One more post about Ferguson — Why this event DOES raise important issues about race and why that matters to me

Last night I was invited to speak at a small rally in Gary, Indiana in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri. The following are my remarks at that event:

 

If will allow me tonight, I want to speak both as a white man and as a pastor.

A recent PEW research poll demonstrates that Whites have different views than African-Americans on whether or not the shooting raises important issues about race. I first heard about the shooting two Sunday mornings ago on facebook. While my white friends were talking about the deaths of a NASCAR driver and a famous comedian, my African-American friends were talking about Ferguson.

Once my white friends began to talk about the shooting, the refrain I most often heard was to “wait for the facts.” And as a white person who believes in justice, I can understand the sentiment. The 24-hour news cycle is not known for getting the facts right or getting all the facts out at all. The call to “wait” means that justice cannot be done by convicting someone with such lack of information, mis-information and half-truths. And if one wants to understand the White response to this issue (generally speaking) that’s it.

I admit that as a white person, with a white worldview and experience, that was my first reaction too. But then I read a Facebook post by an African American friend of mine – this theologically conservative, bible-believing, gospel-loving African-American preacher and teacher posted that he routinely had to have “the talk” with his boys. I knew he was not talking about the birds and the bees.

You see, I don’t have to have that talk with my son. I don’t have to prepare him for what it means to be Black in America, or how to overcome obstacles that others don’t have. I don’t have to prepare them for how to respond when being stopped by the police so that a situation doesn’t escalate. And as I continued to ask myself about how my African-American friends were responding to this situation, and how it differed from my initial reaction, I began to understand.

See, I don’t have to wait to understand that, innocent or guilty, Michael Brown is a man of inherent worth and dignity as one created in the image of God – that his life, his African-American life, has value. I don’t have to wait to see that officials seem more interested in spin-control than they do about letting the facts be known. I don’t have to wait to see that a military response to peaceful protesters is obscene. I don’t have to wait to know that many of my African-American bothers have been harassed by racial profiling practices that humiliate and degrade. I don’t have to wait to know that our criminal justice system unfairly targets African-Americans, treats them with suspicion, and imprisons them disproportionally. I don’t have to wait to see that laws like stop and frisk and stand your ground are unequally applied. I don’t have to wait to see that there remains racial injustice, prejudice, and inequality in our society systems of government. I don’t have to wait to know that my minority-majority four-star High School is described by whites in my area as a bad school just because of the race of its students. I don’t have to wait to see that this shooting in Ferguson – whatever the facts – raises profound issues about race and justice in our society. I don’t have to wait to see that the heart of man is desperately wicked and that racism and prejudice is evidence of our sinful condition.

Let me now speak as a pastor for just a moment. See, the Bible is deeply concerned about justice. And we as Christians ought to be concerned when a society treats people unequally and unjustly. Even more than that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the message that Jesus Christ died for sinners and saves all who turns to him in faith – also has profound implications for the issue of race. We must repent of our racism and prejudice. We must understand that racial injustice is an affront the gospel! To tolerate such injustice in our society is anathema. We must call and work for a racial justice in our society. And we must strive for racial unity in the body of Christ.

I do believe that white evangelicals truly desire racial unity and we are making real progress in that regard, but we have a long way to go. And one important step is to hear our African American brothers and acknowledge their experience. I have been encouraged since I first wrote about Ferguson, about how many white evangelicals have taken up this issue in articles and blogs. I have been encouraged the current series at Christianity Today encouraging white readers to listen to Black voices on racial justice issues. But we have a long way to go when only 1 in 5 conservatives think that Ferguson raises profound issues about race.

Paul spoke of the “mystery of the gospel”. The mystery is that in Christ – we are a new humanity –  we are the people of God in which all racial/ethnic and other barriers are broken down – Christ conquered the sin that separates us from God – and the effects of sin that create barriers among peoples of different races and ethnicities. We are to pursue and to live out what God has already declared us to be. And we long for that day when people of every tribe, people, tongue and nation will stand as brothers and sisters worshipping before the throne of God. Jesus taught us to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. The New Testament calls us to pursue that heavenly vision.

I am challenging my fellow white evangelicals not only to rid ourselves of personal prejudice, but also to shed our partisanship, our defensiveness, our fear, our naivety, and our myopic worldview and open our eyes to the real issues, concerns and experiences of African-Americans. It’s time to stop seeing justice issues as “their” issues (your issues) and embrace them as ours as well. It’s time for us as white believers to begin to understand the real life experiences and pain of the African-American community. If we truly desire racial unity in the body of Christ, it’s time for white Christians to listen, understand, dialogue with, pray for, and stand with our African-American brothers and sisters as we live together as one people of God.

That’s why I am here standing with you tonight.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Tarheel says

    “I don’t have to prepare them for how to respond when being stopped by the police so that a situation doesn’t escalate.”

    Yes we do. We all should teach our children to respect police officers, should we not? There are many a white person who does not know how to respectfully react with any authority figure. Just sayin’

    “I am challenging my fellow white evangelicals not only to rid ourselves of personal prejudice, but also to shed our partisanship, our defensiveness, our fear, our naivety, and our myopic worldview and open our eyes…”

    Really? So all those adjectives define those who do not see this issue exactly as you do? I hope I am misreading you.

    “If we truly desire racial unity in the body of Christ, it’s time for white Christians to listen, understand, dialogue with, pray for, and stand with our African-American brothers and sisters as we live together as one people of God.”

