I feel like I need to begin this with a request to “hear me out” (at the risk of appearing apologetic). I am a white, evangelical Christian. The title recognizes who I am. I realize as I wade out into these waters that they are treacherous today. Many are the rocks on which ships with good intentions have been dashed.
Should I even have to say that people of color bear the image of God? I shouldn’t have to say it, but I feel I need to say it nevertheless. Why?
That impulse, alone, signals to me that something is not quite right.
I just read that slavery is “the original sin of the United States”. It colors our past (pun very much intended). It continues to leave its imprint on the present. I have to admit to finding some truth in that statement.
Obviously, race is the subject of this article. But not just race. I am writing about Christianity, generally, and the church universal and global.
If any group ought to be able to speak with wisdom into the race issues that we continue to face, it should be the Church, right? Yet, we see as much segregation in the church as a whole as we do in society.
Spoiler alert. God has been orchestrating the entire course of human history from the beginning to this end:
“A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb….”Revelations7:9
This is God’s endgame. Are we onboard with the plan?
This is the unity for which Jesus prayed for his followers. (John 17:20-23) Jesus, himself, broke down the dividing wall that separates people. (Eph. 2:14) God began working though His Holy Spirit toward His endgame soon after Jesus died and rose again, working through Paul and the disciples to break down the wall between Jew and Gentile. (See Reflection on the Unity for which Jesus Prayed: Peter & Cornelius)
We won’t participate in achieving the unity for which Jesus prayed without recognizing the big picture – the kingdom of God – and the foundation on which we all stand – Jesus. Given the purposeful prayer of Jesus for unity among his followers, disunity that exists in the Church means we have failed in some way to focus on the things that should unify us. We have allowed differences that shouldn’t matter to divide us.
If the endgame includes people “from every nation, tribe, people and language”, then we should not allow those kinds of differences, at least, to divide us. Racial matters should be a non-issue. We should be one in Christ, right?Continue reading “Listening While White: Respecting the Image of God in People of Color”