let’s talk about race – part II

We ended Part I with the following: 

“As Dr. King repeatedly, boldly shared, we are all equally created by God.

That was the message from Dr. King. However — and this is key — some people miss the ‘created equal’ part — others people miss the ‘by God’ part. People too often omit one or the other. Therein lies one of the biggest challenges to the issue of racial reconciliation…”

If we want to follow the encouragement of Dr. King, we must seek the way of God; we must recognize that God is the Creator of the equal status.

Too many of us, too often, think we can resolve and reconcile absent any seeking of the way of God.

I get it. Huge topic. But my desire is healing and solution — what will actually work. So how can God help us? Where do we start?

The reality is that God’s wisdom and good news is available for any who seek him. With him is the only place where each of us is fully accepted and truly belong. We don’t have to be perfect; we just have to be us. But let’s face it; this is indeed a pretty huge topic; many of us have inactive relationships with God; some of us may not be sure how we even feel about him. And we’ve seen some who’ve gone before us behave in harsh, unattractive ways. So how can the Creator of the universe — the Creator of us — help us move forward in a positive way?

Let’s start by asking some relevant questions…

First, who do you spend time with? Do your friends all think/look/act/vote like you?

In fact, did you know that 75% of white Americans have no non-white friends — and 67% of black Americans have no non-black friends?

That seems way more divided than God ever intended or designed, especially when the historic scriptures speak of future huge crowds “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.” That kingdom diversity is beautiful.

Yet it makes me wonder how the way we view the world would change if we interacted more with those who were different than us. My sense is that each of us would see racism differently.

Secondly — and sincerely — when we see injustice, are we willing to speak up?

I’m not suggesting we scream and shout or hastily tweet, type some denigrating Facebook post. But one of the things I’ve poignantly learned from my friends of color is that silence is noticed. Could we each encourage one another to respectfully speak up? Be prudent — not rash — no slander, as targeted toward the young men standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last week. But let’s ensure our voices are heard.

And thirdly, what specifically more can we do?

Allow me to humbly share the keen encouragement of a wise friend…

  1. Stop with the binaries… this is not a choice between one or another — for or againstblack or white. It’s ok to say “black lives matter” and “blue lives matter” both at the same time, as both are true.
  2. Stop with the blindness… the color and historical. Realize what might offend the person who looks differently than you; be empathetic. Also, study history; history has not been consistently kind to persons of color. Let’s teach our kids that.
  3. Stop with the blame… while it’s wise to recognize where persons of specific ethnicity have gained favor, that does not require they feel guilty. Be humbly aware. Interact. Converse. If we interacted more respectfully with one another instead of just shouting louder and pointing fingers, we could make progress. And…
  4. Start seeking God’s wisdom… (there’s that huge topic again)…

Maybe seeking more about God is not a priority for you. Maybe it’s hard — hard to trust or recognize how good he is. I get it. Life’s a journey and not always easy; we can be pretty self-dependent, and it takes time to build a relationship. But here’s the thing… in order to bridge any gap in need of deep-rooted reconciliation, we need something bigger than we; we need copious love, grace, forgiveness, selflessness, humility, hospitality, respect, patience, and awareness that all are indeed created equal and belong. God’s gospel message is the only teaching that provides such wisdom, as no human way of thinking comes consistently close. It doesn’t last. It doesn’t work. Remember: we are seeking what actually works.

Seemingly over the last several decades, no less, we have lost our awe of God. We have forgotten how much we need him. We have forgotten his greatness and grandeur… and we have thus neglected to tap into his wisdom, especially places like here when we need it most.

With all due respect, isn’t it time to latch onto that which could actually heal us? … that which we need most?

That was the message of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Let us each humbly start there.

Respectfully… always…