There is no doubt there are racial tensions in these United States.
Ben Carson recently posted this on his Facebook page
Those who are trying to divide our nation on the basis of race, income, religion, age, gender, etc. do not have the best interest of our nation at heart. Historically, no nation with this level of division has been successful. “A house divided against itself cannot stand” and we must realize that we will not stand if we destroy ourselves from within. Many of the people who have gotten caught up in the divisiveness are not bad people, but they have allowed themselves to be used by those who are bad people. We must remember that there is a reason we are called the “United” States of America. Let’s not be deceived by the smooth talking haters who project their own malicious intents onto others. It is our trust in God and the common sense of we the people that can save us.
Charlottesville calls to speak out
After the most recent event where this racial division manifested itself in Charlottesville, Virginia I have seen many calls from people I respect as fellow Christians with a much larger platform than mine, calling for Pastors and Christians to “speak out” to denounce this hate as if not doing so would be some kind of travesty or sin on their part. I don’t believe that is true. I do understand what they are saying and as Christians who are also leaders it is not a bad thing if they feel so led and want to use their platform to speak out. However, regarding the call to the pastors, if they are preaching and teaching from God’s Word what Jesus said and taught every week they are speaking against this hate every week. It’s not like it is some new subject or sermons series they need to begin. Those who they are speaking to understand the hatred and bigotry exhibited in Charlottesville is not what they have been taught and is evil.
Where I come from
To understand my perspective as a Christian doing life here in the south you should know a little bit about me and how that perspective was formed. I grew up in church and the Christian values I have been and continue to be taught and reminded of each week and try to live out are nothing new. The fact that I fall short every day is nothing new either. Truths I have been taught are things like “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “We are all God’s children” and “God is Love” and “God hates evil” and Jesus loves us all the same, red and yellow, black and white. There is not some new pronouncement I need to make to declare I am opposed to hate, bigotry, white supremacy and naziism. That is a given. The principles I have been taught over the years make it is easy to recognize hate and evil when it raises its ugly head as it did recently in Charlottesville.
Another Sunday in the South
This brings me to this past Sunday in church where I arrived early, which is not normal for me, and selected a seat on the back row. I am part of the cleanup crew for the Lord’s Supper and wanted to start collecting the juice cups from there when the service was over. I was all alone until another gentleman arrived and asked if the seats beside me were taken. I told him, “No. I was saving them just for you”. During the sermon we were reminded by our pastor, among other things, “Racism is out of the question for Christians”. At the end of the service as we observed one of the two ordinances of our faith, The Lord’s Supper, to remember the sacrifice Jesus paid for us, I learned the gentleman sitting beside me was also a brother in Christ as we participated in this part of the service together. The gentleman sitting beside me just happened to be a black man who I don’t remember ever seeing there before. I normally wouldn’t have given this a second thought. However, with the recent events and tragedy in Charlottesville fresh in my mind I did give it a second thought. That thought was this. This is how it ought to be. I am thankful and know I am blessed to live in a place where this has become normal and does not trigger a second thought.
And then I thought…
If, in a Baptist Church in South Alabama on a Sunday morning brothers in Christ, regardless of skin color, can share the symbols of the broken body and shed blood Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross at Calvary, why can’t this be happening all over the country? By sharing this normal (for me) story I wanted to show what we see on TV or other media outlets all too often today regarding race relations is not happening everywhere as you might be led to believe. My hope is it will also give you hope this can become the norm wherever you live, if it is not already. This is also a small glimpse of what one area of life is really like in the south, contrary to the flawed stereotype many believe is real. Barriers can be broken down. Bridges can be built but it has to happen one handshake, one conversation or even one Lord’s Supper at a time. We are all God’s children and like any parent He would love nothing more than to see us all getting along with each other, red and yellow, black and white.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 8/23/2017