The Christian Chronicle has just posted an article on how the Churches can bridge the racial divide. And they quoted me!
It’s kind of a long story about how it happened, but there I am. (I REALLY have to get me a new picture — you know: less weight, but less hair. It’s trade off. And it means posing. And wearing a suit. Which I hate.)
Anyway, it’s an important topic — one of the most important ones facing the Churches of Christ today: do we remain social clubs filled with people just like us with a smattering of mission thrown in for conscience’s sake, or do we become the one church Christ died to establish?
Go get a copy of Where the Saints Meet, a book listing all our congregations in the U.S. Check out the elaborate system of footnotes. Note how the churches are each classified by race. The book is right. We aren’t.
You see, no amount of pattern-keeping will rescue us from the guilt that comes from having white churches and black churches in flagrant disregard of the gospel. Worse yet, our racism is a huge embarrassment as the world looks at us to see if we’re really different and really whom we claim to be.
It’s not enough for the predominantly white churches to be open to racial minorities. No, we have to get to the point where we see that racial separation is offensive to the gospel at its very core. We need to be at work reversing our separation. We even have to merge some churches, because our racial separation is sin.
(Rev 5:9-10) And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Jesus died to make one Kingdom out of many. We are just as wrong as can be to have white churches and black churches and Hispanic churches.
Blessedly, the walls of separation are coming down. There have been a few mergers reported in the Chronicle. But it’s been far too slow.
In many respects, the world is ahead of us on this one. You know, it’s a sad commentary when our churches are often more racially divided than our businesses and legislatures.