Tag Archives: race and faith

The Separation of Race and Faith

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The social construct of race and its commandments are often used as supplemental material for the Bible.  Or, we take out the characters of the Bible altogether and insert our culture– but no one else’s.  God’s promises are for us and not them.  God is talking to us and not them.  The social construct of race empowers us to become replacement saviors and we step in as if Christ extended an invitation to us to fill his shoes.  Though often described as “the hands and feet of Christ,” there are no holes in either.

In fact, the social construct of race does not encourage us to open our hands to others but to walk in the opposite direction and self- segregate.  Our “color” made righteous, it is our skin that sets us apart.  The darkness reduced to flesh, we wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6.12).

For good or for ill, it is our race that gets the credit.  All glory belongs to socially colored beige/ black/ brown/ red/ yellow/ white people.  It is an accepted and understandable heresy.  We excuse this form of idolatry because it is the worship of self.

Race and its progeny do not echo the words of Christ; it does not enable or enhance his ministry.  Race is not a messenger of the gospel; it is good news is for “me and mine.”  Race leaves the world out and makes our culture the world around which everyone else should revolve.  This is why it is important to declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ is race-less.

Race does not work for God but against our humanity.  The social construct of race was and is not a part of the plan of salvation for human beings.  Our “race” does not gain us access to God.  Our righteousness is not in the social coloring of flesh but in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Confessing a race says that we belong to a colored people but as Christians, we are the people of God.

So, what will it be?  You and I will need to separate race from our faith.  Made in the image of God, the social construct of race does not supplement our identity.  We cannot be a colored person and a child of God at the same time.  Because it was never about having the right skin but being in right relationship with God.  It was the blood of Christ not the skin of Christ that saved us.

It is our hands that have gotten in the way.  Consequently, our hands will need to do the separating.  Race or our Christian faith?  Choose this day which one you will serve.

 

No end in sight

forever-tagThere seems to be no end to race- related remarks and incidents: Supreme Court Judge Scalia’s remarks on affirmative action,  ex- Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw’s trial for the rape of vulnerable African American women, the suspension of cadets for KKK outfits and on and on.  I have lost count and track of the insensitivities and tragedies for this week alone.  The fact that I am not able to count them on two hands is but one indication that things have gotten out of hand.  Like so many others, I wonder when we will ever learn or love our neighbor for that matter.

But, I do not write to suggest that there is no hope.  As Christians, our hope is not in this world but our hope is in Christ (1 Cor 15.9).  This does not suggest the often unpalatable “pie in the sky” theology of heaven but our relationship with Jesus.  It is a reminder that believers are not tied to the moods and movements of our society.  We are able to maintain our stability only because of our foundation, which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor 3.11).

While our problems with race seem permanent, they are not enduring unlike our relationship with Jesus.  Keep the faith.  There is an end to race; it is but a matter of sight, of vision.  I write to remind us to fix our eyes on Jesus– not on reports from television, IPhone or IPad screens.

 

Bigger Words

4485212670_692de0d90a“…as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)– in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” ~ Romans 4.17, NRSV

Paul is writing about Abraham, the father of our faith and likewise, the ability of our Father, God who “calls into existence the things that do not exist.”  As a child of God, I do believe that I have this same ability.

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There are days when I feel trapped in the ordinary, stuck chasing persons who talk, think and travel in circles and packs of the predictable, who have the same problems and resolve at the same conclusions every single time.  I point to a new path; they point to the crowd.  “Every one is going this way.  Why can’t you just follow history?  Why can’t you be who we have always been.”

It is because I have a vision of a race-less humanity.  I can feel the potential of our extraordinary being.  We are more than flesh; we are spirit.

I recognize that I am caught in the mundane but the mysterious is in sight.  I am inching closer to my true self with every declaration of race-lessness.  A race- less life is a Christ- filled life.

And in the same manner, I am moving close to the Eternal God though time often interjects.  The clock’s hands get in the way of this timeless, boundary-free existence.  They point to the past too, making connections that string me along until I see the pattern, the cycle… the circles.

I can’t walk that way.  Though my flesh attempts to ground me, my spirit soars.

And I have better words than race for my humanity, my being and belonging.  I have bigger words than its systems of hatred and rejection, of lawlessness and fear.  I have the omnipresent Word that cannot be segregated or divided, colored in or categorized.

God is the Word unspoken, self- existent and self- evident.  Made in God’s image, I cannot be what race suggests.  The word is simply too small.  There is not enough room for me there; I cannot conform.

So, I build the place my soul can inhabit.  Sight unseen, I call it into existence now.  Post- racial.

Unpacking the baggage of race

mood_tim-walker_iris-palmer-and-her-suitcases_italian-vogueThe American racial identity is baggage.  It is a bunch of small containers for our humanity that transport us to the destiny of history.  Race is a round trip backward.

There is so much to race, so much that we have to hold on to and positions that we cannot let go.  Race is cumbersome and gets in the way of who we really are.  It impedes our movement and slows our lives down.

The social construct of race is burdensome and too heavy to carry.  So, we should just put it down.  It is of no benefit and who packed these bags anyway?

Check the tag; where are we going with race?  How much is it going to cost?  Where is race taking us?  And do we really want to continue on this path?

Its history is heavy.  Its convictions are loaded.  Its summaries concerning human life are weighty.  We need to put race down. Being and identifying who we are is not this hard.  It does not take this much strength to be who God created us to be.

We are not what is in those bags?  We are not hatred or prejudice, anger or resentment, bitterness or jealousy, wrath or unforgiveness.  These are feelings not faces.  But, all of these things are folded neatly in the baggage of race, stored just in case we need to wear them.  And this is why our hearts are heavy and our souls are weighted down.  It is because race is a burden not a blessing.

These carry on items do not allow us to carry on with life as God intended but we have to stop and start again every day.  So, let’s unpack the baggage because where we are going, race is not needed.

 

Four years and one day later

images-1Happy anniversary!  I celebrated four years of writing about the social construct of race, America’s social parables and the ways in which they influence and inform our Christian faith… yesterday.  Obviously, it is a belated celebration but a noteworthy milestone nonetheless.  It is a cause for appreciation for and reflection on my writing life as I have noticed many ways in which these words have shaped me and strengthened my hands.

Writing about it as a discipline, talking it as an idol and thinking about race theologically through this blog have been of great benefit to me and have done much to encourage me along the way to raceless-ness.  I can look back and say, “I’m not where I use to be.”  Yes, race continues to affect and impact us negatively but my footing is different.  Its actions don’t move me, don’t unsettle me, don’t cause me to stumble in my conviction to love.

But, race also does not have the hold that it use to in America.  Our society is growing less and less tolerant of the presence of racism and its progeny.  In a society that seeks to be advanced, race looks backward and behind to us.  It questions our sacred image of “progressive.”  We may not be where we want to be as a nation but we certainly aren’t where we use to be.

I suspect that race won’t be with us for much longer, that it’s fighting to stay alive.  But it’s time has run out.  The days of race are short.

Its pulse is weakening and I can feel its life inside of me slipping away.  I am certain that if you have followed my writings these past four years and one day that you can feel it to.  Yes, there is much work to be done but let’s not talk about it.  Let’s do it.

Let’s talk and understand.  Let’s accept, forgive and reconcile. Let’s love and love and love.  Don’t wait another year; don’t give race another day of your life.  Next year around this time, let’s celebrate the anniversary of its death in us.  Happy anniversary in advance.