Tag Archives: God is not a white man

Making God in the Image of Whiteness

Image result for god as a white man imageHow did the invisible, immortal and eternal God become a blonde haired, blue eyed socially colored white man?  Who approved of this gross social reduction and theological diminishing of the Divine?  And why do we continue to go along with it?

Why do we worship whiteness as if the God of the Christian faith?  Why do we look to those we have made socially colored white as saviors and deliverers?  Why do we place our hope in them?  Why do we celebrate this image above all others– even God’s?  And why does the Church cherish, celebrate, form its doctrines, write hymns, start churches, do missions based on this idea?

I have so many questions as to why whiteness became the answer to the human condition.  Why do we believe that whiteness is the solution to all of our problems?  That whiteness is the cure and our saving grace?

Surely, if our hands are too short to box with God, they are not long enough to paint God white.  So, it is our imagination.  In our minds, God is ‘a white man.’  But, what does this private confession mean for the practice of our faith, the nature of fellowship, the command to love and live as Christ did?  How does our belief in whiteness impede our conversations about God and with God?  How has the social construct of race gotten in the way of our relationship with God?

Now, if we think that God is just fine with this arrangement, then our assumption is false.  God is self- existent; consequently, our attempt to paint God in, to hold paint brushes, crayons and markers as if we can not only see God face- to- face but know exactly how it looks (or perhaps, should look), goes against this truth.  Because God is self- existent, God can and does live without human needs, especially the human and acutely American one to identify with a race.

God is not made in the image of whiteness because God is not made with human hands, that would be a reversal of the creation narrative.  This attempt to describe God in colors suggests that we have a kind of insider knowledge about the Divine, that God is really one of us.  But, this is simply not true.

God is not white because we are made in God’s image; God is not made in ours.  So, God is not coming back for a “race” of people, a particular culture, only one country or continent.  Color may dictate our will but not God’s.  It may be a part of our imagination but that has no bearing on the image of God, where God can be seen and who God walks with in the world.

Making God in the image of whiteness blinds us from seeing God altogether.

Before God Was White: The Rumblings of a Race-less Theology

Image result for Jesus White House“God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

~ John 4.24, NRSV

Halloween is over and yet, it seems nearly impossible to remove the mask of whiteness from the face of God.  Now a spooky, to be avoided, death- wielding deity, this socially colored white God has it in for all oppressed people.  But, this is a trick of race.  God is not a white man.

The social construct of race remakes God in the image of whiteness.

Instead of the Church placing race under the scrutiny of sacred Scripture, she allowed Scripture to be scrutinized by and rewritten from the perspective of race.  Bad Church.  In most if not all cases, our personal theology does not inform our understanding of race but race determines our understanding of theology.  In our minds, the eternal, immortal and invisible God can be colored in.  In our minds, the omnipotent God can be told who to love and to hate according to our prejudices.  In our minds, the omnipresent God can be segregated, partitioned off, cornered by one community of “color.”

But, when did color become all- powerful?  Greater than God?  Greater than us?  Greater than God could ever be?

When did “the future of our race” become the historical narrative and present aim of the Church?   And what of our faith in a past filled with putrid, hateful relationships with ourselves, members of our family and those we would define as “the enemy” reflects the nature of our fellowship? When did the will of race become the will of God?  Why do we color- code our theology?  Why must God be socially colored beige, brown, black, red, yellow or white in order for us to believe that God is with us and for us?  And in turn, that God is with them and those people too?  When did we begin to worship race and to identify God as a colored human being?

I know that this may be hard to believe but there was  time when God was not socially colored white.  God existed (and still does) outside of the segregated categories of race.  God was (and still is) omnipresent and thus, unable to be confined to a community or culture of people.  “God so loved the world…” (John 3.16).  To color- code power, that is white power, black power and so on, is to limit God’s supremacy.  It implies that the Spirit of God can be restricted and somehow harnessed by human hands.  God’s identity wasn’t, isn’t and never will be the sum total of racial attributes.  To racialize God is an attempt to stereotype Mystery.

A theology that is racialized, that describes God as a beige, brown, black, red, yellow or white man, is not talking about the God of the Christian faith but the God of the American faith.  It is faith in skin, white skin mostly and not in the salvific work of Jesus Christ achieved on a cross more than 2,000 years ago.  God is not involved in a race war but is fighting for our salvation.  God is after souls not the social coloring of skin.

 

Reflect on the statements below and consider where you may have painted God white.  May they cause a rumbling in your theology as well.

God is not a white Person.

God’s goodness is not whiteness.

God’s power is not white supremacy.

God’s blessing is not expressed in white privilege.

God’s love is not based on the social coloring of skin or any other real or imagined physical attribute.

God is Spirit and consequently, cannot be segregated, redlined and thereby, captured by one socially colored group, particular community or culture.

God is not a member of a race.  It is a social construct and God is self- existent.