer if we are to be a true multicultural church.