We have a problem. It’s an old problem, as well as a new problem with old roots. What am I talking about? You guessed it: Race! Race in America has been a silent and not-too-silent struggle for 200 years. In Luke’s gospel (10:25-37), we find a compelling example of how God’s wants us to see one another; it’s called the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
As I’ve said, racism is an old problem and it has an old solution: the Gospel! Until treated by the Gospel, it remains the crisis that keeps spreading from one generation to another that we pretend does not exist. Racism and racial hate exist. And, if you ask me, it’s gaining strength as we speak. You may ask, “But what about all the progress we’ve made? I mean we had a black president, for crying out loud!”
Well, as it turns out, racism has many heads. Cut off one head and another one takes its place. Why? Because it is not caused by social or political conditions and therefore it cannot be solved by human conventions. The problem with racism is that it’s an inward, deep, emotional, and spiritual issue of the heart! What’s worse is that, until we deal with racism in this country, we cannot demonstrate why the Gospel of Jesus is truly Good News.
How good is the Gospel when we claim Christ, but disown our brother or sister of another race? What good is a gospel that empowers one group of people to oppress others? What good is a gospel that serves as nothing more than an excuse for the self-interested propagation of turf, power, and privilege? Against this very urge, I believe Jesus did not die to make us rich, safe, or powerful! He died to make us holy and, until we grasp that, we will racialize and weaponize the Gospel.
So where do we go from here as a country and as individual Christians within the body of Christ? This Sunday, I have gathered a group of four wonderful people who will join me for a panel discussion on the topic: Who Is My Neighbor? A Conversation on Race, Reconciliation and the Gospel! John Williams from Fellowship Monrovia, Liz Cornell from Light and Life Christian Fellowship, Erin Takeuchi from the Monrovia School District, and Jacob Bortnik, Physics Professor at UCLA, will help me take on many of the questions animating the current and ongoing debate on racism and the role each of us can perform as Christians.
Hope you plan on joining us. Please invite a friend, neighbor, or co-worker. Let’s be God’s voices of reconciliation in this generation! Let’s make a difference!
Seeking reconciliation with you,