Tag Archives: aracial gospel

How Race Slowly Kills Us

Are you living or dying?  Well, if you believe in the social construct of race, then your life is a slow yet acceptable death.  At birth, we are told that we are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige, that this is the way things are so we might as well get used to it.  Get use to being stereotyped and pre- judged.

Welcome to the world!  Now, go ahead and die: die to your divinely inspired self, kill your dreams and aspirations– because race says so.  Because you are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige, this is what you are allowed, expected and limited to doing, being and believing about yourself (and other cultural groups).

Race tells us who we are; it does not assist us in our becoming.  Instead, race stunts our growth and stops any conversation that centers around the divine gifts that God has created us to be.  Race says that we are a problem to be solved, fixed, eliminated.  But, God says that you are a gift to be celebrated, opened and appreciated.

And you are not even a new problem but more of the same old problem we’ve had with “those people.”  No, we have nothing new to contribute; our life is nothing special.  We are just like “them,” more of the same stereotypical human beings.

Race tells us to join the crowd, to stand behind the color line like the rest of them.  Race says that we must jump into a box so that it can check us off.  Our becoming in terms of race is then finished.

Some say, “Things will never change” but I am not a thing.  I am a new creature in Christ and am being changed (Second Corinthians 5.17).  Others say, “That’s just the way it is” but that sounds like a eulogy.  I am not dead but alive.

Stop the funeral procession!  I am still moving, still growing, still able to impact the world– even if it’s only my own.

“So how is race slowly killing us,” you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you and remind myself.  Race slowly kills us because:

1. We prepare our lives for the worst.  Race tells us that simply because we exist, bad things will happen, that people will believe bad things about us, that we are bad people who do bad things.

2.  We believe there is no hope.  Convinced that because we cannot change the social coloring of our skin that we are stuck in a particular social condition, we do not aspire to live beyond the stereotypes or to think outside of racial prejudice.

3.  We agree with race and deny our true selves the right to speak.  We take the word of race over our own and will quiet our dreams out of respect for the prejudices of race.  We want even allow our hearts to speak.  Unfortunately, we believe more in race than our selves.  We believe more in our socially constructed race than the Divine image in which we were created and in so doing, race slowly kills us, by telling us who has been and not who we are.

 “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”

~ Psalm 118. 17

 

Race is a ‘different gospel’

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel– not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaim to you, let that one be accursed!  As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!”

~ Galatians 1.6-9, NRSV

Paul writes to the churches of Galatia and to us to remind us of the freedom that we have in Jesus the Christ.  The churches in Galatia had been converted to this new faith and were walking in its liberating life and love.  Paul had removed the shackles of regulations only to return and find them restored.  And it happened rather quickly!

Why?  Because it was familiar and it was what they knew.  They knew the law but were not yet familiar with God’s grace, that is God’s unmerited favor not based on works or in our case, the social coloring of skin.

This response is similar to that of today’s Christians.  We have experienced an emancipatory conversion through our relationship with Jesus and now live in the Spirit, liberated from the laws of the flesh.  But, it does not take long before we, too, turn our ears to those familiar voices and experiences.  Afraid of the newness of life that Christ provided, we will arrest ourselves and detain ourselves.  We will sentence ourselves and walk back into the cages of the socially constructed identities of race and the legality of the social coloring of skin.  This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is a different gospel.

What is the gospel, the good new of Jesus the Christ for the 21st century?  It the same message that was given in the first century: “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (First Timothy 1.15).  Those are the only persons that he came for and it is the only category that all of humanity fits into.  We post- modern Christians want to do as Christians have before us.  We want to make the gospel new and even popular.  Well, referring to humanity as sinners is not new and it certainly isn’t popular.

What do race and sin have to do with each other?  What sin does the belief in race produce?  Race is pride in appearance, the external salvation of the self and the belief in the supremacy of humanity– even above God.  Race says that our salvation is found in the social coloring of skin not the salvific work of Christ on the cross.

