Do you think the Church has Compromised on the issue of Race?

I just finished the book by Jamar Tisby : The Color of Compromise. I highly suggest reading this book. Due to the current climate we live in, we need to deal with from a biblical point of view what is happening and have a meaningful discussion on the subject of race in the church.

Let’s discuss…

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Hi @Mr.Horton,

I also enjoyed Dr. Tisby’s book. What in particular would you like to discuss about it?

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For those who have read the book. What was your thoughts? What are some of the solutions we can put forth to deal with the issue of race in the Church body of Christ.

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Hi, @Mr.Horton. I saw your post a couple of days ago and ordered the book. I believe it is getting here tomorrow. Until then, could you bring up some points from the book that stood out to you and explain a bit and perhaps give us some of your thoughts?

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I haven’t read the book that you have mentioned, Sir, but, I will say one thing: The church has failed to properly address the pain of racism and injustice, and I highly agree with this video in this post. The Jude 3 Project has been a blessing to me, in terms of helping me identify where people of color have a place in the narrative of Christianity on the earth, and in history. I have been deeply wounded and hurt by the response and loud silence from the church, and specifically the non-black church. (This encompasses not only white Christians, but also, Christians of other non-black ethnicities). I fully believe that a heart change is needed in the church. Humility, that leads to dialogue. I believe that churches should review Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter to the White church, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and, google his speeches, since he is so popularly referenced, when scrutiny comes up about when, and how we cry out for justice, and how we protest.
As Dr. King so wisely said in his letter, the white church values “order over justice.” It needs to begin to look at the people, instead of discussing the perceived losses they believe they see, in terms of property and social “order”, and begin to value life. There is so much defensiveness, and far less humility, and listening.
I will look into this book, personally, because everything that was spoken to in the video you shared, is spot on. And I am sincerely grieved by what I am witnessing in the church, and many Christian organizations,
that have mainly stayed silent on this issue, while people in, and out of the church, look for guidance! We must continue to push for dialogue to be had. Many won’t like it, and will push back, but the church must show up. They must begin to engage people, show up to rallies to march peacefully, and offer to pray for the protesters and law enforcement. Offer an ear to a person of color near them. Just plain CARE. If we cannot address the reality of racism, and Christianity’s part in it, a divided and segregated church, and the complicity of many silent people, then we will be doomed to have a church that doesn’t truly practice the gospel, and the world will know it. The church should be a real example of peace,love, and equality. They may stumble and fumble in an effort to try, but, at least they would be willing to try. That’s a huge start.
I encourage people in the church to listen, be available to those they may disagree with, to hear their heart and pain. Reading Isaiah 58 and Luke 10 (The Story of the Good Samaritan) let me know that God desires us to emulate His heart. And those chapters and verses say that God is concerned more about the afflicted and oppressed, than a perceived social order, and items and buildings that have no soul, and can be replaced. Remember, Jesus upturned tables, too, in response to injustice. My heart is grieved. I pray that people would be willing to change. :pray:t5::pensive::broken_heart:

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I must say I was blessed to read your post. You have spoken my heart with clarity and compassion. I pray the book “The Color of Compromise” begins to peel back the bandaids so the light of healing can begin. It is long overdue.

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Your post was a blessing to my heart as well, sir! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to post it, to begin to address this topic. As you said, it is long over due. I look forward to reading this book myself, and to further discussion on this thread. I hope that others will desire to participate in this conversation. :pray:t5:

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I just started reading the book, and I’m already hooked. I haven’t read far, but the first thing that grabbed me and I had to think through was Lecrae’s bringing up the celebration of Independence Day on the 4th of July and his posting of a picture of African Americans picking cotton. To be honest and transparent, at first I was irritated. Independence Day in America has been held in a lot of people’s hearts as such a sacred thing that for anyone to have such a seemingly dismissive attitude towards it works up initial indignant emotions. However, in my desire to understand, I was able to press through my initial reaction and feelings to put myself in the shoes of black African Americans. At the very birth of our nation, it was white men and white men only that represented our new nation. It was like black people didn’t even exist. Independence Day didn’t represent independence for all. At this realization that deeply pained and still pains me, I am shocked and surprised I have not heard this come up in conversations before. But then I thought of things like Memorial Day. People don’t often think too deeply about the very real issues of pain and evil and sacrifice that accompany these celebratory days. Mostly I find that it’s because they don’t want to. They want to be comfortable and feel justified in being comfortable and in celebrating.

