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Topic: “race”

The best summary I’ve seen from a white guy on the complexity of race relations:

I often feel like we are drowning in the sins of the past. Working at this is like swimming across of river of mud. Every inch of progress is hard-won, and the shore seems far away. When I taught US History, I emphasized that slavery was not only a sin, it was a systematic sin infecting an entire culture, and such sins have a lasting effect.

What does one do for the man who is on the losing end of this cycle? Perhaps he has come to the point in his life where he wants to get things straightened out. Perhaps he realizes that it isn’t all someone else’s fault, and that he needs to take responsibility. We give him the gospel, we try to help him shore up his education in some small way, we try to help him sort out his legal and debt problems, and we point him towards a job.

But when we are done, he still lives in a dying city with low employment and poor churches. He’s still single, often supporting (or not supporting) children. He carries with him a criminal record and a lifetime of learned habits which do him little good. And he’s not getting any younger.

That individual perspective must be remembered. It is true that the weakness of families in the African American community is a huge problem, but what good does it do to wag a finger in that man’s face and say, “You blacks need to be better husbands and fathers!”

—Tom Chantry in a comment (the original article is helpful, as well).

The Gospel vs. Ethnocentrism: Jesus Wins

Readers may have noticed a bit of a trend in the last few quotes I’ve posted here: they orient on race. I’ve been increasingly aware of the role of race in our churches – and particularly, of just how poorly American evangelicals have handled race issues – over the past year or so. PJ King tackled the topic for Pillar on the Rock back when we were still writing regularly there, and I think his thoughts on history and trajectory are accurate and important.

In the interval between then and now, I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading various books and blogs that have highlighted in equally various ways just how central the issue of ethnic diversity is to true gospel ministry. Read on, intrepid explorer →