This article highlights the challenge of having a dialogue about race. Part of the challenge is recognition that it is a problem, and figuring out how to get folks to have constructive conversations about dealing with and making it go away.
What does it take to help people talk about and confront the issue?
Between getting a Doctor of Ministry program started and an infant (new add. to the family), I haven’t had time to blog. Now, I’m squeezing in some time for it to tackle the things of multiethnic/multicultural ministry.
Our church had a Hindu family visit with us this past week. They found us by accident and were not there to join us because we worship a Triune God. That God brought them to us is a bit of a mystery, but we are glad for the opportunity to introduce them to Jesus.
What struck me about this family’s presence is that what we do as a church is fairly unusual for anyone not familiar with Christian culture. From the perspective of someone who does not know how churches function, what does a typical service look like? I imagine that our lecture style seating/assembly is odd, along with when we sing. Why do we sing? Who do we sing to? Do they think that we might be singing to our worship leader rather than God?
What would someone make of the preaching? Referring to the Bible might be commonplace for Christians, but how might a Hindu or Buddhist understand this? Does their practice of religion resemble that of a Christian so that they would have an idea of what is going on?
When we minister to people who are not Christians and have no background for understanding our “traditions” and/or “rituals” how do we help them process what we do?
If you have faced a similar situation, how did you handle it? What can we do to encourage our visitors to meet Christ as opposed to be turned off because we are insensitive or have created an artificial barrier (through our particular practice of faith) to Jesus that He never intended?
This is an example of what could be seen as disparate cultures coming together and creating something beautiful. Likewise, when people of vastly different backgrounds come together because of Christ, they can produce something wonderful.
For a little more collaboration between these two check this out.
Recently, an organization started offering scholarships to “white males only.” The scholarship offer is a response to race and ethnic, and gender specific scholarships, and a perception that giving scholarships to such class of individuals is discriminatory.
To be fair, their application does specify that an individual has to be at least 25% caucasian, so they are open to multiracial/multiethnic applicants. However, the bigger issue is about discrimination, in general. The premise of the organization, FMAE, is that the playing field should be level for everyone. While this is a worthy ideal, it fails to grapple with past harms caused by discrimination.
Put another way, let’s say a basketball team is leading another by 70 points going into the 4th quarter. This team gained it’s advantage by cheating and owning the referees. If this team all of sudden said, “Hey, we’ll play by the rules now,” how significant is this change on the score of the game? Wouldn’t you still prefer to be on the team with the 70-point lead?
The LA Times op-ed referenced offers a more revealing tale concerning our country’s perception of race and discrimination in the comments section. We have a long way to go in talking civilly about our nation’s past, the work needed to provide equality and to value racial/ethnic diversity.