Why Your "Christian" Outrage Isn't Enough: Racism

I guess it's the latest rage to comment on the "recent" racist insanity in the U.S.  As I see the various theologians, church leaders, pastors, and parishioners commenting and sharing their "outrage" I find myself a little frustrated.  If only there were a meme for that (not!).

Has the church been reduced to "talking"?  Is it enough to say how repulsed you are?  Has the Kingdom of God ever been about just talk!?!  The great missionary and church-planter, Paul wrote in First Corinthians (NAS): "For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power."

How do others feel about your outrage when you have made very little (if any) attempt to dismantle the systems which have led to this?  What does the Bible teach?

The early church had racial tensions.  As a matter of fact, certain groups of people were being left out.  The church immediately sought to take care of ALL of the people of the church.  There was action!  There were also teachings to prevent "forcing" one group to accept the other group's opinion when it had to do more with personal preference than the will of God.

It goes back to Jesus' central teaching to "love your neighbor."  It's the thread which weaves together the whole Kingdom.  The love of God must be apparent in us and must be worked out of us to the whole of humanity.  We must love each other and we must love our neighbors.

We must do more than talk.  We have to humble ourselves and serve.  We have to attempt to "feel" what others are experiencing.  We must own-up to our own blind spots.  Someone told me when I was a kid that "we all like people who are like us."  We don't have to fake our integration or pretend to be something that we're not, but we are called to love.  Love is more than talk--it's action.

We must identify with others.  We must repent for ways in which we have contributed to the horrendous feeling that others have.  We must dismantle everything that even has the "appearance of evil" within us, our churches, and our communities.

It's easy to be outraged, but it's harder to act.  Is outrage all that's being asked of us?

Intercultural living is difficult.  For 12 years, I have paid higher prices in the markets, been the object of jokes, been mocked and made fun of, been stared at, cussed at, and even threatened for being a "gringo" living in Central America.  Yes, certain people see it as a status symbol and have given me a voice when I would not have had one.  Others, however, have seen it as an opportunity to take whatever they can from me.

People have no idea what it's like to be in the so-called "minority" unless they've been there.

We have to be careful that we don't send the wrong message with our outrage.  Are we really standing with everyone?  Are we really working hard to take care of everyone in the Kingdom of God?  Are we really promoting biblical equality?  Are we willing to get our hands dirty in the tough work of truly loving our neighbors?

What would it really look like for you to "take a stand"?  My biblically-based guess is that it would require humility, sacrifice, and personal pain--three things that the American church no longer believes could ever be the will of God!



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