Tag Archives: a race-less life

Putting Race In Its Place

“We must constantly and critically explain the purpose, perversity and persistence of race as a relatively new category in modern history if we are to address racism effectively.”

~ David Roediger, How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon

I am reminded often of the importance of this daily call to discipleship with Christ and apart from the social construct of race.  I understand that it is an emotional and deeply personal journey with mirrors at seemingly every turn.  Even when we look away and try to focus on something else, we still must face ourselves. In America, we must ask, “How do I see the social construct of race and how does race influence the way that I see others?”

It is important for persons who are seeking fullness in Christ to begin to talk not about what race has done to us but what race is doing through us. If we are to be the body of Christ, then a complete and thorough examination of the impact of its racialization and subsequent segregation is imperative.  We must move the conversation inward, no longer pointing fingers but looking at our own hands.

It is safe to talk about race as a historical reality. It allows us to put distance between us and to keep the problem and the solution in the past.  But, race is not an old problem, which strips us of the excuse that it is  complicated and the belief that it will always be with us.

If we have lived without the social construct of race before, we can live without it again. Race is a new problem; human beings have been around longer.  So, we must stop talking about race and the ways that it has used us because we have employed it as a personal reference.

This is the nature of this soul journey toward freedom from race. It is the clear understanding that it is everywhere and always near, that it grossly distorts our self- image while holding itself up as a mirror, that it will attempt to get ahead of us if we don’t keep up the pace. We must put race in its place– behind us and never in front of our shared humanity.

What more can we say about race?

procurement_conversation

“I’m a problem.  You’re a problem.  We’re all a problem.”  That about sums up any conversation on race.

We have told “them” and “you people” how we feel for more than four hundred years and there have been responses.  We have enslaved, traded, murdered, marched, sat in, sung about it, been falsely accused, jailed and beaten, bombed, suffered dog bites and fire hoses, passed legislation, married, integrated, segregated more, hated still.

And we keep talking about race but to what end, hoping to reach what conclusion, believing that “they” will say or do or be what exactly to us?  What do we need this mysterious and unnamed “they” to do in order for us to forgive our faults and failures, to let go of our bitterness and fears, to give up attempts to dominate and to let down all of our guards?

At some point in the conversation, we have to accept that we have been heard and that “they” have responded, whether we like it or not, whether we feel it sufficient or appropriate or responsible or compassionate or enough.  How many words does it take to forgive? How many words does it take to forgive?

Because if we are continuing to say the same things and the response remains the same, then we have to change the conversation.  At some point, we have to forgive and make peace if only with ourselves, knowing that we have been hurt and heard, that we have survived and now thrive, that we can move on and move up.  We have to accept them as they are, understanding that we can change– even if they don’t want to.

What more can we say about the race problem?  I think that we have said enough.  I believe that it’s time to start talking about the solution, we human beings.  Race has interfered with and interrupted that conversation long enough.

What is race doing here?

We are very spiritual people… in church. We make for great Christians between 11 a.m. and noon. It is so easy to share a hymnal, to forgive someone who steps on our toe as she slides into the seat next to us, to smile and greet a new visitor.  We behave as if God only sees us in church, that we must only do our Sunday best.

Once the benediction is pronounced and before we walk out the door, we have already flipped the switch, turned our minds over to the ‘real world.’  We think that it’s okay, understandable, acceptable even to be carnal.  I mean, let’s be serious. This ain’t heaven and the world is not full of angels.  There is a time and a place for the practice of our faith and it’s on Sunday at 11 a.m. But, in so doing, we reveal that we are wearing a mask and our worship is a mere performance.

We don’t really believe that we can behave or believe in the world as we do in our sacred communities. We can’t be kind to persons outside of the church, right? We can’t forgive persons who are not members of our Sunday school class. We need to know them in order to practice our faith with them. Our love is only for those who love our God, right? Uh-uh.

Our society caters to the flesh, appeals to it, supports it.  And race does this so well. It says that we give our best to those who look like us. We are only kind, understanding, forgiving of those within our culture. Our systems support it. Our families teach it. Our egos like it.

But, what is the place of race in the life of a Christian? What is the role of race in our lives?  Why do we need it and why does it seem that we can’t do without it? When we go home, when we gather for worship, when we sit at our desk at work or school, why is race there?  What is race doing here with us very spiritual people?

Why a Race-less Life?

raceless“A Race-less Life is a Christ-filled Life”

At The Daily Race, we believe that a life lived without race is a life lived more fully in Jesus Christ. All social categories, classes and colors cease to exist; they are without meaning and merit as we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.  We stand in agreement with the words of Paul as recorded in his letter to the church at Galatia: “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3.28) and to the believers in Colossae: “Here, there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision an uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all” (3.11). The race-less life seeks to ensure that we are no longer divided against ourselves, our God and our neighbor.  Emphasizing the spiritual life and our renewal in the Spirit, our only position is in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1.1-14; 4.22-24).

The race-less life unites us more fully with Jesus Christ and with other believers as race seeks to prevent the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.  The race-less life then challenges the self- imposed and cultural boundaries constructed with stereotypes and prejudices and the authority of race to create and enforce them. We believe that the Body of Christ is not segregated just as the members of our physical body cannot be separated.  As God is reconciling us to Himself through the salvific work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are also being reconciled to each other (John 17.11, 20-23; Ephesians 2.11-22).

The race-less life is evidence of our baptism with Jesus Christ, an expression of the resurrected life. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3.27). We have taken off race to put on Jesus Christ.  It is the result of our new birth, of a life no longer lived according to the flesh and its laws (Romans 8.1-11).

The race-less life is a measure of Christ’s fullness in us.  As we are emptied of nationalism, cultural allegiance and the traditions of race, we are filled more with the character and witness of Jesus Christ. Race-lessness is a journey of awareness and self- understanding.  The more we know of Jesus Christ, the more we will come to understand about ourselves.  More of Christ, less of race.