I grew up in a family like that. They don’t like to think too deeply about things. They avoid things that make them feel sad and especially convicted. For them, life is about being comfort and enjoyment. Growing up, we lived for the next movie night or the next lazy visit with family. There was never talk of politics or voting or things happening outside our little bubble. I think this experience, unfortunately, is representative of a good chunk of the American experience. I have lost a couple of friends because of bringing up the effects of the on the Church. I have been trying to convince people the Church in America has become quite idle in the deeper matters and values comfort over truly examining whether the gospel is being lived out in real concrete ways. I bring this up, because I think the Church has compromised on a lot of things by being passive, including the issue of race. It’s harder for me to see it here in our own churches, because where I live, whites are the minority. Our previous church is a good mix of all blacks, Mexicans, and whites. But even in that church, there was a lot of over-spiritualizing of issues for the sake of comfort and “peace.” I put the term ‘peace’ in quotes, because true peace isn’t the absence of conflict like so many people think it is. I think this is one of the Church’s greatest downfalls in issues of race–is it’s understanding of peace. I have found, though, and am continuing to find, that it is incredibly difficult to get people to stop over-spiritualizing and to realize that their definition and sense of peace is a false one. My husband sort of jokingly calls people who do this ostriches, because they like to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that everything is okay and think that if they ignore them long enough, problems will go away. They don’t like people who point problems out, even going so far as to say that just bringing the issue up or talking about is actually creating the problem as opposed to just pointing it out.

What are your thoughts so far (anybody)?

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Thank you for sharing your post and recommending this book. I just ordered it today.

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Hi, @KenStarr. I hear your heart on this.

I hear you that we need to value life. At the same time, I think it’s a misunderstanding to talk about discussion of the loss of people’s livelihoods as a lack of humility and valuing life. Businesses don’t represent just material property or money. They represent the ability for people (both white and black) to feed their families. To see those as only perceived losses as opposed to real losses is the same thing as people seeing systemic racism as only perceived and not real. Those were real losses for real people of all colors who are now experiencing difficulty in trying to feed their little ones, trying to make payments. So it’s unfair to say that people who are concerned about this aren’t concerned with and valuing life. You said in another post we need to be honest with each other, so I hope that was sincere. I feel like there is a bit of self-righteousness on both sides, and taking responsibility for that needs to happen on both sides for reconciliation to happen. Unfair dismissal and accusations where people have voiced their own concerns will harden people’s ears and hearts to the important things, so I think we need to be very careful to understand that both sides need to be listening and trying to understand each other.

I am broken-hearted over the racism that I see and the new knowledge and realizations that are coming to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also be broken-hearted that people’s lives have been destroyed by a lot of people who are just there to revel in chaos rather than any true caring about racial injustice. It’s not an either/or situation.

Thank you for bringing up the Jude 3 project. I am going to look into that. Also, I would appreciate it if you would read my other post here once it’s approved and tell me your thoughts.

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Hello,

It’s is interesting that you bring this particular part of my entire post up. Most people who have an issue with what is going, pertaining to our cries to be heard, tend to zero in on this particular argument, without knowing the entire picture. For the record, the majority of protests have been peaceful, yet, this small part of the protests gets a large amount of attention.

When I spoke about humble listening, I meant that it should come from those who do not experience racism. Those, who don’t understand our experience and pain of being black in America and the world. I will flesh out that point within this reply…

First, I do not condone the burning and looting of business, but, I understand the heart and pain of those who have done so. It’s funny. The news won’t show you this, but, there have been business owners who have said that their products can be replaced, but lives cannot. Even small businesses, like an Indian restaurant in Minnesota stated that they understand, and that if it takes their building to burn for people (the world systems) to listen, then let it be, because it can and will be rebuilt and replaced. (What i also respected about their interview, was that the owner’s daughter said that she was angry at first. She didn’t deny her legitimate emotion. But, without any outside prodding, she and her father came to the conclusion that this store would be rebuilt. Lives cannot be replaced. They saw the systemic racism that blacks go through, and mentioned that in their interview.)
Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs are also some who have made similar statements. Many business are also insured. Remember, I said that I don’t condone the it, but can understand why they did it- because I sought to understand. And please note, that not everything that was destroyed/looted was done by the protestors. There are many agitators who have infiltrated the protests, and some have been caught on camera and stopped by the protests- but, depending on what you listen to for your news information, you won’t get that.
I would encourage you to read Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham jail, I’d you haven’t already, and google some
of his sermons which aren’t available. It might bring some perspective. The black Person has been crying out to be heard for hundreds of years. And the hypocrisy is, that historically speaking, white Americans upturned everything with their revolution against England (had a war), the Boston tea party, etc., all in the name of freedom from Europe, and yet, we who are crying out for justice are criticized for HOW we express our pain, and anger- how interesting.
If this situation were a math problem, and 2 (being systemic racism) + 2 (being unjust killings for hundreds of years) = 4 (protesting and riots), it would seem that everyone wants to discuss and focus on 4, but no one wants to discuss 2 + 2. The issues that got us to 4.

Please consider a few things if you’d be so kind- 1) Dr. King wasn’t so acceptable to the masses as history teaches. His daughter Dr. Bernice King reminded us recently that during his day, he was the most hated man in America. And even he said that the riot is the cry of the unheard. 2) Many of the businesses in those neighborhoods are not black owned. Black neighborhoods have a history of other cultures setting up shop in their neighborhoods, taking the money of the people there, and leaving. Not investing in the community. And not caring about the people. They can know your face for years, for shopping at their location, but, they see you as another minority. If you think I’m fibbing, look up the murder of a young boy named Junior, in the Bronx, which happened last year. He ran into a convenience store for help. This store has been in the neighborhood for years. He was chased by a gang, dragged out of the store front of the owners, and murdered outside. They didn’t not help him. Nor did they call the police. Many stores in black communities are indifferent to the people who live there, no mater how often we patron them. Black owned businesses in big cities like NYC, are not prevalent. 3) Many of these stores will eventually rebuild, and have their items replaced. Also, their communities who understand the outrage, are helping those who set up crowd raisers to do so. (The Indian restaurant was one of them. The owner is straight from India, and even he said that he participated in serious protests in india, and he understood what was going on with the outrage he was seeing. He has hit well over his monetary Goal, and will be helping the community more.) 4) We protested quietly, and no one liked it. Remember the NFL? Remember the Knee? Remember the Civil Rights Movement? But it wasn’t “right” , to those who criticized. When we fight for our people, it’s never “right” for anyone. Dr. King was ALSO demonized, and criticized for how he protested.
Watch the Movie Selma. You’ll get a small taste of that truth. 5) Jesus upturned tables too at the sign of injustice in the temple. He had a righteous indignation at the
blatant injustice he saw taking place in the temple, and that resulted in a whip and tables overturned. Jesus didn’t protest in an acceptable way. Those money changers Lively hood had been disrupted to get a point across. (They probably set back up again whenever the Lord left). 6) Many people died to fight for freedom. The movie Selma will show you that. But, we have been dying to be seen and heard for the longest time.

  1. when you see your people being killed so easily, and have been seeing it go on for centuries, what do you think the response will be? How do you want them to respond? What would make you feel comfortable? Do you want them to be orderly? Do it nicely? In a way that makes sure you feel comfortable, and your things and stores are kept in place? Do you want them to not make a scene? What would you
    have us do? This pain and lack of conversation about our very real pain, has been unaddressed for over 400 years- 400+ years in the making.

What would you have us do? Should I see my black brothers get killed on the ground with a knee on his neck, and not feel my soul being gouged out of my body? What would you have us do? See our black sister get shot in her house and not feel horrified? See our black brother get gunned down for jogging, and not be galvanized in our souls? Remembering the beating of Rodney King and the way them police walked free, and not remember that this has happened before? And you want Us to think and have a dialogue about stores? Things that can be replaced? And companies which didn’t care for us and our neighborhoods, more for than our green dollars?
Like I said, I am not FOR breaking anything down, but I am here to offer perspective, and to understand the heart of those who do react this way in their pain. I’ve LISTENED to those who thought this was the best way to express their outrage, and I understand WHY. And apparently, other companies understand also. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? To listen to those who we don’t understand/agree with to see where they aren’t coming from, and not presume we know? Not tell them what they should do and how they should do it? It’s important to listen to people when you have never experienced racism. Never personally experienced the pain of it. Never had fo think about a world and system that doesn’t work in your favor. Never had to be judged based on the color off your skin. Never had to be afraid of an officer when they pull you over.
Instead of telling them what to think, and how to feel, take time to put your ears fo their hearts and listen to their heart cries. The goal is to empathize and sympathize and see what you might be missing in this picture. Not to criticize. People who are making themselves the greater or equal victims, because they lost property, will not be invalidated by their banks and insurances. but, people who have been dying, being slain, and oppressed, and fighting to be heard in a country, and church, that has been systemically oppressing them for hundreds of years,are invalidated every day, and may even continue to be, once the dust dies down.
There needs to be more humble listening on the side of those who know nothing of our pain. People who want us to pay attention to the loss of replaceable properly while we have been loosing our lives for centuries,
are missing the whole entire point of our protests.
It’s 2020 and a black man, a human being, was held underneath the knee of a civil servant for 8 minutes and 46 seconds…crying out to breathe, while other civil servants stood by. This isn’t hundreds of years ago. This is still happening to us. And yet, people want “equal dialogue” and consideration about their property loss…fascinating…and very heartbreaking…
And this is the deep pain, and painful lance of an argument that the black community gets from the church- even from those who are minorities who have been colonized in their Christianity, and are trained to be silent and dismissive about systemic racism and injustice, and its effects their very own people and community. How painful. God isn’t silent nor unaware of it. I take comfort in that, at least.
Please do your research, and listen to people who aren’t like you. Please avail yourself of the many resources out there that can give your greater perspective on this. Please take your concerns to God in prayer.
I will no longer reply to these kinds of posts anymore. The pain it causes, is too great. I am at a loss…:pray:t5::pensive:

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Hi, @KenStarr. I’m so very sorry. I know you’ve said you wouldn’t reply to these posts anymore, and I’m sorry to hear that and hope you at least read this one. I am truly sorry I’ve added to your pain. But that should tell you that it’s important to have these conversations, and it’s important for those who have a heart for the black community like yours and are able to see things better than those of us who haven’t experienced racism to speak up and be a part of them. I promise you that I have been putting hours into conversing with different people and finding resources (MLK is the only hero I have and I have listened to many of his speeches, which is part of the reason why I am working so hard to get a better understanding of everything related to racism and how it has manifested and grown out of past policies and legislation). I can only imagine how painful of a conversation these exchanges have been for you, but doesn’t change come through pain? Isn’t that what you’ve been saying, after all? The more comfortable things don’t benefit us much in the way of change, but it’s the painful things–perhaps even the painful conversations–that break through the ignorance and the complacency. You’ve reminded me that some of the rioters are not just those out to revel in carnage, and I thank you for that. I think I could be so focused on people losing their livelihoods, because I personally know people who participated in rioting that were just there–not for racial justice (which is a huge insult and offense for those who are actually out for racial jusctice)–but simply because they hate authority and love wickedness. So I think in my mind, the rioting and looting were more of a separate category on its own that might have had those truly angry over racial injustice but most of which I understood were just doing the things they were doing “just because.”

I’m already learning from you, my dear friend. That is not lost on me. I beg you to please stay in the conversation. Please endure the pain with me. I may not be where you want me to be. But isn’t that what discipleship is about? Meeting someone where they are and walking with them? Jesus went through a lot of pain and sacrifice for a sinful people. Can you model his example to help me and others like me who are trying so desperately to understand and make sense of this all? We need your help. We need the black community’s help.

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Hi, Everyone. @Mr.Horton, @KenStarr, @david.l.strickland. Talking to some of my black brothers and sisters in the Church has not helped me too much. What would you say to black brothers and sisters who adamantly deny systemic racism and are in complete disagreement with the narrative of white privilege? I don’t agree with them, but there is obviously not uniformity in views across the back community, and I guess I’m not really sure how to process that and view that. I was hoping I could get your thoughts. They have lived with violence and seen police brutalization in the black communities they used to live in, so it’s not like they have not experienced that. Do you think it’s just denial, and how do you propose engaging in conversation with them?

Another question: How do we help people’s fears of the church just becoming “social justice institutions?” This is something in the Church that I am seeing a lot of in reading people’s conversations on social media, and it is indeed mostly white people. I think this is something we could work on to help the white Church work towards reconciliation with the black community–the solutions Mr. Horton was talking about. Thoughts?

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I’m sorry I have not replied as often as I should. I just read your post. Wow!!! May I encourage you to continue with our conversation. You are speaking for more than yourself. You speak for many of us that feel your pain as well. If we stop speaking, people may not learn. How then can we expect change.

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