Biblical Racial Reconciliation: Let's Begin the Dialogue!

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Greetings Brave Saints & Praise Be To God who is the Head of My life! When Christians begin to talk about reconciliation we must not begin with racial reconciliation. I believe we must begin this conversation with a new vocabulary. We must be reminded that Paul insists that we live out of our brokenness as new creatures, the old has passed away. Paul's appeal to us is that we be reconciled to God! Seeking Him first, seeking His way - his righteousness and our life together will bear the fruit of His reconciliation. I would like to invite folk to a beginning in this forum where we reach for a common vocabulary to communicate through our cultural bias; and that perhaps our goal is just to listen to each other and risk vulnerability. There is no right or wrong question or response that is spurred by the Holy Spirit. I will commit to staying connected especially through the tough spots. We must create a safe place for dialogue. A place where we grow and become more effective communicators across culture and race. A possible start-- How do we understand what reconciliation means alone? add racial reconciliation? next biblical racial reconciliation? Let's create a forum on reconciliation in the church that will glorigy God, build up the faith and provide pathways for healing and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen! Say it Again! Rev. Angela Taylor Perry Pastor of Reconciliation Faith CRC
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Dear Angela, thanks for your thoughts. Reconciliation is more than just "racial". This one is a fruit of our reconciliation with God. However, we need to realize that "racial reconciliation" is not so popular because it challenge us to recognize our weakness and issues with others. Moreover, we can't just talk about reconciliation in general and not talk about the our cultural differences and how can we respect to each other and also to learn and walk together as disciples of Jesus Christ, our common Lord and Savior.

Rev. Ramon Orostizaga
Jersey City Mission, NJ

Participant

Thank you for getting this conversation started in this space, Angela! We certainly would benefit from extended and persistent attention to reconciliation in public conversation spaces in our denomination, especially when the process becomes heavy and difficult because of needing to examine our own weaknesses, indifference, and lack of faith.

My initial question is about hopes and expectations...does having a conversation about reconciliation in a forum like this shape what hopes or expectations we have for where this conversation might lead us or how vulnerable and personal we are willing to be?

How about an honest conversation about "race?"

First step would be to eliminate special consideration for black, Hispanic, and Korean members. A special classis for Korean Churches? How about a special classis for Dutch churches?

In the press, any reference to "race" most always boils down to complaints from or about the social status of African-American, second, Hispanic people. Because of miscegenation, at least on the West Coast, "race" is self-designated except for very obviously dark skinned or very obviously Mexican/Central American people. In my neighborhood half the "black" or "Hispanic" people could not be visually identified. How can I discriminate against them if I can't visually identify them? They say, "I am a minority and you don't like me."

By the way, in Snohomish County, WA, Korean people are not legally qualified to call themselves a minority. Why? Maybe because half the new business starts are by Korean-Americans. In this country, only those who are less financially successful or less educated than white people are "minorities?"

In the 1970's the City of Seattle decided to promote on the basis of race. People who had been white for years by some miracle turned into something else.

Truth, the US is the greatest country in the history of world for the working class of any "race." There is no economic reason why any adult with normal health and intelligence should be poor except for a stupendus run of bad luck an we don't believe in luck, right?

Shall I rant on? Time for church.

Hi Billwad,  How would you propose to bridge the hurt that exists between social, racial ,cultural groups of believers in Christ?

Prior to the Babel incident we were of a single culture. We must undo that damage. <G> It is being done. In the western nations thanks to population mixing the old cultural barriers are going down. The young generation is not restricting their pool of potential mates by race, culture, or religion. In a couple of generations North America will mostly be a nice brownish tan color with a generic Christianized national religion. The Catholic Church will adapt better than the Reformed churches but the Islamic call to worship seven times a day will never catch on.

If the old barriers are down on what basis will young people choose a mate? I suggest education, IQ, and ambition, also physical (sexual) attraction. I can see it happening. We will probably self-segregate into a new worker class and a new leader class. 

  

Thanks billwad, why don't you think Reformed churches  can't compete? How do you see Christs victory playing out with the new social norms. Thanks I love to hear other peoples perspective.

Mostly because we are the new kid on the block?  The Catholic Church excels in letting local congregations use local pagan customs in worship without losing the basic Catholic dogma, ritual, and symbolism. There is no visually mistaking a Catholic Church for some other denomination in any town. There is always the name and the cross. 

Look at the names of the new attempted church plants. Home Missions seems to want to plant stealth congregations with weird names, no reference to the CRC , sometimes no reference to Christianity in the name.Even old congregations are changing names so people driving by will not know they are CRC. 

The CRC was founded as a Dutch church and now any reference to our (yours, not mine - I never heard of the CRC until 20 years ago) heritage is considered evil by our leadership. The whole push is to become a non-denominational multi everything something. It is plan schizophrenic  to push the new  confession while maintaining a Korean classis and special subdivisions for other racial/cultural groups. Hispanic  is wonderful but Dutch is evil.

I'm no fan of generic "Christian" grade schools but what does the CRC have that earns it the right to be considered a Christian denomination? In other words, what do we do that other denomination don't do better? If we dump Dutch  culture the only thing is our emphasis on higher education, particularly Calvin Col and Sem, and the Dutch interpretation of John Calvin, which is vastly different than Presbyterian theology - and the political/social outworking of the theology is vastly different. Without emphasizing Dutch theology there is no point to continuing the denomination. I'm no preacher or scholar but if you preachers on this list can't see the difference and don't teach the difference then we might as well join the OPC.   

I've read maybe a dozen Bible translations cover to cover and for study, for accuracy, for poetry for the quality as English literature, the NIV is one of the worst! Yet some of our leaders say that it it is to difficult to read as a pew Bible. What does this say about  about the CRC Christian school system? 