It is an old sin draped in new words.  But, the worst of its kind, the creature attempting to be like the Creator in ability and knowledge.  Race offers the same deal that the serpent in the Genesis narrative offered to Eve (Genesis 3.1-7).  And the Church’s response imitates that of Adam: silent acceptance and subordination to race.

Frankly, the American Church is but a tool, a part of the machinery of capitalism as it was for slavery and Naziism.  Today, the Church is commercialized, a brand that wants to sell a new product.  We want to have the “latest and the greatest,” the shiny new toy.  But, the message of Jesus Christ is more than two thousand years old and it has not changed.  We have changed but Jesus has not.  He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13.8).

We have allowed race to translate the gospel instead of the gospel translating race to us.  Race tells us who Jesus is and not vice versa.  Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon write in Resident Aliens, “By the very act of our modern theological attempts at translation, we have unconsciously distorted the gospel and transformed it into something it never claimed to be… (We have) transformed the gospel rather than ourselves” (22-23).

We can change the methodology but what it means to be Christian today is the same as it was when Jesus walked the earth: “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16.24).  The cost of discipleship remains unchanged: follow Jesus, deny yourself and die.

Race is a perversion of the gospel.  It says, “Follow socially colored white people.  Deny yourself in order to become like them (i.e. “act white”) and die to the true, authentic and new self that God has called and created you to be.  It is the good news of the flesh, the celebration of the social coloring of skin and that skin is ‘white’ (but not really).  This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ but different gospel and I join in Paul’s repetition, “As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!”  Race is another gospel.

Race War Weary

“Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from?  Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?

~ James 4.1, NRSV

We know that we are not physically colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige, that we are apart of one long social and pseudo- scientific experiment based on the self- serving theory that one group of human beings is better and greater than all others; consequently, needing all of the earth for themselves.  We agree that race is a sociocultural construct, that there is not a single shred of biological evidence that would support such a belief system, that the practice of genocide, oppression and enslavement are never justified or excusable but are demonstrations of our sinful nature.  We believe that there is no reason, no rationale that can be given as to why all of God’s creation can not live on the earth without the threat of harassment or molestation just for simply and naturally being.

But, that does not matter.  This on- going war is about hurt and pain, not just who hit first but whose hurt will last and land them on top of the heap, a modern attempt at being the king/queen of the hill.  There is no denying that we have all been hurt and that we have all hurt others– if only in our hearts (Matthew 5.27-28).  And before we can be personally touched by the prejudices of others, we inherit the experiences and expectations of parents, teachers, friends and Christian leaders.

We strangely and eagerly pass it on: Get ready for the race war! You will be attacked so it is best that you strike first.  They are out to get you so be aware and beware.  Stick with each other.  Don’t forget where you come from.  Remember your history.  Or, be quiet.  Get down.  Stay out of it.  Don’t get involved.  They have nothing to do with us.  This is none of our business.  Don’t talk to them.  Don’t make friends with them.  This is the language of the race war.  These are fighting words.

We have all been enlisted in this race war.  Our parents made this decision before conception that we would be a part of the fight, that we would need to be on the “right side of history.”  But what are we fighting for now?  Who are we fighting against now and for how long?  And what of all this present time?  Must I give it all up in service to history?

Will there ever be a time of reconciliation?  Will we always hate each other?  Is there no place to put down our prejudices, to lay aside our resentments, to forget or forgive?  The answer is yes, always, anytime and anywhere yes.

Our belief in race and practice of racism persists because we crave power and more so, power over others.  We want all of the attention because inside, we feel that we do not matter, that we are powerless.  We treat others as if they are invisible because we do not feel that we have been seen.  We push persons to the margins because it the place that we are most familiar with.  We have been there.

We can only treat people as we have been treated.  The truth is that this war is really not about race at all.  It is a collection of fights that we are all having with ourselves.

This race war begins and ends with us.  We must change our internal desires, our cravings for ourselves and in so doing, we will change our treatment of others.  When we get tired of fighting against our true ourselves, we will stop fighting others.

I, for one, am tired.  I am laying my weapons down and picking up a white flag of surrender this morning.  Will you join me?

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.