By Cameron Triggs
Sometimes you read something so unbelievable you have to Google it to see if it’s real.
But every now and then, there’s something you won’t be able to find through a quick internet search. We must observe them through the rhythms of life.
We Whisper About Race
Here’s something I’ve observed that you can’t find on Wikipedia. It’s a fact, or maybe a truth, I notice frequently in my life.
Typically, whenever race enters a conversation, people whisper.
Yes, they whisper. Like, “I see dead people” whisper. If a crime is committed, a new interracial marriage takes place, a funny or awkward story, whatever or whenever, soft tones of “This black lady …” or “A white man …” begin the conversation.
True enough, these whispers take place primarily in public. So who knows what they say behind closed doors?
Our Pulpits Whisper About Race
So, let me cut to the point. This fact of life makes its way into our pulpits, small groups, and Sunday school classes; particularly in evangelical Christianity.
Gunmen attack churches, footage of police brutality seems to pop up daily, and protesters carrying Confederate flags march in our streets–we’re still whispering.
Immigration discussions often ignore God-given human dignity, someone spray paints swastikas on buildings, and canyon-like economic disparities starve the working class–we’re still whispering.
The colored lines of division in the body of Christ are frequently discussed by media analysts, Pulitzer Prize winners, and casual coffee shop sippers. But where are the pastors crying out in the wilderness?
We Need to Cry
Ah, I hear you. True. We’ve seen some books address these issues, but we need more tears.
We need local pastors and church members who actually dialogue and pursue these issues instead of merely reading the latest book or hot-off-the-laptop blog post (thanks for reading though).
Because even if we do turn the volume up of that whisper into an elementary school “inside-voice,” we still often tip-toe around the common conversations on obvious racism and the evils of the KKK, instead of the pressing contemporary concerns such as white supremacy, racist and revisionist narratives, and economic oppression.
But pastors, these deep-rooted varieties of sin are just waiting to be shoveled up by the gospel.
We Need to Sing
You might be surprised the Bible doesn’t whisper on this issue. The Bible sings! And it calls us to sing the beauty of racial diversity and biblical unity. Psalm 133:1 sings, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!”
The apostle John witnesses one of the best musical experiences ever in Revelation 5 when a divine vision depicts a heavenly choir singing. They sing out:
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slaughtered,
and you purchased people
for God by your blood
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth. (v.9-10)
The Bible rejoices, God rejoices, when there’s unity and still sings over our rich diversity ransomed and purchased by the blood of Christ. Thus, Christians should have no worries concerning division or fear. God desires such anthems of grace in the church.
We Need to Shout
This is not about superficial answers. Sorry cyber-friends, I’m not Dr. Google. A search on Wikipedia brings up “No Results Found.”
This blog doesn’t have the time or depth to answer, “How do we resolve the racial tension in America? How can we achieve interracial churches that actually do life together and pursue justice without political tension? How can a church resolve tensions amongst same-race economic classes?” [epq-quote align=”align-right”]We have to have an ultimate identity in Christ and press into these issues that have become taboo among us.[/epq-quote]
But I do want to take an initial step to be prophetic, bold, and actually shout. We have to have an ultimate identity in Christ and press into these issues that have become taboo among us.
We Need to Stop Whispering
We must stop whispering and start listening. We must stop whispering and start lamenting. We must stop whispering and start singing.
I’m positive God can do it through the power of the gospel and its implications through devoted discipleship. But I’m also positive whispering won’t work.
We need to sing. And we need to sing–together. The church needs to hold hands, drink from the same cup, gather around the fire of God’s Word, and sing out our hearts to one another.
Stop whispering, that’s a start.
CAMERON TRIGGS (@CamTriggs) is a husband, father, and the church planting pastor of Grace Alive in Orlando, Florida. He formerly served Shiloh Church in Jacksonville, Florida and was sent by The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.