My Question: Racism

Hi everyone, I don’t exactly have a singular question on this topic. It’s pretty loaded. I appreciate those of you that will take the time to read and respond.

I know many believers, like myself have been diligent to first ask the Holy Spirit to help us to discern truth and navigate these current cultural waters. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we think we are getting a handle on things and then another challenging wave hits us. I listened recently to an RZIM podcast with Cameron and Nathan on the topic of Racism, Civil Unrest and the Hope of the Gospel.

I have found it particularly difficult over the past year to converse and effectively communicate with others regarding the issues plaguing our current culture. Quite frequently I find it to be a kafkatrap for those of us that are Caucasian, like myself.

What is often communicated is that my race is racist, but it’s not racist to say that. It appears my race is given two “racist” options: 1. Accept that you are racist because you are white 2. Deny it and you are assumed guilty by your denial.

I agree with Nathan that this “Cancel Culture short circuits a persons genuine development.” No one is allowed to question, or to think out loud, especially if you are white. It’s as if we are not aloud to be human.

I agree that people are indeed addicted to the violence narrative& no longer permitted to speak freely. Not only can a differing opinion get you canceled, it can get you killed. I was made aware that the words “All Lives Matter” stated by a young mother earlier this month resulted in a BLM protestor shooting her in the head and resulted in her death.

As a military kid I grew up in a multi-racial/multi-cultural environment, a melting pot. We have never lived in a segregated community , but have seen communities that were. I am very aware of communities in America who willingly choose to live only among those that look like they do or believe and practice a specific religion. Not all segregated neighborhoods are white.

I have been the minority and experienced both physical and verbal abuse and violence in my youth as did my older brother. We are aware of the reality of racism. And been the target of hatred because of our skin color.

I agree with Nathan that there has never been a society that has established equality, mutual reciprocity, equity or fairness and that the equality of humanity has not been self-evident for the black community in this country. Though I would argue that no other country has created an environment capable of providing that more than America.

  • I would like to know what exactly has been “my part” in systemic forms of injustice?

When discussing the shame and honor dynamic of our present culture. The term “breaking on the floor” in academic debates was brought up and expressed as a good thing.

  • What do you say when it comes to conversations where there is evidence of people pressuring and bullying others, in a sense to “break on the floor” or suffer consequence if they refuse to comply and or affirm that they are in agreement. As this is a common occurrence I have witnessed in recent weeks.

  • We know that change has occurred but not to the degree it needs to. However it seemed that in the discussion with Nathan and Cameron, that Brandon was thinking these necessary reforms and the process of reconciliation needed to be put on the back-burner. Collective repentance was expressed. I am not sure if I am understanding correctly. Is it being implied that the hope of the black community in America can only be affirmed if the white community “collectively” repents? Is this completely on the shoulders of our white population? Cameron did say a good bit about repentance. But never clarified what exactly he repented. Much was expressed about the importance of TRUTH, but what specific truth they were discussing was never stated.

  • In reflection regarding a best selling book on racism called “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo I find that she makes a ton of assertions. In her writings I see an important symmetry that exists between anti-racist ideas and white supremacy; both operate under a presumption that whiteness is the most important thing in society. I think she has a deplorable view of autonomy of black people. Her description of reality degrades and diminishes the accomplishments blacks have achieved in society. She seems to assert that if black people have any individual will of their own, that it is inhibited by whatever white people want to do to them. This book and its critical theory tenants are very religious. White people are all sinners. Recognize and acknowledge your sins. Speak up loudly about it. Make obeisance to blacks. Yet, there is actually no redemption for whites in the author’s view. The only kind of redemption from the sin is to virtue signal that you are such a sinner, then do the racist “anti-racist work forever and ever and ever. Appears the goal she has in mind for white people is victimhood.

  • Lastly I want to know are we, as humanity, capable of coming up with a system for equally valuing and respecting one another? And if so, based on what objective moral standard? What would this “collective moral” grounding be rooted in or based on and how would it be established?

Thank you for your time. God bless each of you,
Amy

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You might be interested is infor.

Here is another resource. I recently finished an online class from this guy. His name is Carl Ellis. I am going to link you to his blog that I just read dated 7/16/2016.

