Posts Tagged ‘race’

This was written by American footballer Benjamin Watson. The post will speak for itself:

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

“It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America (and the UK) is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning” – Martin Luther King Jr

As I have mentioned in the ‘About Me’ section of this blog, when I first became a Christian, I went to the typical tongue talking, foot stomping, hat wearing, no jewelry, no trouser wearing (for females), black pentecostal church. This church was mainly made up of black people who were originally from the Caribbean and their offspring. Now let me say up front that up to a point I can understand why in the UK, black people who migrated to these shores had to set up their own churches because they were not accepted by many white people but attitudes have changed since then so I don’t think that excuse can be used anymore.

As I can only speak from my perspective as one who has come from the ‘black church’, I will speak about it from my angle but no doubt there will be equivalent stories coming from ‘white churches’ with different details.

In my early church years, I viewed Christianity through ‘black’ spectacles and lived in a black christian bubble. There was hardly a white person who walked through the church doors and if they did, they stood out like a sore thumb and you wouldn’t see them return on a consistent basis and why would they when the preachers preached messages which sometimes alienated them with ‘back home’ stories when they lived in Jamaica, Barbados etc. I have found that many churches/christians are comfortable with worshipping only within their own cultural setting and any difference styles are not truly accomodated. There is no REAL effort to cross the divide. The mentality of many churches has been “We have done it like this for ages and we will always do it like this”. The problem is that instead of making the gospel inclusive and accesible to everyone, we have made it exclusive and accessible to only a selected few in our little ‘gang’. For example, if I went to a Nigerian church in London, how can I truly invite all my white friends to church and expect them to feel comfortable?

I once saw the below quote in Twitter

Cultural preferences should not be the determining factor of where or how we worship

Sometimes you may have to compromise your style of music in order to receive sound doctrine. That is something that I chose to do and if I’m honest, it took some re-adjustment on my part but I have no regrets. A few years ago, our church did a series on Gracism which was very enlightening to me and caused me to do some self examination within my own life:

When people deal with colour, class or culture in a negative way, that’s racism. But the answer is not to ignore differences as if they don’t matter. Instead, we can focus on diversity in a positive way. That’s gracism. Pastor David Anderson responds to prejudice and injustice with the principle of gracism: radical inclusion for the marginalized and excluded. Building on the apostle Paul’s exhortations in 1 Corinthians 12 to honour the weaker member, Anderson presents a biblical model for showing special grace to others on the basis of colour, class or culture. He offers seven sayings of the gracist with practical examples for building bridges and including others. A Christian alternative to secular models of affirmative action or colourblindness, gracism is an opportunity to extend God’s grace to people of all backgrounds.

So why do I say it can be dangerous? Well it is possible that it can breed racism because when someone does something differently than what we are used to, we can look at them an an inferior way. I have experienced this when someone from my old church said to me in a sarcastic way “Do you go to THAT white church?” or when I got engaged and the first question that a fellow believer asked was “Is she white?”. Sometimes we dont like to admit it, but there is a trace of racism in most of us and the only way we can begin to break this down is to understand one another, acknowledge our differences and embrace them and we can only truly understand it when we are in one anothers company. The body of Christ is supposed to be an example and a true reflection of God’s glory to the world. Heaven will not be just made up of country singers or acoustic guitars or the hammond organ. We need not look any further than creation where God is very much into variety. Where difference does not mean superior or inferior but just that – different.

Listen to the song Black Church, White Church here. Curtis Allen who wrote this song explained his reason for doing so and you can see the video here. The lyrics are below:

Black Church White Church

Verse 1

Black church white church, they might really be a nice church, but we don’t think they the right church, so we don’t associate with the white church. Even though things might work, their music is different, they just too business. They don’t got emotion where is the shouting, their rhythms off beat we can do without them. Plus we just different cultures, and I don’t trust white folks they can be vultures. Always telling someone how to live, I think they racists they don’t play with our kids. Why we gotta be in the same church anyway I would choose our preaching anyday. We got good music we have church here, we sang so they can’t hang here. But we not racist we just think we should meet in different places. Yeah I work with them won’t go to church with them yeah friends with them that’s where it ends with them. I’m real I don’t pretend with them, it aint like I gotta be best friends with them. I’m just stating fact, and that’s where I’m so what’s wrong with that? THAT!

