he COVID-19 virus has caused us to fear for our families, jobs, and health. It is changing our lives in fundamental ways that are still evolving. We do not know when things will return to normal or if they will. Fear makes us take stock of the important things in life, but it must not control our actions. This is not a “Chinese virus”, but a worldwide pandemic that has touched all nations and peoples.
It is during these times that Race Relations is grateful for the spiritual maturity of godly pastors, church leaders, and members. The Bible says that those who love are of God, but those who do not love are not of God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8; Proverbs 12:18; Ephesians 4:29). Our acting executive director Colin Watson wrote some wise words after the Charlottesville incident less than three years ago. He wrote, “As Christians, our choice is clear: we are called to love each other, as God has loved us. This is not an option. This is a command.” (Statement on Charlottesville, Virginia)
Fear can lead to anger. Anger is unable to stop the coronavirus. The virus does not discriminate on the basis of socioeconomic status, gender, age, or race. It is an equal opportunity attacker. The pandemic reveals the lack of control over our lives. That can lead to blaming, which often leads to labeling. Labeling is a door for doing harm. Labeling is not for us, God’s people. Let us not take cues from the culture that seeks scapegoats, but to lean into the very good gospel we know, love and obey.
During these turbulent times, we believe our “God calls Christians to find their deepest identity in union with and in the service of Jesus Christ.” (God’s Diverse and Unified Family, p.29). Let us not take cues from a fear-based culture that seeks scapegoats, but to lean into the very good gospel we know, love, and obey.
I'm beginning to believe that the racism topic is taboo for most Christians. White evangelicals predominantly refuse to have the conversation. Billy Graham spoke against engaging in antiracism: "Only when Christ comes again will the little white children of Alabama walk hand in hand with little black children."
While he spoke of the unity in Christ, he believed that addressing the “race problem” would become another flame out of control. Reformed folks are not too different. Rather than have conversation, pastors and leaders craft statements about racism. Continue reading ...
In 2010, I asked the following question: What is your church doing for racial reconciliation?
My intention was to get some responses that would bring some good dialogue. Not much happened. Now we are in the year 2020. Is the question still relevant? How are we responding to it today?
Since 2010, we have had the privilege of serving many congregations through workshops we’ve done on Sundays, Wednesdays, and other days. We’ve gone near and far. We’ve had groups of 4, 15, and 40. We’ve tried to get past any and all obstacles in order to have conversations about racial reconciliation.
One thing we have noticed is the age of participants. They are younger and their questions are different. Continue reading >>>