A brother online recently shared a great story of the battle (yes) within his church association for racial reconciliation. It was both beautiful, then tragic how a massively middle class white congregation wrestled with a less-than year old brother in Christ instrumental in a 90 percent ratio kids of color/subculture in their Sunday School program. Tragic in that with zero reason given, the entire thing was shut down by leadership rather than with prayer, discussion and input on getting more reasonable numbers of kids, responsible adults and such continuing on in the care of the younger part of the congregation. Interesting that there were far more kids than adults in Sunday morning Bible education.
This individual did not write with rancor, no hating, just sharing part of his story and why he continues to work -with faith, hope and love mind you- in mission to encourage and in practical ways, bring racial reconciliation among churches he’s involved with. A good-hearted soul from all I can gather.
This reminds me of another bro. and sis. who left a fellowship (which no longer exists) years ago over the same thing. In essence, the pastor and several key leaders (likely the key financial support of the congregation) wanted young African-American and Latino/Latina kids somewhere else on Sunday morning.
Painful? Yep. Some core reasons for this sort of thing?
I am re-posting here what I wrote in the social media thread.
“Jesus’ call for we Christ followers to be agents of reconciliation is clear, certainly Paul in Corinthians and Jesus even in His story re. a Samaritan (!) being the good guy… the implications are massive.
But does not the road to racial (or spiritual, etc.) reconciliation effectively bring us to power sharing and even control loss? That’s the rub.
Further and more at core personally- “We were/I am -wrong-, please forgive me?” Then “fruits meet for repentance” in ol’ KJV speak? If one either does not honestly recognize their sin in a matter or worse, if in fact they’ve (we’ve, I’ve) truly sinned by God’s judgment, the humility factor and the personal cross-bearing and actual behavioral changes will knock me off my pedestal, erode my control and sense of security and even preferred comforts of culture, subculture, just plain comfort.
Heck, I may lose friends and even family members over “those” people God is calling me to actively love in living out, active participation in the Good News of Jesus.
I may have to become an ambassador (ugh… the patience needed… the regular interaction with those I consider UNdesireable). It’s not rocket science why all too many professing believers aren’t involved. God have mercy on us and -through- us!!!”
I must also add that reconciliation is a two-way street. IF one is not guilty but others call you on being a bank robber, how does a person of integrity repent for something they never did? ON THE OTHER HAND, if in fact you -did- rob one or more banks, pretending you did not effectively trashes any possibility of reconciliation with those you stole the loot from.
BOTH parties must risk being gracious (or not) up close and personal (and often one or both parties aren’t honestly interested in that) and willing to link. The fact is at times, one or both don’t want to link, they want to win.
When the love of Jesus calls me to lose in terms of reality, that being truth, mercy and fellowship with “the other”, I’m all the way in!! The issue is that sometimes we want our way, not the way of Jesus.
So what does HE want in terms of loving our neighbor as ourself?
Is it a question of actual sin (scriptural, not church-defined) or not? Is it a question of what really happened or what I believe happened… or didn’t? Is it a question of loving or domination?
Whites have dominated in this nation. Historical fact. Justice costs. Mercy costs. Look at Jesus on the cross!
The only One worthy of ultimate control ain’t me or you. Yet He commands us to love one another.
God, my neighbor, myself. Is there such a thing as a three-way street? Perhaps we can meet at the intersection??
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn