Racial Reconciliation. I Don't Understand.
Let me state right up front that I am a member of a Big Red Brick Church on the Highway, in a mostly white city. We do have a few Black members ... more about that terminology in a minute ... but you'd sort of have to look to find them on Sunday mornings.
Except for those in the choir. And if by chance you attended a Deacon meeting. Where one of the finest men I've had the privilege to know ... of any color ... is serving as a Deacon.
His wife is a real joyful huggin' buddy of ours, too.
As to the descriptor "Black". I use that for a couple of reasons. First is that "Black" is the descriptor that people of that race chose, many years ago. I was told that, in fact, by my Audiologist, a terrific young black lady, a few years ago.
The other reason is that saying "African American" kind of mandates that there's more than one class of American. And that thought I resist. My black friends ... at least the ones here, as opposed to Jamaica ... are every bit as much American as I am. And I have asked all my Black acquaintances if that term is good for them and they have all, without exception, said it was.
Incidentally, when I asked, it was always on the basis "If it becomes appropriate to refer to race, what term would you prefer I use?".
Said all that to say: there's been a lot of ink .. or maybe electrons ... spent on "Racial Reconciliation" in the blog posts and the press I have been reading lately. I've long thought that much of how races relate to each other goes back to how the individuals were raised. I might have one internal reaction .. call it of the flesh if you want ... to people of another race, but that's a simple matter to put aside in how I act and react.
We go through life not doing what we feel like doing, you know. Someone pulls out in front of us, our reaction might be to hit'em good, to teach them a lesson. Someone insults us, our first temptation might be to smack'em good. But we don't.
So this thing is going to be resolved, even as to the reaction thing, when our generation all dies off.
Now: as to the corporate issue with our churches and the SBC, the issue is a bit different. It will take a while for minorities to rise through systems here and there, but the SBC Presidency of Fred Luter tells me that the SBC organizationally has already moved to solve that. And I don't know of any local churches preaching anything other than the Gospel as to racial fellowship.
Which leads me to ask the question ... and I have written to the SBC Officers that I know, asking, but thus far without response: "Are there a lot of Black folks out there that want to worship in our White churches, but feel they can't?" And, if not, just what is it that needs to be reconciled?
So far, silence, electronically speaking....
I asked that question, above, of the young Black couple mentioned before. Their reaction was to laugh. The wife ... my huggin' buddy ... said "Your music alone is enough to keep most of us away!". And based on the Black churches I have worshiped in, I'd certainly agree with her.
The question I would like to ask those who are calling for "Racial Reconciliation" is this: Are you worshiping at a Black church right now? If not, why not? You seem to want more Black in White churches; why aren't you putting some White in Black churches?
I certainly hope the worship habits of those calling for racial reconciliation don't reveal latent hypocrisy. I've heard God doesn't like that.
Couple other ideas: my favorite church in the world ... the one I wish I was at, every Sunday morning ... is Red Hills Baptist Church in Kingston, Jamaica. Needless to say, we are likely to integrate it when we go there. And I have had a love affair with those folks since 1991.
I've even blogged about some of them....
Some years ago, I was the insurance broker for a BBQ restaurant in a Birmingham suburb. while I was, a Black gent bought the place and I got to know him quite well.
I started my relationship with him by telling him I didn't give a flip about skin pigment and he laughed and said he didn't either. And during one of our laymen's philosophical conversations, he said something I never forgot. Namely:
"Our country will never get a handle on race relations until it recognizes that wanting to worship with people of your own race is not racist."
Amen, Sy. Maybe we could all learn that lesson.