Racism exists. If a solution to racial issues is to be found, it must be found within the Body of Christ. Yet we seem to have plateaued or regressed in the progress made the past 50 years.
More than a skin color issue, I believe racism is a cultural problem. People are not inherently different because of their skin color. They are different because of the culture they come from and the values that that culture teaches. When people with some similar traits, like skin color, clash, we attribute the friction to race, when it’s really cultural. It is the cultural values we exhibit everyday that create tension and friction between somebody different than ourselves.
I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a beautiful area that draws a lot of tourists. Many of them come from Florida. During tourist season, locals can walk into the grocery store and point out to you who is a local and who is from Florida just by people’s dress and behavior. Skin color has nothing to do with it.
Some people have an experience with Christ and surrender their lives to Him, becoming Christians. But, this act alone doesn’t make us stop being a racist. God has to deal with our hearts and we must learn to navigate our cultural differences. For proof of that, look at how the Hellenistic Jewish widows were treated in Acts chapter 6. They were being discriminated against by those not like them. So a committee was formed to minister to their needs.
The Body of Christ is the only place where diverse people can find a common identity that is superior to our particular skin color or culture. Our relationship as sons of God trumps our differences, and makes us ‘brothers’.
One of the great tragedies is that many white people attend a “white church” and many black people attend a “black church”. Individually, we may be becoming godlier, but this arrangement is not making us less racist. More black people seem willing to join white churches than the other way around. But, because they are in the minority, the affects have been negligible.
Our church is predominantly white, though there are some African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans that worship with us. For several years, we had a black worship pastor. I once said that we were a multi-cultural church. He corrected me and said we were multi-racial, but not multi-cultural. We have different races that attend, but the only culture celebrated here is white culture. To be frank, I never understood the difference till recently.
All of this is to say, we have a tremendous amount of work to do as the Body of Christ. We cannot expect the world to solve this problem. God’s grace and our desire to love our neighbor as Jesus loves us is our only hope. What would happen if the Body of Christ was color blind?