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Racism's response and the church

Recent tensions surrounding the national anthem have stirred up racial discord that divides not only the country but our congregations. I’m surprised by the responses from our spiritual leaders. I often hear ministers encourage us to invoke our rights as kingdom citizens or wash ourselves of our past to overcome racial realities rather than admit that we suffer racial separation in this country. I get the idea that we should not allow our past to dictate or future. I understand that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), and that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). I understand that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). It’s a reality that stop and frisk policing practices, redlining, free enterprise prisons, gentrification, and more are INSTITUTIONAL PRACTICES designed to undermine black and brown populations in America. Employing the keys of the kingdom to overcome these racial injustices is further evidence of the fight.

Invoking my rights as a kingdom citizen does not and will not eliminate the prejudice separating the body of Christ. The spirit of prejudice is feeding a disease called racism and it is dividing the house of God and this country. And we, the people of God, must call this demon what it is. Are we not told to confess our faults one to another that we might be healed (James 5:16)? Confession starts the healing process. Placing the burden on black and brown people to “wash” themselves of their past is a kind of backhanded deceit akin to David blaming Uriah for his own death. How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked (Psalms 82:2) The spirit of Nathan will not allow us to escape our sin. We voted in secret and made an ungodly alliance, but God is exposing us in the open.

Unless we forget, Queen Esther was confronted with the same injustice. Her people, the Jews, were on the brink of destruction. Haman, a government official, decided to pass a law permitting the annihilation of the Jews (Esther 3:9-12). The Jews would “lawfully” be hunted down and eliminated. And keep in mind that she was a citizen of the kingdom. What must Esther do? She takes a spiritual and a natural approach. Esther calls her people to fast (Esther 4:16). But she does not stop in the spirit. She does something in the natural. She invokes mercy from the king. She does not remain SILENT (Esther 5:1-8). Rather than hide her race, she reveals it. If she denies her identity, her people will die. Moses was confronted with a similar issue when he married the Ethiopian woman in Numbers chapter 12. Racial denial is not the answer. Racial prejudice is the problem. It is a spiritual sickness that can only be healed when we confront it as the spiritual illness that it is. But denying race is not the answer. We are black, yellow, red, white, and brown, but we are also citizens of kingdom.

My hope is that the current tensions open the door for frank conversation, so that the body of Christ can finally be healed of this disease. To our clergy across the globe, your voices must be heard. You are more than citizens of your country. You are first citizens of the kingdom. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation and the nation is waiting. Justice is waiting on you. The creation is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19).
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