Changing the Church’s Narrative Part 5: Racism
Updated: Apr 30, 2022
Hello everyone! I cannot believe we are at the end of March 2022! Spring and Easter are coming in many ways for this nation! Today, I want to conclude my Changing the Church Narrative series. I have been mulling this blog over for a long time. I even delayed it by a few weeks so I could get my thoughts and insights straight and communicate as effectively and compassionately as possible with all of you and honor the Lord at the same time. I hope this will challenge each of us to search our hearts and look at our own motives. My prayer is that there will be repentance where we need repentance, reckoning with sin where we have sin, and forgiveness and restoration in all of our relationships and in the Church as a whole.
As I have said before, you are either going to love or hate me after this blog. I am okay with that too. I speak only for the King and by the King. Any issue you have with what, you may take up with Him. Let us begin.
Unfortunately, racism and the Church have a long history with one another. They go back four hundred years in this nation alone. The same Scripture we believe is God-breathed (and it is) has been used to justify and perpetuate the evil of racism for too long. This should not surprise you. Evil tends to know just enough scripture to make anything it wants sound as good and look good. This is the reason slavery persisted throughout the world for so long and in this country’s early years – despite the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ neither supports nor condones racism or slavery.
The Church and American society did the same thing that the ancient cultures of the world did under Roman rule, slavery and racism was a desired cultural construct and it financially benefitted people keeping them in positions of power. As a result, it was condoned as “okay to live with” and even “the will of God.” This was a pig of a lie dressed up in really pretty clothes with extra lipstick! Mix this ancient lie with other lies about fellow image bearers including “white race superiority theory” (all of which are straight from the pit of Hell) and you have a horrible mix of fake Jesus, fake science, and some of today's news to condone racism both inside and outside the Church (this is not just about of the 1960s Civil Rights movement anymore).
In modern America, we still have sadly, entire geographical and political cultures where systemic racism (what I like to call covert racism) still exists and flourishes. The Church is represented in these geographical and political spheres (and has been since this country’s inception), and it has done nothing to stand against systemic racism. In fact, some of its members (people professing to be Christians) have embraced it whole-heartedly, an embracing that will not come without horrific consequence because racism is anti-Christ and anti-Gospel. I doubt they actually speak for Jesus (I said what I said). They are as the apostle Timothy described in 2 Timothy 3:5, "having a form of godliness but denying its power." Others have not embraced it whole heartedly per say, however, their silence in this case could be interpreted (and has been) as condoning and even participating in racism. They are what Martin Luther King dubbed, the white moderate minister and congregations – perhaps lip service to justice or a private condemnation of racism but no real work for Biblical justice where the Gospel is concerned. Perhaps without realizing it, they have denied the power of the Gospel as well.
Ouch! That hurt, didn’t it? I can say that hurt because it hurt me when I realized I had been that church congregate after reading King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. The Lord used that letter to shed light into my own heart and my own motives – those motives being this; “Just keep the boat steady, do not rock it in any way. Let love be our guide.” I am here to tell you that love acts, it doesn't sit around! Love does not stand idly by and let people be hurt over and over again! Church, if we are professing love of Jesus and love for people, why are we not doing more to stand again systemic racism? Why are we not listening to our brothers and sister of color who have perspectives we not only need but we need to act on? Why are we not repenting and turning from our self-centered motives? Why are we not calling our supposed Christian politicians (I use those terms loosely) to higher ways of thinking and carrying themselves?
Do you want to know why we are not doing these things as the Church? We are not doing these things because the Church has not repented just as our nation has yet to repent! Do you think those two things might be connected? I can assure you they are! We have not repented of the personal and collective sin of racism. We have not humbled ourselves under God’s hand and allowed him to do the heart work individually and collectively. We have not listened to our brothers and sisters of color – we have only given them platforms when they agree with us, tell us what makes us comfortable in our bubbles, and tell us what we want to hear. If you do not believe me, look at how JHP (Jackie Hill Perry), author and speaker, was treated after posting a photo on Twitter of Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson’s daughter lovingly admiring her mother at the Senate confirmation hearings. She was crucified and bullied by supposed fellow Christians. Their Christianity is debatable, and frankly I do not believe they know Jesus at all! I said what I said. For that matter, look at how supposed “Christian” Republican Congress members have treated Judge Brown-Jackson! It is appalling! We don't have to agree with someone's political views to treat them with respect and dignity. These two things are missing in our political process in America these days.
The Church and America must repent! There is nothing down this road we are on but death and destruction! Church, I have news for you. Racism in your local church and in this nation is contrary to the Gospel! I will say it again; it is anti-Gospel and anti-Christ! Politically conservative and Christian are not synonymous! Politically liberal and Christian are not synonymous! Neither political party owns the King of Kings! Who told us that? Protestant Evangelicalism and majority culture does not own the King of Kings. We are not the only image bearers he made on this planet! Jesus will deal with his Church and her leaders about this! I am saying it loudly for those in the back! Of all the things Evangelicalism could be doing, it could be standing against racism! I will speak to white Christians now. We cannot be the moderate white congregations Martin Luther King spoke of anymore! We have been in the stands too long! We have a chance, along with our Black and Brown brothers and sisters leading the way, to help heal this nation! Are you hearing me today Church? I said we have an opportunity to help heal this nation! I am not calling us to study CRT or any such secular theory, I am calling us all to repentance!
Let the Church repent and be whole so that the nation can be whole! Does the Church want to be culturally relevant again? Lead the nation in racial reconciliation in this time and you will be more than relevant, you will shape the course and future of the nation for true, Christ-centered righteousness, mercy, love, and peace - no matter whether everyone believes the same things or not. We can be catalysts for freedom! We have to lay down our pride first. We have to lay down self-righteousness first. We have to lay down our privileges first. We have to lay down our power first. We have to see what we have not wanted to see! Are not the first last and the last first in the Kingdom of Heaven? Church, who do you truly serve; self and comfort, or the King of Kings? The time has come to decide and act accordingly! I call you to the higher things!
I love you all and the Church or I would not tell you these things! Love speaks only the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear or read. I have done the arduous work of repenting, listening, and asking for forgiveness from my Black and Brown brothers and sisters in my sphere. I had to lay down my pride, privilege, comfort, perceived power, and self-righteousness. I had to see what I did not want to see. This does not mean I beat myself up and feel guilty, this means I have conversations, listen to understand, and then act on that understanding! I implore the Church as a whole to do the same!
With much love for the Church and the nation,