This weekend my sermon is about race. Our sermon series is called Life in These United States, and we’re talking about what everyone is talking about. Race relations have been in the news a lot in recent years, and again this week there have been two shootings of black men by police officers. These shootings have been highlighted by the National Anthem protest that some professional athletes are enacting. These athletes are not standing during the playing of the Anthem in order to draw attention to the plight of shooting victims across the country.
The ensuing conversation has been difficult and divisive. There are so many questions.
Can we support the playing of the Anthem while at the same time still supporting those who choose not to stand and their cause?
Can we support the mission of police officers to provide law and order while at the same time supporting the reality of racial profiling and needless killings?
What can we do to bring peace and justice? What is a proper Christian response? It would seem the answers should be easy to conceptualize and apply, so why are we having such a hard time?
What is it about race and ethnicity and diversity and our innermost prejudices that makes this situation so difficult?
And bringing it closer to home, what about the church? Do we have racial tension and prejudice in our Christian fellowships? Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1963,
“We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic.”
Is this still true today? A recent Lifeway study indicated that 86% of churches are primarily comprised of one racial group. And that is the case 50 years after King made that statement! Again I ask, is something wrong? The same study also suggests that most churchgoers find this segregation in worship to be OK. The school district in which my family lives and in which our church is located, is comprised of about one-third ethnic minorities. The congregation of Faith Church is closer to 5%. Is this OK?
What does the Bible have to say about this? What can we do?
Join us Sunday at Faith Church, as we seek to faithfully discuss race and the Bible.