In this blog, he discusses Black Lives Matter. He addresses the movement in lower case ‘blm’ and uppercase ‘BLM’ for contrast. In his view, ‘blm’ is the truth and ‘BLM’ is an ideology unto its self a parasite that has come alongside and high jacked a much need public discussion and activism in the framework of a “lived theology” to quote his definition which he borrowed from Dr. John Frame,

“…the application of God’s Word by persons in every area of life.”

I think you will agree with this as being very Biblical, very Paul, very 1st century and very much missing in the church at large today.

I think you will the find Ellis’ post informative and if you consider that it was written 4 years ago it might give you pause and some encouragement that this is not a reaction to the events of today but it is an assessment of ‘BLM’ from its beginning in 2013 with Trayvon Martin death.

Interestingly enough he connects ‘BLM’ to critical theory without mentioning the term. Critical theory is another can of worms altogether and for me, it was a new topic but, that is why we come to Connect.

The second link is a recent blog linked here dated 6/4/2020, 3 weeks old. Ellis compares the current unrests headlong plunge into anarchy with a cockroach-infested home.

In the last weeks, we’ve watched once-peaceful, constitutionally protected marches draw parasitical ideologies that commandeered the demonstrations for their warped intentions and destructive aims.

I Will be interested in the groups comment not on my post but the content of Ellis posts.

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Greetings,
I applaud your open and honest comments.

I wonder if there are men who wonder if they will forever have to apologize for being men and thereby sexists by default…and yet, we are forging ways ahead to make substantial changes in gender equality especially in the areas of equal pay, value for the work of homemakers, and other cultural changes without acrimony.

Questions that I think I am hearing is “Should this be a problem for everyone, even those who may not see themselves as being part of the problem, i.e. not racist themselves?” Is this guilt by association? In my opinion, the answer is “yes” to both.

We all have to face stereotypes. If I don’t want to live within a stereotype, then I also don’t want my brothers and sisters to live within it either. It will impact all of us.

The goal, I think, is to try to see if my thoughts stemming from my exposure (and only I can examine my thoughts while asking God to judge my heart and to “renew a right spirit within me”. Psalm 51:10) are creating an ungodly slant in any area, e.g. am I harboring any stereotypes, or am I acquiescing or turning a blind eye to any injustice that I see, especially in my area of influence?
Only then can I possibly help take the “speck out of my brother’s eye”. (Matt 7:5)

So, if you are not racist, how do you help your brothers and sisters who may be, even if your impact is in the smallest of social circles, may be a question. It is my hope that our culture will take it on as it did women’s rights issues and make this cause as ubiquitous as that one until we see similar impact on the thinking and behaviors of our nation.

Thanks, again, for your open thoughts.

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Hi Amy,

Thank you so much for your honest and vulnerable post. I think a lot of us are wrestling with the very same questions and trying to discern how to best move forward with a biblical perspective in today’s culture.

@Jimmy_Sellers linked to post where I raise some similar questions from a different angle and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

To address a few of your questions:

I think this is between the individual believer and the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure any of us are in a position to point fingers to each other without 1) knowing each other intimately, 2) understanding your life experiences and 3) taking the planks out of our own eyes per se. Only God knows your heart and will be sure to convict us of the sin which creates enmity with our fellow humans and keeps us from intimacy with Him.

The short answer is no, not without God. We can try as hard as we can but will continue to fall short time and time again because our hearts are fallen and sinful. Even if we tried to create “systems” in which people are all treated equally and all moral goodness is upheld, that doesn’t account for the root of rebellion/selfishness/pride that lies in man’s heart. Only through the redeeming work of Jesus, can a heart be changed. And even once it is changed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are still fighting against our sinful flesh as well as the Prince and Power of the Air who loves to deceive + create confusion.

This is not to say that we should refrain from using our resources to seek justice, speak up for the oppressed, or reform faulty systems; scripture clearly calls us to do that. Yet, as we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” let us remember that our hope is not in an earthly government/system but an eternal one in which one day all will be made right.

Personally, as I’ve been praying through all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that right now, I can only steward my sphere well. I can strive to treat others as made in the image of God with with dignity He has endowed to them. I can seek to love without hypocrisy and serve selflessly. I can seek to reflect the justice of God’s character in my own community through how I vote and what organizations I support. I can practice empathy and seek to learn by listening to others experiences while realizing that neither invalidates the other. And I can choose to find my identity in who God says I am rather than the categories others put me in because of my external attributes all the while encouraging others to do the same. Romans 12:9-19 has been top of mind.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

Hope this helps, Amy! Know you are not alone in your queries. May they lead you closer to Jesus and to a deeper love for those around you.

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@Artsy

Yes…
… What you said !!!

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Thank you RebekahD,

I so appreciate your thoughtful response.

My question about humanity coming up with a system, and basically what it would be grounded upon. It maybe should be directed at those, both people that are Christ followers and those who are not, that are seeking to solve the lack of inequality, equity and fairness in our society. When the moral standard seems to have been vanquished from our schools, government and culture and everyone seems to have their own idea of what “their morality” is.
I just wonder how our country, as a collective body, can establish anything tangible, lasting and truly change these issues for the betterment of all people.
I agree, it can’t be done without God.

I truly believe that prayer is paramount. Jesus prayed and petitioned the Father, He cried out to him and God heard Him.(Hebrews 5:7) In the same way I believe we need to be fervent as believers to trust that God will hear us and deliver our country from its current distresses. (Psalm 107:6).
I agree with your comments and that as Christians we certainly are in no position to point fingers absent the things you mentioned above. But in dealing with this humanistic world, fingers seem to be pointing non-stop even among those Christians that don’t adhere to a biblical worldview.

While I have a host of diverse friends and my sisters are Iranian born, my niece’s father is African American and my grandson is part Puerto Rican. I have prayed for the Lord to establish closer friendships with other Christian women in my church that are black as well as in our neighborhood. Interestingly this has been a request of mine for a number of years. The close relationships I have had over the past 30+ years are not local to my area, even though those friendships are cherished and we still stay connected. Unfortunately the times when I have reached out locally, it seems no one reaches back.

I very much want to make a difference in my community and in the city and state I live in. So I am asking the Lord to direct my steps and help me to visibly see how I can do that.

I want to be able to encourage and persuade people in relationships, to be salt and light and step outside of what they are accustomed to. People miss out on so much when they limit their friendships to only those that look like and talk like they do. And that does not just apply to white people, but people of every color and background, if all you see around you are people that look like you. It’s time for an adventure.

I will come back to this later and read Jimmy’s post along with your questions. I may have to wait till next week to do this. Thanks again RevekahD.

Joyfully, ArtsyAmy

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With you on this Amy!

Your comment about people pointing fingers made me think of how grateful I am that we have Jesus as our Example and Comforter; He sure had a lot of fingers pointed at Him!

Echoing your prayers and trusting the Lord will guide us in the steps we should take individually and collectively. I love your adventurous and willing spirit and believe God will strengthen and honor your efforts to be an agent of unity and reconciliation.

<3

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So much of this has been racing through my heart and my mind as well as I listen and learn. One resource that I have found particularly helpful is the Center for Biblical Unity.

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Hi, Amy,

As stated above, I think many people haven taken some time to ask and ponder some deep questions, and I think they are valid questions. When it comes to collective repentance, I see that in Scripture, especially books like Nehemiah and Ezra, etc. I do believe that when we see a wrong, in our past, it is right to bring it to our Heavenly Father for forgiveness and healing. We can’t undo sins of the past, but we can see His work in the aftermath. And yet even then we don’t stay in the past. I do not know if believing minorities are liking at this the same way, and I would like to hear different perspectives, but to answer that specific point, I think we should be very willing to have collective repentance before Almighty God.

I think what happens after that is where the sticking point may be for some. One of the biggest challenges is people who want reparations for things that have not actually happened to them personally as they happened 200+ years ago or whenever. All men should not pay for what one did in raping a woman. All teachers should not pay for one or several teachers who were bad teachers or abusive teachers. Does that pattern make sense? Even in the law that God gave Israel, children were not to be held accountable for their fathers’ sins, and yet our sin always affects someone else.

Ultimately, I have gone back to Joseph’s words in Genesis – You meant this action to be a horrible thing – and it was – BUT GOD…

He intended it to save so many people, including the very guys who sent Joseph into a living hell. And to work out forgiveness through Joseph. And to train him to be a humble and good leader. And probably a bunch of other things I do not even know about.

