“We can go deeper to understand ourselves not only as members of one race against another but as fellow citizens with a common dream for our future, hopes for our children, and commitments to a better nation. In the end, we can and must shed ourselves of the racial divisions that have bound and separated us, and find our dignity together as the children of God all made in the image of the One who loves us all.” — Jim Wallis in America’s Original Sin
The issue of race has been thrust center-stage and has created a backlash against inequality that still exists in our society today. It has created a great deal of conversation. By engaging in dialogue, we can all enhance our understanding of the role that race plays in our lives, and we can join together in working to combat racism in all its forms. We cannot be a church that is true to the demands of the Gospel if we do not root out racism and love and respect all human beings, regardless of their race, language, or ethnic heritage.
Resisting racism means examining our basic instincts and assumptions about race. How do these assumptions shape our daily lives? What are our fears about people of other races? In what ways do we act differently when we drive through certain neighborhoods? How do we carry ourselves in situations where we interact with people of other races? Are we able to see Jesus in people whose skin color is different from ours or whose language is different from ours?
Combating racism also means that we need to develop a healthy appreciation of racial diversity. Developing this appreciation for diversity requires that we find regular opportunities to speak and work with people of races other than our own. We need to listen to each other’s stories, work together, identify common goals, and stand on common ground. By doing so, we can begin to realize the kind of unity that reflects God’s presence in our midst.
My prayer is that we will not minimize, justify, rationalize, or ignore the inequality happening around us. It is my invitation and fervent wish that every Christian will work in making the local church the “salt and light” for the world through its efforts to fight racism and promote racial diversity and civility. Let us make the church a place of welcoming and learning, a place of encounter and dialogue among peoples of all races and cultures. By doing so, we will make God’s love more present.
- What was your number one takeaway from the More Than A Hashtag# series?
- What can we do to change some of our assumptions about race?