Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Racism in the Church pt1

It has often been said that "Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America" and sadly, I find this statement to be true too often. Fortunately, the day has come in America where we ARE free to worship one with another. With that, it is time for the congregations to make the move. Whether that congregation is entirely "black" or "not-so black," there must be an initiative on the part of the church members to seek to incorporate all Christians.

For example, I was an assistant pastor at an eastern Indian church body. The pastor and 98% of the congregation spoke Hindi and Telegu. I did not. They sang songs of worship in both English and Hindi/Telegu. When the Hindi/Telegu songs where performed I did my best to try to learn the pronunciations of the words I was seeing on the projector screen. Needless to say, I butchered the words quite often. I would also say that they made a habit of explaining the words and meanings of the songs for the benefit of those who did not know the language (ie my family). Nevertheless, we were all Christians and we all made an attempt to esteem one another over self. I first came to the church as a minister doing several rap songs during a Christmas Service. I was invited back when there was nothing special going on. You see, it was never about "ethnicity". It was a Christian church that God used to minister to Christian people. Sure there where obvious differences, but the obvious similarity was of Christ in us- which was the greater of the two!

While I totally believe it was the responsibility of the pastor to lead his congregation in the right path, it was still up to the congregation to be fully accepting of someone who was not from their background. This is a problem in the church. I have spoken to brothers on the lighter side of the house and have heard them speak of their pastors fully supporting segregation and separation of "races" (not that there really is more than one race- that being the human race). That in its cheapest form is nothing more than self glorification. Sin. It is totally against that which Christ had spoken through the Apostle Paul in that we ought to mortify the sins of the flesh (daily).

All racism has found its roots in the glorification of self. It is the belief (in this example) that the "white man" is superior to the "black man" in intelligence, in genetics, and heretically in Christ. It is also steeped in fear and tradition. In fear of what the unknown will bring about and tradition of what was passed on by certain fathers. Neither case makes racism in the church tolerable. However, it was tolerated because there were very few mixed churches. This made it very easy to sweep the racial problems under the rug and forget about it. Compound that with the feel-good notions of helping out the little black church in the ghetto or serving food at the mission during Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything was seemingly OK. Many white Christian church folk did just enough to appease their conscience in doing the "godly" thing.

What we must understand is that if Christ is who He says He is in His Word, then we cannot idly standby and allow racism, prejudism, or any other negative -ism hinder the body of Christ. It is high time to sit people down who promote these ideals in the church. I know it would be a difficult task, but such is the Christian life. We cannot continue to sit back and let sin run a muck in the church and do nothing. We would not support a pastor or minister who was openly gay (I am talking about the true church of God), or an adulterer, or even a drug dealer. These individuals would be put out. So why would we allow exclusivism because of something that cannot be controlled (ie skin color)? My White brothers and sisters in Christ, take a stand. Invite Christians to fellowship with you who are not like you. Knock down the doors of injustice in the church and strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ- in every ethnicity!

Stay tuned for the next portion as we tackle, wait for it... wait for it... "The Black Church," no stones will be left unturned.


Keith L. Tolbert said...


Thanks for visiting my blog and for the mention on your blog roll. I'l be sure to visit your blog regularly.

Grace and Peace
In Submission to Sovereignty

preacherman said...

You are so right on.
Great post brother.
I am looking forward to reading more of this series and more of this blog. I want you to know that I added you to my favorites. Keep up the great blogging.

Christians Around the World!