Why Don’t We Strive for Racial Reconciliation?

book_unitedI began reading Trillia Newbell’s United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity a few weeks ago. This book is only 150 pages long, but I think it’s going to take me a while to get through it. Every page I read, I am challenged and burdened.

Even the introduction presents ideas that grate me, such as:

Maybe our churches remain segregated simply because it’s comfortable. There’s nothing malicious to it; we are just more comfortable with “our own.”

(You won’t get far in this book before you’ll see that I believe “our own” needs a new definition.)

But maybe it’s because diversity and racial issues are scary. Talking about race and racial reconciliation can be downright terrifying.

We have to talk about this. If you know me, you know I’m not hesitant to push an issue out to the front. Let’s get it all out on the table.

Why Should We Talk About Race?

“Diversity is a gift of God’s grace for the benefit of all people.” Trillia Newbell

But let’s not (and this me preaching to myself) have these conversations in order to “fix” the issue. That’s not what it needs to be about.

Talking about race relations isn’t about coming up with a solution that will bring us all into harmony. It’s the process of talking (and listening!) that will help us understand and love each other more.

This is scary, and for most of us, it will be uncomfortable. But we need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Racial Reconciliation in the Church

The Village Church has a great video on what racial reconciliation can and should look like.


Racial Reconciliation from The Village Church on Vimeo.

 

If heaven will be diverse, why aren’t we pursuing and striving for it more on earth? (Again, I’m still preaching to myself.)

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, . . . and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  Revelation 7:9-10

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6 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Strive for Racial Reconciliation?

  1. Thank you for opening up this topic. I gotta tell you, I was hoping for an action plan, or an answer when I opened this blog. I know it is not that simple, I just wish it was. So let’s start with relationships, and listening, right? I have been burdened by this topic for years, and many tell me that it is ok that church is so segregated, because we are just culturally different, and there is nothing wrong with that. I think this is probably the most common stance, perhaps in black churches as well. But this does not sit well with me. I value diversity. I seek schools for my children that are very diverse. I know from mission trips into other cultures, that there is so much beauty in finding the common ground of Jesus, and worshiping together by sharing our varied ways of exulting The Lord. On Sunday when I picked up Owen from his class at church, I was struck by how similar all of the boys (probably about 10 of them) were. Not that this is wrong, but they could all learn so much more from varied experiences being shared. I’m excited to hear more on this topic from you in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe when I finish the book, I’ll have more of an “action plan.” 🙂

      But I think you’re right — I think it’s just about relationships, talking & listening & understanding (or trying to). Like so many others, I would typically say, “it’s ok that we are different & separated.” But Trillia’s point about heaven / eternity really convicted me. If God’s eternal kingdom will be diverse, why don’t I WANT to be a part of that in this world?

      Thanks for your thoughts on this, and I look forward to learning from you as well.

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  2. Over the past few years, this has really been on my mind. Something that I’ve done over the course of the past few years is truly learn about the Civil Rights Movement. Not just the marches, but also the very ugly sides to it, the lynching’s, the fires, the beatings, the robbing, the whole concept of what truly happened to African Americans, after the Civil War and well into the 20th Century. We weren’t truly that in school. Yes, I knew about MLK Jr, but I truly didn’t understand what he stood for (non-violent protest for equal rights). I only knew of the “I have a dream speech” and saw it mocked for many years. After going out there on my own, and truly learning much more than what is taught, I am ashamed that I never understood that from the past.

    I recently read an article in The Atlantic regarding reparations to African Americans, a very controversial topic this day. I’ve always thought that it was ludicrous, but then I read the article with an open mind and it really opened my eyes to the discrimination that African Americans have been dealing with, not just in the South, but also in places like Chicago, where many went to get away from the Jim Crow laws of the South. It was everywhere in the country.

    I don’t believe in paying out right cash to people, as reparations, which is not the solution, but I do believe more needs to be done. Sadly, most Americans think, once slavery ended, Africans were free, they could’ve done more for themselves, when in actuality, they were still being treated very poorly. Too many people, run a blind eye to what has happened over the years, saying that people need to not be lazy. The thing is, many families tried to better themselves, but were yet cheated out of dreams that they had worked so hard for.

    I realize I’ve gotten on a tangent here, but the whole reconciliation process is so deep and goes beyond the church. It’s going to take a whole country to get involved and its going to take years, but we need to do it. Joey, part of my seeking to know more about the Civil Rights movement, has come from your posts from Allendale. Thank you, Joey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don’t think it was that much of a tangent; I liked where you went with it.

      Like you (I’m sure), I always thought that the idea of monetary reparations was ridiculous. But more than ever, I see that there is a lot of truth behind it. But I would much rather get defensive than seek to understand where someone else is coming from.

      Can you recommend any good books that you’ve read about the Civil Rights Movement?

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  3. Sadly, I don’t have any books to recommend, as most of the information and history has come from online, like NPR and other news outlets. But I do remember reading early on a book called, “Amazing Grace”, about the education system in inner city New York. I read books often, but I need to dig deeper in this subject.

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