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Life: From All Angles | Race

05.11.17 | General | by Erick Solomon

Life: From All Angles | Race

    A month ago we ended our elective "Life: From All Angles." In it we attempted to shift our worldview upward to see life as God sees in order to change inwardly to feel as he feels. The goal of that change being that we might go out and work alongside God to renew the city and impact the world. With that in mind, we engaged some of the spectrum of life, namely the unborn, the elderly, the orphan, the refugee, and racial reconciliation. The hope is that this conversation will continue past the elective through these blog posts.

    This is the last of our five posts following up the March Life: From All Angles elective teaching and today we talk about the r-word: race. In our March session on race, I began with the following insight from Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile from his blog Pure Church, "'Race' is not only powerful, it's also about power." (See https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/thabitianyabwile/2012/02/06/11-things-im-thinking-in-the-wake-of-recent-events/) And, as with any conversation about power the experience can become rather volatile fairly quickly. What is ironic is that despite this volatility, many in our surrounding community are actually engaging it, yet we struggle to even begin the conversation within the church. We misappropriate Colossians 3:11, “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all,” (NIV) and adjust our color blinders, pretending that the conversation is just liberal spin doctoring advancing some sort of agenda. Now, while the agendas in this conversation cannot be ignored, neither can we ignore the hurt, pain, and injustice of minority cultures. 

    To say that this conversation doesn’t matter is to misunderstand the very mission of Jesus in the gospel. He does not eliminate cultural differences for the sake of plain unity. Instead, “he has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…to create in himself one new humanity out of the two (Jew and Gentile, a  war raged concerning ethnic identity), thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16, NIV) This reconciliation and unification is one that shines in all its glory at the end of the biblical story in Revelation 5:9 and 7:9-10 where persons from every nation, tribe, people and language are before the throne of God, purchased by the blood of the lamb, and praising him. They are still different, but they are also one in Christ. 

    This conversation is not easy to have, but we must have it. God is at work in it and the storyline of the Bible testifies to his work of unity within diversity. If you are wondering how to enter the conversation, here are a few resources:

    READ IT: 

    WATCH IT: 

    SOCIAL MEDIA: Diversify your feeds

    CLICK IT:

    LISTEN TO IT:

    If you are wanting some suggestions about what you can do, here are a few:

    • Pray that God would position you to take action for the cause of racial reconciliation.
    • Think like a missionary
    • Start with acquaintances: Maybe there’s someone in church who is of a different race. You know each other, but you’ve never spent significant time together or had a substantive conversation. Why not invite that person out to coffee or have their family over for dinner? It’s a natural, organic way to deepen a relationship you already have.
    • Don’t over-complicate friendships: It doesn't have to be perfect or feel like walking on eggshells. Offer friendship and pursue an authentic relationship. 
    • Find new places to hang out: Such as ethnic restaurants or Sports/Clubs/Activities. Why not join a YMCA or city league or a local club?
    • Intentionality: We don’t naturally gravitate toward those who are different from us. We naturally gather in similar groups. We have to do something unnatural, or rather, supernatural, to break the cycles of social sameness that hinder racial reconciliation.
    • Interrupt ignorance: If someone is making a stereotype about a people group, then stop and ask, “Why did you say that?” or, “Hey, you might want to rephrase that.”

    I want to continue this conversation. Please email me at that we might pursue the heart of God together.