Pray, Pray openly and humbly to our Father asking Him to search our hearts and point out any evilness to which we are blind or have intentionally blinded ourselves. It’s always amazing to me how He does this. And then if He brings anything to your mind, repent. Make right if possible. And ask Him to work mightily in those who were wronged. He has a way of working things out His way. And it is always good. (And that’s not a pithy, flippant statement. It is full of depth and truth, stated with profound gratefulness – since you can’t see me or hear my voice.) :slight_smile:

Many people will wrong us in our lives, and conversely, we will wrong many people. It is the way of all humanity all through the ages since creation. How I wish we could all have this conversation in person!!

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Hello Amy,

Thank you so much for asking these questions; many of us are in the same boat as you. I have been reading “The Coddling of the American Mind,” which does not directly answer your questions, but it gives some context for why the sins of the entire country for the entirety of its existence have been placed on us now. Politics in particular have become polarized to the extreme, there is a lot of tribalism and “them vs. us” mentality going on, and people have been encouraged to be very sensitive about things as minute as vocabulary used rather than giving the benefit of the doubt.

Thus, this does make it difficult to communicate and it also makes it hard to comb the truth from the lies. We are getting to be a society that cares more about our tribe than about the truth. Part of my challenge has simply been trying to find out what the truth on any matter is. But that is what we are called to do as Christians: be seekers of truth and to act in love.

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Hi there, this is an interesting current topic, full of emotion. The Bible says that because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. Without belittling concerns either way on these issues, we are encouraged by that verse to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus, and to keep our love for Him uppermost in our thinking. The peace that He gives is past understanding, and wisdom for our walk through these issues will be given to us, as we seek to be obedient to the love He gives us for.others. Issues are magnified to take our attention, and fill us with anxiety or guilt, we know these fiery darts are from the pit. Keep abiding in the Beloved, Who took all sin, bitterness and anger (and much much more) on the cross. He paid in full for every wrong done by mankind. If we keep our focus on God, by the Holy Spirit, He will show us what we should do. Prayer for the souls of the contenders would be a gracious and loving thing to do. Revival is breaking out where ugliness and evil occurred, but the media in general don’t want to report good news and glad tidings! Let Jesus be our Lover and Friend to guide us in these difficult days by His precious Holy Spirit, in the Father’s love.

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@Artsy. I will attach a message from Dr. Tony Evans that I believe opens and answers the fevered conclusions now being exposed in our World. And if you can receive from me a black American; what we are seeing and hearing has very simple reasoning. It is not a problem of identifying racism systematic or personal; it is as simple as doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Something we all fail to do. We need not confer any farther than the people we live with to know how miserably we fail at this basic tenet. What ails us all is not the sin of racism, but the results of a World that divorced itself from GOD.

I would like to encourage us to not lose focus on what is really happening. This is a clarion call to the church of JESUS CHRIST. Not to correct or even establish social justice, but to understand where the true battle is being waged. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. In a fallen World we will not know equality. And that is not the failure of Caucasians only. That is the testament against all of humanity. Let me assure you that “isms” of all kilt exist in every culture. Pick a culture and prepared to be depressed.

What is very evident at this time, is what ails us can only be resolved by GOD. It is a GOD thing. Because whenever another human deals with me, my go-to place is not Godly. My response is often angry, hateful, and violent. At our core lies the fallen nature. The way we are attempting to eradicate our social or personal imbalance can not found in even peaceful protests. Nor in the rewriting of laws. No matter what social solution that is offered, the pus of our spiritual infection will always rise to the top.

We must change our focus. We must realign our actions to those of GOD’s. We have entered the hour when living for GOD may cost your life. We are not the first to face this challenge. Even if we don’t say “All Lives Matter.” they all belong to GOD. They all bare the mark of His love. Lord, please help us to treat each other as we wish to be treated. Let the measurements we place upon each other be recalled as the same measurements you will place upon us.

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Really good questions, Amy!

