In these turbulent yet hopeful times, may this be a gentle reminder to love mercy and act justly. The labels we use, such as biblical justice, social gospel, another gospel, critical race theory, Marxist, racist, woke, white fragility, gaslighting, etc. seem to put the pedal to the floor of rage. But the continuing call to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God is hopefully not in the rear view mirror, but the view out the windshield.
Here are a few thoughts on racism. Some are taken from God’s Diverse & Unified Family (a synodical study report). I would invite you to read the short booklet (it’s available in pdf form as a free download). In addition, I offer a few thoughts of my own. You may agree or disagree with some of the statements. But the point is to be open to having a conversation.
What racism is:
- Racism is sin. This sin tends to be most insidious and destructive of the human community at those precise points that God intends the human community to be most enriching and expressive of his image in us.
- Racism is rooted in fear of alienation from God and ourselves. It is losing our bearings as to who we are
- It is the church operating out of a corrupted identity reaching for power with a belief of superior humanity and an inferior sub humanity resulting in a corrupted view of mission
- Racism is the doctrines, theologies and practices that change the meaning of God’s law on land boundaries, rape, murder, family, labor, aliens, the poor. It opposes Christ’s Sabbath.
- Racism is a lie from the master liar
What racism is not:
- Holding to the thought that all human beings without exception are endowed with royal dignity and share in dominion over all creation.
- Believing that diversity is enriching. Diversity releases creative energies that in turn increase more diversity. Variety and differences within the human family…enrich the world as God created it. Racism does not support this.
- Seeing a need for racial reconciliation: To be in Christ is to be reconciled with one another as a community of racially and ethnically diverse people of God.
I hope you begin having the conversations. Start with those in your circles and go beyond. The goal, I learned, is not agreeing it is listening. Christ, the master listener is a prayer away.
If you need ground rules for having these challenging conversations, I would encourage you to consider restorative practices. Here are a few resources: