“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9–10, NIV 1984).
My Musings – The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is credited with saying “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” “My brothers [and sisters] this should not be.” Well, some may say, this is not racism, people just feel more comfortable fellowshipping with their own “kind.” This is, perhaps, merely a more “socially acceptable” way of “[cursing] men, who have been made in God’s likeness.” This is true whether we are attempting to explain why their “kind” may not feel comfortable in our church or explaining why we woudn’t feel comfortable worshipping with their “kind.” Once again, “My brothers [and sisters] this should not be.“
As we read the account of creation in Genesis, “God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24–25, NIV 1984). But, in His final act of creation, His piece de resistance, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26–27, NIV 1984).
With humans there is no talk of “kind” (other than male and female), as there was in His “lower” forms of creation. Humankind, male and female, were created “in the image of God.” There is no mention of white supremacy, (or any other kind) where one race is superior to and has the right to “rule over” another. In Christ, as it was orinally intended at creation, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, red or yellow back nor white.” In Christ, the curse (“your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” — Genesis 3:16, NIV 1984) has been lifted and there is also neither male or female.
My Advice – How then should the Church adjust to the current environment of social injustice and racism? Ideally, there should be no need to adjust. If the Church has been truly living out the Gospel, there would be no social, racial or other “segregation” or prejudices within the fellowship that needs adjusting. If there is, then adjustments are definitely needed. We must get our own “house” in order before we can tell others how to order theirs.
But let’s assume for a moment that our house is in order. Then how do we help others get theirs in order? We could demonstrate (march in protest) as the world does. There is certainly nothing wrong with that as long as it is done in an orderly, peaceful and civil manner. There is way too much disorder, unrest and animosity in this world as it is, and matters of such importance deserve better. This (march in protest) is how the world does it, and sometimes things do get disorderly, violent and downright uncivil. When they do, the protest is, in my mind, largely delegitimized.
From the Church we expect more. For we do not wage “war” as the world does, and believe it or not, racism and social injustice are sins that war against our soul. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:11–12, NIV 1984),” that eagerly desire to cause division and strife amongst God’s prized creation. So prized that He sent His Son to die for it. So, we as the Church must demonstrate (show by one’s behavior, attitude, or external attributes) love and acceptance as our Lord did. We must see others the way our Lord does, souls of the same “kind” made in the image of His Father, but ensnared by sin and in need of redemption, as we were. Souls that He felt worth dying for. That’s how deep our demonstration must be willing to go.