Perhaps I can share more later on. However I leave with few things:

  1. It is important to hear voices from various perspectives within the black community (christian, and non Christian). People have been listening to few. If you listen to Eric Mason/Jemar Tisby, balance it out with some Voddie Baucham (and vice versa). If you hear Tanihisi-Coates listen to Coleman Hughes (both secular voices). Of course, a dose of Thomas Sowell doesn’t hurt.

  2. There are Christian black voices that disagree on problem/solutions. So it is important to listen and also listen to them without throwing away your thinking hat.

  3. My opinion: those that make this as a predominately white issues actually cause disunity rather than unity. For example: I have followed Latasha Morrison (Be the Bridge, a christian voice), however, I found her rhetoric stemming from critical race theory, rather than the Bible. Monique Duson (Center for Biblical Unity, also a Christian voice), is someone who has previously embraced Critical Race Theory, so her perspective is rare and is balanced.

I found it helpful to keep this framework in mind:
A. Humans are Created in the Image of God.
B. Blacks, Whites and Brown etc, are all sinners. Blaming one race/group of people is unbiblical.
C. There are competing worldviews in answering the problems

Resources that I found who uphold the above framework:

  1. Group: Monique Duson (Center for Biblical Unity).
  2. Book: Beyond Racial Gridlock, by George Yancy.
  3. Balanced review of all books in this arena brought to you by Neil Shenvi. https://shenviapologetics.com/topics/

I am also an Indian immigrant to the United States. Not that it matters, but I hope I have no axe to grind, other than pursuing truth.

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I hope this is a “useful contribution”. This article recently served as a balm for a “Christian” family in crisis over how Christians could organize their thinking/vocabulary before wading into the cultural upheaval regarding race.

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“Coddling of the American Mind” was co-authored by Jonathan Haight. He was a signatory to a recent article in Harpers. The article is secular. Since I believe I have a responsibility to be able to defend Gospel principles in secular words, here’s a related article which makes sense to me.

More secular stuff which makes sense to me, Conor Friedersdorf:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/perils-us-or-against-us/613981/

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I have heard Be the Bridge come up often lately, but when I hear people talk about the book who have been influenced by it, something seems off and I usually disagree with their slant. That said, I am not familiar with “critical race theory”. Can you explain what that is?

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It is a worldview and a complicated subject I will attach a link that will better explain.
It has many over lapse with the Christian worldview, recognition of sin, the need for liberation from that sin, the need for identity all of which sound unifying but when put under the lens of Biblical truth fall short of the mark.
Ratio-Christi will require an email address to down load an e-book, 32 page booklet.

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“Critical Race Theory”, is a worldview in which society is divided into “oppressors” and “oppressed”. In this case, whites are oppressors. So, white people are always racist. Even if they don’t intend to be. According to CRT, racism is all pervasive, all existing and everywhere.
Also, the oppressed(blacks) have access to truth that oppressors (whites) don’t. Although, one can argue that having lived a certain life, one can speak from experience, its wrong to say only certain race/group can challenge objective truth, or for Christians, biblical interpretations. This is a small intro to CRT :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, I don’t think RZIM has resources on understanding CRT, yet. Neil Shenvi is pretty good place to start if you want to understand CRT. Here is his review on Be The Bridge.

If you got some time, perhaps you can watch this https://founders.org/cinedoc/

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Ramgoli, I so appreciate your thoughtful response. I hope you will take time to share more. I will take the time to review more in depth the links provided and suggested information. I hope to have more discussions and hear more perspectives. Thank you

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@Cameron_McAllister, @Nathan_Rittenhouse, and @Brandon_Cleaver touch on Critical Race Theory in “Racism, Civil Unrest, and the Hope of the Gospel: A Difficult Yet Necessary Conversation, Pt. 1.” They make a good point: we cannot let definitions of words hinder our understanding of what people are saying. They use the definition of “oppressor” as an example. How does disagreeing about how we define that word help us to get anywhere in the dialog? We need to uncover the essence of what the person is saying, then we can address the root issue. In this example, the root issue is that one race is born with an automatic advantage over another race. The more that I investigate the matter, the more that I see that there is a lot of truth to this claim. I do not have to agree completely with this claim in order to begin addressing the problem. Arguing over whether I am an “oppressor” because I am a White Anglo-Saxon Male gets us nowhere because we just talk past each other.

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