Tuesday, July 03, 2007
We are never far from the issue of race/ethnicity in America. Just a few weeks ago archeologists discovered the hidden passages used by the enslaved
Africans of President Washington when he lived in Philadelphia. How ironic to be reminded of the cruelty of slavery in the cradle of liberty. Last week the Supreme Court made yet another ruling regarding the legality of using race as a factor to achieve diversity. Howard University recently hosted a forum for the democratic presidential candidates where most of the questions focused on issues of race and ethnicity.
Though we’re never far from the issue of race and ethnicity however doesn’t mean that we’re getting closer to fully solving this most difficult of dilemmas. For many in America wading into issues of ethnicity is similar to wading into the ocean. All know it’s there, most have had at least a passing glance at it, some actually have waded in up to their ankles while precious few have gone deep sea fishing. Believers have fared little better than non-believers in the turbulent waters of ethnicity. More often than not we adopt the standard ideological positions and then parrot them back to the choir.
If we are to carry out our mandate, disciple our culture and advance the kingdom, Christians must look beyond our political positions, address ethnicity theologically and think and pray through what it means to live out the implications of the gospel regarding race and ethnicity.
This will take thought, patience, humility and consideration which are virtues too often absent in our discussions on race and ethnicity.
When wading into the depths of ethnic dialogue it’s helpful to remember that believers have a dual responsibility in our witness for the Lord and His gospel. I believe Scripture calls for us to take an active positive role in whatever community the Lord has placed us in. At times this means we will disagree with one another over the best way to work for and achieve positive ends for the community, city, state or nation we’re called to serve. That doesn’t mean that those who don’t see things our way are stupid, utterly evil, unpatriotic or race traitors and we shouldn‘t portray them that way. Our second responsibility is to highlight, broadcast and embody the truth of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The implications of the gospel therefore may call for us to pursue a particular course of action that few in the general society would even think of. Our citizenship in the kingdom will move us beyond ideological boundaries in our quest to accurately witness of the character, nature and ways of our gracious God. Hopefully looking at race and ethnicity in this light will keep us on track and in check so that we don’t commit the errors of either never going into the water or jumping in and winding up lost at sea.
To Him Who Loves Us