Category Archives: Post- racial

I need another word

 

See the source imageWe need new words.  I need new words, ones that roll off my tongue.  The colored ones get caught in my throat.  New being in Jesus Christ, these racialized ones don’t work for me.  They didn’t go down easily.  They didn’t stick to me.  I cannot make them a part of me, just take them when they treat me as foreign, my body no longer kin.

Race gets me beside myself, compared to someone else.  And I just want to be free.  I want this word off of me.  It has no right to rule over me.  I have something to say.  I have the final say in who I am and who I will be.  Still, race interrupts so frequently that I’ve grown tired and now it speaks for me.

Hold my tongue.

Hold my breath.

Die to self.

Die to who God created me to be.

Baptized with Christ, race should be dead to me.

Skin.

Ashes.

Dust.

I need to talk about it in the past tense.  Race was here.

America capitalizes on everything, even skin is its own kind of currency.  But, I am not buying it.  Change the market.  I want something else.  Because race is not another word for human.

No, I need a new word.

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Plain and simple: It’s Jesus or race

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“His (Jesus’) life must mean the death of race in us.”

| Brian Bantum, The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World

It’s not hard.  Letting go of race is not difficult.  I know that it is not something that we would consider and that you didn’t ask for assistance with.  I know that you two have your problems but they’re your problems.  I know that I should stay out of it, that its a personal problem, a social conundrum, a spiritual dilemma.  I really should keep my nose out of it and my two cents.  But, I can’t.

While some people can’t get their minds around this race-less gospel, they shake their heads in agreement. Yes, it is a social construct.  Yes, it is not a biological reality.  I know that color and country are not synonymous, that color is not my Creator.  Yes, I am more than skin but soul and Spirit- filled.  Yes, but no.

No.  We have to stop right there because they can’t go beyond this intellectual acceptance.  Yes, that was their confession but no.  Getting rid of race is too hard.  It will take more time.  No talk of starting now and no mention of when this racialized existence would come to an end.  They just know that it can’t happen.  It won’t happen anytime soon, in the near future.  Strangely, they cannot see a future when race is not near.

“Because who would I be without my color?  I have always been beige, brown, red, yellow, black or white.  How would I identify myself?  Who would I identify with?”

So much to lose and not enough to choose from.  Race has them covered.  Life can only make sense to them if they are colored.

You would think that I asked them to peel off their skin.

They speak as if they would cease to exist and though Christian, the idea of being born again never crosses their mind.  There is no need to enter the womb a second time (John 3.4).  Enter water and Spirit.

But, for those who confess Jesus as Lord, it seems way too easy to put race to death through our new life in him.  New creatures, we simply cannot stop identifying with race.  And worse still, we imagine that God cannot be identified apart from it.  But, we can have one without the other and only one cancels out the other.

So, what will it be– Jesus or race?

We’re going to need a bigger table

See the source imageI love Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper.  More than serving it, I love seeing the people that Jesus prepared a table for.  While our Communion tables could not accommodate all those we serve each Sunday, it is amazing to see just how many persons Christ aims to sit next to.  Forget elbow room or pulling up a chair, there isn’t much room for either.

And what is shared isn’t your typical meal.  By most standards, it isn’t much.  Juice and bread, most prisoners have it better.  But, for us, it is more than enough.  Symbolizing the body and blood of Christ, cramming our mouths with bread or gulping down the juice isn’t the point.  Savoring the morsel of bread, swallowing a meager amount of juice, we are satisfied with full hearts– not stomachs.

Not an invitation only gathering, this catered meal is prepared by Christ alone.  He is serving and being served.  Christ prepares a table and serves himself up to us.  Take and eat.

Christ prepares a table for us in the presence of our sworn enemies.  Leading by example, Christ prepares a table and sits down with his enemy, Judas.  Have a seat.  He makes room for persons who make us want to leave the room.  Jesus sits down when we would get up and storm out.  “I’m not talking to her!”  “I’m not sitting next to him!”

His table is so much larger than our own.  We can seat our four and no more.  During the holidays, we move to the formal dining room to accommodate more persons.  But, still, it is family members only.

When we partake in Communion, we see all the people that Jesus is willing to sit down with, crossing cultures and all of our lines.  He reminds me that the seating arrangement in churches across the country and the world does not accommodate all of his guests.  But, if we want Christ to be fully present to receive them, then we are going to need a bigger table.

A New Revised Serenity Prayer

See the source imageGod, grant me the serenity to accept that people are not the same,

Courage to change my perspective and to challenge my prejudices,

And the wisdom to celebrate our differences.

Amen.

 

 

Segregated Sundays: Conversations on Diversity, Hypocrisy, Race and Reconciliation

Image result for segregation and the churchFor the next few weeks, I will feature videos that discuss the plight of the Church in North America, which remains segregated– unlike the military, retail stores, hospitals and cemeteries, restaurants and movie theaters, bathrooms and water fountains, libraries, schools, buses and other modes of transportation.  While there are enclaves, it is illegal to discriminate and prevent persons from moving into a neighborhood based on the social construct of race.

So, why is the faith community not challenged, not held to the same standard?  Why didn’t we, as believers, integrate like the rest of American society?  Where are the protestors and the chants of “Hey, Hey/ Ho/ Ho/ Segregated churches have got to go”?  Why don’t we sit- in or boycott or march or write letters to our pastors and other spiritual leaders?

Worse still, many Christians don’t feel the need to change.  They sit comfortably on their pew, not discerning or discussing the need to challenge the assumptions of race in the practice of worship, in our demonstrations of leadership, in our understanding of discipleship, in our expressions of fellowship.  And they are not having the tough conversations about changing communities and demographics– at least not the courageous ones that matter, that challenge long- held positions of power and confront the loopholes in our nationalistic pride.

Segregated Sundays?  Jesus came from heaven to earth to save us but we will leave our church if the cultural or ethnic representation of the neighborhood changes.  Jesus stretched out his hands on a cross to die for us but we won’t stretch out of our hand to greet one another because we belong to a different culture.  What of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment?

“For God so loved the world” but we will have separate ourselves “in Jesus’ name.”  How is it that we can work together during the week but will not worship together on Sunday morning?  What of our faith makes this practice acceptable, agreeable, just, practical and right?  How can we be anything but hypocrites if we subject our relationships to the conditions of the social construct of race while proclaiming security in the unconditional love of God?