Tag Archives: the raceless gospel

Breaking all the rules of race

I’m feeling rebellious this morning, like something new and necessary should be done.  I am not interested in contributing to this American society as it has been but would rather pursue what God says can be– not only for me but for all those who would leave race behind.  I am tired of living life afraid of what I think that I missed out on because of race/ racism/ prejudice.  I am tired of living my life afraid of others who I have never spoken to and who have never spoken to me.  I am tired of living my life afraid of what race has done, could and will do to me, obeying its rules which do more to disrupt and disorder my life.

I refuse to live my life based on rules for which persons agree are ungodly, unfounded and unnecessary.  I’m breaking all the rules of race for the rest of my life beginning with these:

1.  I will love the God not made in my own socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige image but embrace the mystery that our stereotypes pretend to reveal and accept the sovereignty of the One whose will is not determined by the whims of racism or prejudice.

2.  I will not place my cultural identity, heritage and its history above the supreme reality of God but will strive to “live, move and have my being” in the newness of Jesus Christ (Acts 17.28).  The celebration of socially color- coded histories (i.e. black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige history month) is not to be compared with or subjected to our time with God and in eternity.  God has done more than any people group individually or combined with others and all that we are able to accomplish for good according to His will is because of God and for His glory.

3.  I will not practice the traditions of race as if they satisfy the will of God for me, my cultural group or others.

4.  I will not place the commandments of racism (i.e. “Thou shall hate them before they hate you.  Thou shall oppress because you deserve to be on top.  Thou shall not forgive because a relationship with ‘them’ is purposeless and without value.”) above the commandments of God, seeing the latter as impossible and ideal in nature only and the former as the mature response to oppression, abuse and hatred.

5.  I will not allow my eyes to be coopted by the stereotypical lenses of others.  I will experience life for myself and not on race’s terms.  I will allow persons to introduce themselves to me and disregard the prideful, self- serving introductions of racism and stereotypes.

6.  I will not go along quietly and be held hostage to the hatred of others for which rational reasons have not been accounted for.

7.  I will have more than one socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige friend.  I do not accept “token” friendships but seek authentic relationships and dialogue.

8.  I will not play the race game, carry or collect race cards.

9.  I will not identify myself or others based on race.  I am not a colored human being.  I am simply a human being.

10.  I will talk about race until I am blue in the face.

How does race bring glory to God?

“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death.”

~ Philippians 1.20

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” ~ Westminster Shorter Catechism

Paul writes these words to the saints at Philippi while in prison.  Earlier in the letter, he says to them, “What has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear” (1.12-14).  What an amazing testimony!  He has gotten into trouble for spreading the gospel and continues, while in chains, to spread  the good news to those around him and to the believers at Philippi.  Paul has not allowed his present condition to dissuade him to stop speaking.  Instead, it has only changed his audience.  Not only that but it has encouraged others to speak in Christ’s name with the fear of imprisonment because he is in prison and remains faithful to the message.

Paul continues to speak boldly, believing that either in life or by death, Christ will be exalted in his body.  He has given his body as an instrument to be used for God’s glory if not in the way that he lives then in the manner in which he dies.  Paul wants God to be recognized through the actions of his body.

How does race assist us in glorifying God in and through our bodies?  How does race and the racialized body spread the good news of Jesus Christ?  How does it encourage us to proclaim the message of a new life in Christ brazenly and courageously? If race is used to engender hatred and bring division, if race seeks to exalt itself above the knowledge of Christ and the position of God as Creator, how then can our being black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige Christians assist us in our chief end, which is to bring glory to God?  The answer is quite simple.  It can’t and because it cannot, we should not keep it.  We must shed our bodies, our identities, our lives of race and pursue the raceless life, proclaiming the raceless gospel of Jesus Christ so that we might bring glory to God.