By Steven Shaw
Is that the depth of the American Christian? I hope not, but it seems that is the loudest Christian voice I hear. I saw this sticker on an SUV today and it got me thinking. With all the racial injustices still going on in the world and even closer to home, I don’t see today’s Christians responding the way Christ would lead us to respond. Even worse, most are unaware there is a problem. Not only that, but the silence of the “white” churches is disturbing. If you are like me then I know how easy it is to hear a tragic story of racial injustice, or how angry you can get at the racism you read about, but it’s stops there. Why? The answer is because it is not directly affecting you. It is not your world therefore it is not on your radar. But we are called to put it on our radar, to make diversity part of our life, to seek out the suffering and make change. To seek out people (not pray and wait for it to happen) who are not the same as you and love them like they are your own blood. And straight up, making more friends to share the Gospel with, to do communion and fellowship with. This is what the American church is missing today and throughout our history.
Not standing up and speaking out when you see evil is just as damaging as the person who is committing the sin. If our churches were more racially diverse and our friendships/hearts/minds were more socially aware of the injustice of the kinds of people you love (if your world is racially diverse), your actions would look much more like you actually believe the Gospel.
Did I just lose you? Now I’m talking about something that has nothing to do with you and something you can’t change right? Wrong! You can talk to your average black person and they’ll tell you that they feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome when they go to a “white” church. Not that all churches with a mostly white congregation are explicitly doing something wrong, but most of us aren’t doing what’s right. We are perfectly content to remain in our white bubble and pretend the issues “out there” don’t affect you and never will as long as you don’t get too close. But that is NOT the gospel. That is not the way Christ or Paul or any other God glorifying Christian would live their life at any point in time.
So what? So I just went off on a tangent, who cares? Or maybe you are feeling guilty or motivated to do something. Unfortunately that is probably how far it will go. That is the extent of our attention span. But how can we, you, make a difference? By not being silent. By not being ignorant to the very real racism that is going on all around you and even inside your very heart and mind, as minor as it may be. What our black brothers and sisters need is white people standing up and taking charge of posting their hatred of the sin of racism and their love of diversity. To speak up when they see something or hear something in their world. To let the ignorant white racists know that their world is much smaller then they think and not supported by the true and living Church. Christ doesn’t call us to be comfortable, He calls us to make a change in the world. Not just your church, but also the world around you. Not just to make disciples but grow to a mature Christian that lives their life changing the lives of others to the glory of God. After all, that is what we were all made for. Everything else is idolatry and sin. It takes one voice at a time to create a stadium roar that can’t be silenced. The Gospel can’t be silenced and the Christians standing for the Gospel is the strongest force the world could ever know. But we need everyone, we need you, and most of all we need to pray for the victims and of the persecutors you hear about. Pray for your own heart. God is in the business of transformation. He makes dead people alive, and no one is beyond His reach. Let’s get to work.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Contributing editor credit: Lisa M Johnston, Th.M. and Pastor/sozofreedom.com