Verse 2

White Church black church, we can’t recommend that church But we would love to see them at church. With us here yeah that works. But we ain’t trying to go over there, those people different but we still care. From a distance we’ll be polite, but if they came here it would alright. Cuz we think they don’t preach the gospel, or they just not theological. Unorganized real needy, teaching’s topical emotion is their gospel. So we’ll stay segregated, even though we next door, and hope that they make it. We ain’t judging them we can still be loving them even though we ain’t close enough to be touching them. I just love our church. I bet they would benefit from our church. Ain’t that how the gospel works, so why won’t they come to our church. I feel called to reach that community, but not if I gotta leave my community. But the gospel doesn’t give you immunity. The gospel gives you Impunity.

Verse 3

Black church white church, news flash you are Christ’s church. So the color is red that you stand by, bloodshed nuff said hold your head high. Waves your hands by, to how life was, be high on Christ that’s the right buzz. Church segregation ain’t the right love, separation is really hating Christ’s love. We don’t go there, fill in the blank, and fill in the blank their music ain’t. Divided by cultural preferences is all us it is not what his message is. He called us to preach gospel sentences, so all must, complete what repentance is. Cuz we show the world that the Lord is real, or we show the world we got a fake appeal. Listen you were made in God’s image, before any man saw you as an image. So who you are is not who you are, and what defines you should behind you. Accept Christ, so what you thinking that in eternity it matters if you white or black? He made us, for better status, and our color’s red so let’s move ahead.

My Pastor Steve Tibbett did a session on his mistakes as a white pastor which was very open and transparent. To listen to it, click here. (Apologies to some of my black believers but there’s no shouting here LOL)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, black or white, English or Irish, Ghanian or Nigerian, Bajan or Jamaican, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28 (italics added by me)

Before you all start praying for me and start dragging me to the altar casting out that racist demon out of me, please listen to this video right TO THE END. You’ll understand why.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

My church is currently doing a series called Gracism:The Art of inclusion (not to be confused with the gospel of inclusion) and this is based on the book below by David A. Anderson

Gracism

Book Description

When people deal with colour, class or culture in a negative way, that’s racism. But the answer is not to ignore differences as if they don’t matter. Instead, we can focus on diversity in a positive way. That’s gracism. Pastor David Anderson responds to prejudice and injustice with the principle of gracism: radical inclusion for the marginalized and excluded. Building on the apostle Paul’s exhortations in 1 Corinthians 12 to honour the weaker member, Anderson presents a biblical model for showing special grace to others on the basis of colour, class or culture. He offers seven sayings of the gracist with practical examples for building bridges and including others. A Christian alternative to secular models of affirmative action or colourblindness, gracism is an opportunity to extend God’s grace to people of all backgrounds.

This Sunday will be the 4th talk. I’ve missed the 1st and the 2nd so I have some catching up to do but what I have heard, so far so good. I havent read the book yet so cannot really give a proper review or comment on it but I love my small Group and I love the fact that our church, which is very multicultural, is tackling this issue head on as we cannot ignore the fact that there are prejudices in church and if we are honest, we all have some prejudices in us. Whether it be between black and white, black and black (eg Ghanaians and Nigerians), rich and poor, deaf and the hearing or the advantaged and the disadvantaged. My pastor has even been brave enough to hold a session next month called ‘My mistake as a white pastor’

We discussed a few things in our group today like what group of people are we really good with and what group of people do we seem to avoid or not really include then into our world? We also had a laugh about black people being late all the time and white people kicking their childs friend out their house because it was time for tea……..dont ask.

In any case, it was a very edifying meeting and it really made me think about any subconscious prejudices that I may have not realising they were there. I will have to ask God to bring that up to the surface. We also discussed moving out of our comfort zones and including people in our world who are not like us. We kept it real and that is the beauty of small groups. It is beautiful fellowship, you can take the mask off and be real knowing that at the end of the day, it is Christ that unites us all and helps us with any shortcomings that we may have.

You can read more about Gracism and how you can be a gracist here

If you want to download or podcast the series from my church, click here