Recent events around the world—including those in Ferguson, MO, just a few miles away from where I sit as I write—underscore what we all should know, but too easily ignore: Prejudice against those who are “other” is a rampant human sin, both at a personal level and at the systemic level of all societies. And, this prejudice is all too blatantly obvious where race and ethnicity are concerned. I am horrified by what I have heard and seen some white Christians say and write on the internet and in our local paper concerning the shooting of Michael Brown and the protests by his neighbors.
The most blatant prejudices, however, are not the only hurtful ones. Almost daily I see both systemic and personal slights and partiality exercised, even as the people doing so vehemently deny that they would ever do anything smacking of prejudice. It happened again just this week to members of my extended family! It is so frustrating. As a Caucasian, I can hardly imagine what my dear sisters and brothers who are not Caucasian see daily with their much more clearly-sharpened eyesight.
The basic biblical theology about multi-ethnicity in the Jesus Movement is fairly simple. The Scriptures tell us that “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah” is committed to creating an eternal multi-ethnic kingdom/society/culture of the people, by the people, and for the people—with God’s reign finally coming to full fruition in each of these areas of human reality. Sounds kind of like a Monarchical Democracy with God as King and we as citizens, living face to face with God and one another in love and creative community, right?
I have certainly learned through my lifetime, and in my years as pastor here in New Covenant, that we bent and broken humans are not very good at genuine multi-ethnicity. Nor are we very good at genuinely embracing diversity in God’s presence together. (more…)