 

It took me 30 years to find a denomination with which I agreed theologically and in practice. I signed on only to discover our leadership is dumping the old ways as fast as they can.  Enough rant for now

 

 

 

 

I'm sorry Billwald , I believe our God is way ahead of us. His Church will survive according to his will. Our job is to look where he wants to take us. Nick, be assured that this will happen. Just look at history of the first church which we are part of and hoe different it was. God will prevail.

P.S. I'm not a pastor or officeholder of any kind except husband and father.

Participant

Bill Wald, you're a breath of fresh air.  I'm 57, have practiced law for 32 years, and convinced people don't really know what they're are talking about (literally) when they use the word "race."  Eg., is "black" a single race?  What about "hispanic"?  How about Mexican, and is that a different "race" from Spanish, or Honduran?  How about "the German race"?  Dutch?  Dutch/American?  African American?  How about American (must we say "native American" for that to count)?  People from Sheboygan, WI (they talk funny), New York (talk about distinctive)?  What race is the "Ugly American" anyway?

Other questions: What race is someone who is 7/8th Korean and 1/8th Dutch?  What is Tiger Woods anyway?  Why do you need to be only a slight fraction of "native American" (whatever that exactly means -- I was born here, am I not "native American") to be qualified as "native American" (and thereby often be eligible for certain federal benefits)?  And why does "white" cover so many different people who are so many different cultures?  What do I not recognize so many "black people" as "black people."

Now, I do understand the term "culture," and think using that is meaningful, even though "culture" is composed of complex intermix of characteristics.  Thus, you can be "Iowan" in culture (that definitely means a number of things to me), or Japanese in culture (I have one of those in my house).  Or, you can be Japanese (in terms of looking like one) but be Iowan in culture.

Like Bill Wald, I often, very often, don't recognize someone's race.  I realize I didn't recognize it only because in a later interaction with or about that person, he/she or someone else tells me they are a certain "race."   And then I don't really know what to do with that information because it's so, well, meaningless.

My bottom line analysis is this: I think "race" is a cheap word (that is, not resulting from a lot of thought) that we continue to use predominantly because using the word adds to the users ability to sharply accuse or just get attention.  Our ears perk when we hear the word because it maybe means someone is being mean, or about to start a fight, or making a strong accusation, or running for political office and behind in the polls.

This may sound a bit silly to some, but I think we should precisely define what we mean by the word "race" before we name committees after the word and have discussions about it.  Don't misunderstand, I don't mind having those discussions, but I do prefer to take one step at a time, in logical order, when so discussing.  Maybe the word has no real meaning anymore, and least for Christians.

I think Angeltp might agree???

Might. I think, at least in the USA, the use of "race" is a tacit (not understood?) admission that "white is a regressive characteristic.

Bill,

I am not sure what you mean by "the use of "race"".  Do you mean that to speak of racial difference e is "an admission that "white" is a regressive characteristic, or do you mean something else?

I find that in much discourse that recognizes differences in appearance (whether this is race or whether race is real or not does not matter to me in this discussion) many people who appear white are unconscious of their whiteness (what most people would think of as "race." Rather, because we are privilged, we do not have to regularly be conscious of our race, such that it is virtually transparent." 

I do not think of "white as a regressive characteristic."  I do think, however, that the beliefs, heritages and experiences of other cultures are becoming more important to living an educated and Christian life in today's USA.  These are things that white people have usually been able to ignore, but increasingly need to understand.  In this regard, I think that our distinctively Dutch Reformed heritage/culture/subculture makes many of us more self-conscious of our particular subculture within "white culture".

Peace,

Randy Gabrielse

Michelle Obama, for example. A story on TV reports that she had white ancestors going back 200 years yet she is "black." If her children marry white people Mrs. Obama's grandchildren will be "black." If the grandchildren marry white people the great-grandchildren will be "black," although "mixed race" is becoming popular among brown/tan skinned people. But never "white." 

I saw a 10 by 10 (?) photo montage representing shades of human skin color with darkest black in the upper left corner and white in the lower right corner. Only one picture out of the 100 or more looked white. The color variation across the ranks and files  appeared accurate to my eyes.

Another few generations and "white" will be a  small minority in the US, probably a good thing.

 

I thought the idea was to not treat people differently because of race.  That means you don't treat someone better or worse, just the same as everyone else.  No special privileges.  I think having different races is a good thing.  Be proud of your heritage!  But love and respect everyone because in God's eyes we are all equal.  I am white and I am proud to be white but I also know that I am not better than anyone else because I am white.  It's pretty simple.  To reconcile we will have to let the past go and learn from it as we move forward.  No one today has own slaves and no one today has been a slave.  So why do I have to feel guilt for something someone in the past did to someone else in the past.  I understand that people still suffer prejudice but I don't think in this day and time that there is systemic prejudice or racism.  People have to stop embracing and perpetuating a victim mentality.

Why are people "proud" over things which they had no control? 

In God's eyes we are all sinners.

Statistically, we are not all "equal" If we were, no one would bother to collect statistics.

I have never felt guilty about acts of other people unless I actively contributed to the action. 

Prejudice is acting in ignorance but discrimination is action base upon statistical or other evidence. For example, Consumer Reports tells us that some refrigerators are "better than" other refrigerators. Beagles are equal to French poodles?" What might that mean?" is not "race" just another way of writing "sub-species?"

Thanks for the feed back Bill. I guess what I mean by being proud of being white is that I'm proud of my heritage and who God has made me to be. As in I'm not ashamed of it as some people are. Yes we are different but we are on equal level with respect and the value of our lives. You know what I mean by that so don't over think it. In laymen terms we all put our pants on one leg at a time. 

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