I wanted to write something funny tonight. I was thinking another Subway inspired post about how @GloShearer gave a fist pump when she walked into the sandwich shop and saw what was apparently an excellent consistency in the tuna fish.* It was going to be a great piece on…watery tuna fish, or something…
But I can’t. The silliness just isn’t there for me right now. I have too much on my mind. See, in addition to being in the middle of a entrepreneurial ministry venture that is far bigger than myself and genuinely needs the mighty hand of God to come in a breathe power into it, I just finished reading Church Diversity: Sunday The Most Segregated Day of the Week, by @ScottWilliams. And it won’t let me go.
Here’s the gist: I am a racist, you are a racist, and the church is the most segregated institution in our country.
Now, let me ease up a bit. I don’t believe for a moment that I am racist in the KKK, hate-mongering sense. Neither do I believe that you are, for that matter. But am I ignorant to issues of race? Do I ignore the lack of diversity in my own little world? Have I spent my entire life (32 years) in environments that are almost exclusively white? Sadly, “yes” to all of the above. I am not as ignorant as some, nor as I used to be, but I certainly have largely avoided the huge, racial elephant in the room for the sake of comfort.
Scott approaches the subject of church diversity head on, but he does so with love and with hope. His is not a tone of condemnation or judgement, but of urgency and optimism. He casts a strong reminder that – almost 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King initially made the statement – Sunday morning is still the most segregated day of the week. Whites have white churches, blacks have black churches, Koreans have Korean churches, etc. In stark contrast, however, he also paints a beautiful picture of what could be – and what is actually beginning to take place in some churches: cultures, races, colors, styles, backgrounds coming together as a unified whole, worshipping One God together; a multitude of experiences and personal histories and cultural tensions pointing together towards a future hope.
There is not much more to say right now. I am thinking hard and praying earnestly. There are things within my realm of control that I can begin to change, but racial reconciliation in the church is a long, long road. I’m willing to start walking it, though. I have a feeling there will be follow up blog posts in the future. Thanks, Scott, for confronting an issue that has been avoided for too long.
I’d love to hear from you! Are you like I was when it came to diversity in the church – happy to be oblivious? Have any of you experienced the beauty of diversity, either in or out of the context of the church? Are you willing to pick up this book and challenge your perceptions?
* For reals.