For 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?