Reformers and Reconciliation: Our Racial Struggle, 50 Years After MLK’s Assassination

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

Ravi wrote an incredible reflection on the anniversary of MLK’s assassination:

A few quotes that stood out to me:

The path of a fighter for peace and justice is never smooth. It is profoundly moving to read how he struggled with giving up on his ability to succeed, or for that matter, giving up on life itself. The nature of the struggle MLK was up against brings to mind the words of a member of the British Parliament describing the battle William Wilberforce waged in England against slavery: “It was like pushing back a storm from a raging Atlantic with a mop and a bucket.”

Racial pain is a deep pain because it goes to the soul of one’s being. No one has a choice over one’s birth. To be attacked with racial prejudice is a form of murder because you are at risk just by virtue of your very being. Such a threat brings together stories of the past, the pain of the present, and cynicism for any solution in the future. When confronted with such an unshakable reality, sadly, it can breed a prejudice all its own.

How ironic that the only message in the world that frames humanity in God’s image, takes sin seriously, gives us the most glorious Scripture on love ever penned, and from beginning to end is a message of reconciliation was seen as a cruel belief because of the way it was being lived out. Therein lies the tragedy of racism and the failure of Christendom to deal with it or to own up to its blunders.

Of all people in the world, the Christian should lead the way in loving people of all nations because we all are ultimately created in God’s image. Our color does not define us. Our social stature doesn’t define us. Our soul defines us in that we are infused by God’s value in us, and we love because we are first loved by God, who is Spirit. Until the day dawns when we see everyone as having intrinsic soul worth, we will judge people by extrinsic appearances, yes and by color or some other distinction. How blind can we be?

This is the time to go to the ultimate heart surgeon who will help us love with his love. It’s time to turn from hate to love. Time to turn from prejudice to an embrace. Time to admit we are proud and wrong-headed. Time to see in each other the face of God. That can only happen when we are first reconciled to God. Then we can be reconciled with one another.

And another hymn writer said:

Let every kindred, every tribe

On this terrestrial ball

To Him all majesty ascribe

And crown him Lord of all.

Some questions for discussion:

  1. How have you seen racism hinder the work of evangelism?
  2. In your commitment to share the gospel with all people, how have you been lead to seek justice for people groups that have suffered oppression? If we want to share Christ with people out of love, then we will love them enough to care for their socioeconomic condition too!

(SeanO) #2

@CarsonWeitnauer I think part of what is so dangerous about the damage injustice does is that the pain and prejudice are rooted not just in a single individual, but in both the oppressing and oppressed cultures. I have seen these deep sentiments prevent relationships from ever forming that could have led a person to Christ, but because of racial injustices both past and present, the bridge for that relationship was burned before the two people even met.

I am very encouraged by people who decide to live in poor communities to help them get back on their feet. I think it is more helpful when it is a group of people doing this - because there is the practical reality that it takes numbers to make a difference economically. But it is very encouraging to see people who choose to live and work in socioeconomically underprivileged areas to make a difference.

(Ashish Money) #3

Thanks for sharing CarsonWeitnauer, there is so much that we need to ask ourselves and overcome the prejudice that we have in our hearts, As I was reading, I thought of a person whom I dont get along with as I was a couple of years ago. I need to overcome that feeling of bitterness and ask Lord to fill my heart with his love and a forgiveness