I have ordered nearly forty new books for the new year. Half are on race and the other half focus on the spiritual life and Christian community. Along with you, they are my conversation partners. I feel that no one wants to talk about race as much as I do, at least not in the way that I do. I want to talk us out of it. I want to talk about race until it is discredited, waved off as a distraction from our true human being, until race is stereotyped as a lazy interpretation of people groups, a liar, not to be trusted with our fellowship.
And I want to say it again and again, year after year and in every ear.
William Willimon has mine tonight. He is saying everything that I need to hear in his book Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism. Head nodding, I am in agreement with him and in his Amen corner. I turn another page because I need him to say more, to say something different and to repeat the truth again:
“Race is a socially constructed, psychologically rooted attempt to name humanity through human designations. Christians defiantly believe that our identity and our human significance are bestowed upon us not by our culture, family, or skin color but rather given us in baptism.”
We know this to be true but it bears repeating so I will say it again tonight and for the rest of my life. Baptized with Jesus Christ, his gospel is raceless.