Race. Religion. Politics.
When it comes to building connections with people these are the three topics we are told to avoid. This is because when it comes to topics like race, for instance, we tend to have so many differences of opinion, different viewpoints, and let's face it, the subject of race in particular often stirs up painful thoughts and words that when shared with someone of the of another race may be ignored, rejected or disregarded. Yet, when you look around the world, you see such harmony in color in all aspects of nature. In the fall, the trees transform into a beautiful display of harmonious yellows and greens and oranges, all beautifully complimentary as they adorn their branches. You do not see color as a reason to separate anywhere in the animal kingdom as well. However, when it comes to humanity, we see our color not as something complimentary, but as an annoying dissonance, a reason to subjugate, despise or separate from others. Whole nations have subdued or sought to destroy others simply because of the color of their skin or the texture of their hair.
Color Separation in Church
I think what is most sad is that this racial separation is found even within the Church at-large. When you look, not only in America, but around the world you will find many examples of the Church separating based on color. It is said that Sunday morning is the most racially segregated time of the week. "Do you go to a Black Church or a White Church?" This is a common question among American Christians about church types and cultures. I often ask myself that if Jesus Christ were physically in attendance in most of today's churches, would he fit into the culture? Would he be seated on the front row with his overtly Jewish appearance and accent? I mean, when did Americans especially become more Christian than the Jewish Church, founded by Jesus Christ Himself? Shouldn't we be taking a few pointers from them about what Church culture really looks like?
The Color of Gospel Music
When shopping for Christian music, you will see genres called 'Black Gospel' separate from 'Southern Gospel' although they are both Gospel music. Although this type of separation may appear in less obvious ways outside of the Church, it should never be said of Christ's Church that we are divided within ourselves in attendance or worship expression because of our race, colors, creeds or cultures. While not everyone will express devotion to Christ in the same way, we should never see this as an annoying dissonance or believe the lie that one culture or color is better than the other just because of the color of their skin. Instead, we should be showing the world what it means to be One Man in the way that God designed us to be, in perfect harmony, perfectly complementing one another in every way. Jesus prayed about this in John 17, even saying that when we reach this level of unity the world would believe that He was sent by the Father! So, with that said, religion and politics aside, isn't it time we remove the racial lines that divide us? Isn't it time that we become intentional about our unity? Isn't it time we built a bridge of hope in the area of racial reconciliation?