Just like COVID-19, the news cycle has been dominated recently by protests and demonstrations of people who are outraged by the murder of George Floyd. Frankly, if you haven’t seen the video already, it’s pretty gruesome. But it highlights a problem that has been going on far too long in our country and as the church, our time to shine is NOW.
Most white Christians I know feel troubled about the idea of racism in our culture, but they have no idea what they can do. So here are some baby steps to get us started:
1. Pray. Really—I mean it. Pray and pray. Have you ever prayed about racism? Much?
2. Repent. Ask forgiveness for sins of commission and omission. Ask God to show you where you’re turning a blind eye in contexts where you have social power you could use for the greater good.
3. Watch some movies. We quote what we know. So get ready for some terrific stories. Watch “The Color Purple,” “Selma,” and “42”; “Just Mercy” and “Harriet.” Plus documentaries about race in America.
4. Set the table. Invite someone of a different ethnicity to your home for dinner. Enjoy their company. Build a relationship. Teach your children that you’re not just fighting a bad thing. You are embracing a beautiful thing. Help them understand that their lives are deficient if they lack exposure to relationships with a broad range of image-bearers.
5. Listen. When people talk about their experiences and fears, we need to shut up and empathize. Really listen. Not so we can say “Yes, but…” but so we can groan with all creation over the evil of divisions so deep we may not even see them.
6. Read. Toni Morrison has won both a Nobel and a Pulitzer. Put her books in your Audible queue or pick them up from the library. Or grab Sue Monk Kidd’s book The Invention of Wings, a fascinating work of historical fiction about race, sex, and class. Or for less than three bucks, you can get the Kindle version of The 100 Most Influential Black Christians in History. Include diversity in your authors and/or story subjects.
7. Include a variety of ethnicities in your examples. If you speak publicly or write, consider the ethnic mix of the people you quote and the subjects of the stories you tell. Ever told the story of Bishop Richard Allen? And while you’re at it, seek diversity in your ABF classes, on your worship teams, and on your elder boards and preaching teams.
The above is only the beginning.
The church has the opportunity to model what it looks like to go far beyond tolerance to love. Let us be known for celebrating the beauty of God’s creation in the form of diverse humanity from every tribe and nation and tongue. We can’t expect the world to lead the way. The changes must start in our own homes and in our pews—beginning with the most segregated hour of the week.
The above article was written by Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), and a Ph.D. in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or co-author of more than twenty books. She’s the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can read more of her work by clicking here!