The New Racism
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
There’s more talk than ever about racism these days, but we’ve come full circle from Dr. King’s historic speech to where we are now. The Dream Speech envisioned a society where different colored people would “work together, pray together, (and) struggle together” in peace. This requires that the separate groups respect and accommodate each other’s preferences and perspectives. It requires love. The government tried to accomplish this through forced desegregation. I remember all the fuss about bussing. It began as the most logical solution to segregation but ended with white flight and a collective sigh of relief. As usual, the government isn’t the answer to spiritual problems. Although Sunday morning preachers tout acceptance, the organized church is still the most segregated institution in America. It’s a symptom of the New Racism; we say the ‘right things’ but do whatever make us feel comfortable.
It takes a real relationship with Jesus to leave our comfort zones. If my preference for religion and my own culture are more important than him, I won’t tolerate music, food, or attire I don’t like in my church. I’ll make sure my neighborhood doesn’t have too many of “them”. I’ll support whatever “they” might want politically as long as they don’t get too close. I’ll secretly hope that my kids marry within their own race. Love is about getting close. When we love God, we love his people first, not our skin color or cultural affiliates. We count how many believers are in a room, not how many people look like us. Segregation in the traditional church is one of the most prominent evidences of its fallen, broken state. Segregation in our society, after the cross, after reformation, after King, and after a black president is evidence of our need for Jesus.
Christians could end segregation in one generation. All we need to do is have real friends from other races, letting our lives do the talking. All we need to do is tear down the cultural walls of our church buildings and allow everyone to participate. All we need to do is have honest conversations about what Jesus wants and how far we have fallen. You and I are the answer to the New Racism. It’s not new. We can’t look for a solution beyond the Love that lives inside us. There isn’t one.