    I would say that if we desire unity in Christ, we must seek to unify in ways that the gospel provides….unity and identity in Christ – not in skin color or experiences.

    For in the gospel;

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

    and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
    Colossians 3:10-11

    I too desire that we “live together as one people of God”…but as long we continue to divide ourselves on the basis of skin color and experiences in ways that the scripture and the gospel dispel then we are fighting a losing battle.

    • Todd Benkert says

      It’s society that erects barriers that divide people by race. The gospel removes those barriers. We as gospel people should strive to live accordingly.

      • Tarheel says

        Yes, we as gospel people should live according to the gospel. Gospel people should not embrace and foster those divides.

    • Todd Benkert says

      As for the adjectives , you don’t have to see everything from my point if view, but we generally need to open our eyes to the racialism and inequality that still exists. There are many ways in which those adjectives do apply to us as a whole even if not you personally.

  2. says

    The race problem in America isn’t just a problem for white people. When one group, by its actions and words, sets itself apart from the other, it is a natural reaction for members of the other group to react negatively toward that group.
    As blacks set themselves apart they invoke negative reactions.
    The only way forward now is not a frontal assault on racist whites, even though there are still many, but de-emphasis on color all together.
    White people, as the whole, will never be rid of racists and bigots, even as they exist is every segment of society, which includes in every skin tone.
    But as skin tone is de-emphasised, racists and bigots will continue to be marginalized.
    That is because Americans, as a whole, are not racist of bigoted.
    No one at my almost all white church speaks in a racist manner. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t in the closet, but that they have been marginalized. No one at my very mixed skin toned job speaks that way around me, but I imagine that among themselves, some whites might or some blacks might. But they do not speak that way unguardedly for they have been marginalized. Most folks are not racist and condemn racists.

    • Todd Benkert says

      A colorblind approach will not work as long as our society treats one race more favorably than others or one more harshly than others. You may be colorblind, but our systems and structures are not — thus by refusing to acknowledge race as a factor, we perpetuate the status quo.

      • says

        How does our system treat one color better than another? I just don’t see that. Tell me the inherit flaw in the laws or system that actually leads to systematic mistreatment of people. You might be able to point to cases where the laws or system are not followed properly because of a racist person but that is not a flaw with the system. So what are the flaws in the legal code that contribute to this problem? And how do we solve it without instilling into the legal code racist laws themselves?

      • Tarheel says

        …and by invoking skin color constantly and the granting passes, to gospel people, who self identify under the banner of skin color and experiences rather than in the gospel we perpetuate the status quo.

      • says

        Todd,
        The problem i see with what you are saying is that it is not Christian. It may be a ‘good’ social agenda bvut it has nothing to do with the Gospel. Our goal as Christians is not to correct the systems and structures of the country, which are only “ours” because we reside here as citizens.
        So as Americans we might seek to corrects these things, but as Christians, our first and primary goal is the proclamation that this world, its nations [including ‘ours’], and its people are living in rebellion to the Lord, and that the only true, lasting and correct FIX is complete surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.
        So rather, it is you by refusing to acknowledge that it is FIRST and FOREMOST a sin and anti-Jesus problem fail to understand the ONLY solution to the problem.
        Changing the status quo isn’t done by focusing on the differences. As America continues to grow less race conscious, the status quo will also change. But what bolsters racists but evidence or what is perceived as evidence that blacks just dont want to get along and take every incident as a reason to act savagely and loot and riot.
        And the media just eats it up and promotes it for ratings.

        The racial problem is going away and some people [on both sides] dont like that and seek to stir up problems.

      • says

        Todd, I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere with this “anti color blindness” approach. No matter how you attempt to word it, you are asking a specific group of people to begin to think racially and in terms that they know goes against scripture…seeking (or affirming) identity in anything other than Christ.

        If I was to act in any way other than “color-blind” around both my white and black friends, you can bet I’d be told to settle down real quick. It makes for great articles and pontifications, but in the real world, folks see it for what it realy is…racialism

        I know you are not the only one on SBC Voices who promotes this view, but thankfully there are only a few. You can expect push back just as much as we can expect the same folks on here to always bring up race no matter the subject. It can almost be predicted.

        • Todd Benkert says

          Adam, the Bible is not color-blind. It is God, not man, who separated people into different peoples, tribes, tongues and nations. The gospel does indeed create one new humanity, it does treat all people equally, but it does not erase cultural identity.

          Further, my stance is not against being color-blind in the way we treat one another, but against being color-blind when looking at the social issues and injustices of our day. To be color-blind in the latter sense is a luxury of the majority class (in our case, Whites) and thus turns a blind eye to the injustices in our society at large and in our own denominational structures. There will never be equality and justice for non-whites in our society if we deny that such injustices exist and deny that our society treats people differently based on the color of their skin.

          I argued in a previous post that “the sentiment behind a color-blind approach is a positive one. It stems from a desire to act in a way that is free from racism and achieves the dream set forth by Dr. King that we judge others not ‘by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ A worthy dream indeed! We desire to be color-blind because we want to put racism to rest – relegate it to the past. The only problem is that racism is not yet past. We have not yet achieved racial reconciliation. Race still matters, especially to people of color who remain on the receiving end of institutional racism. As much as we want to move past racism, we dare not act as though the problem is already behind us.”

          I went on to say that “Color-blindness a worthy pursuit, but it is a pursuit that is premature. We must first pursue a culture in which all races are valued and represented as equal partners. Only then will we have the basis on which to truly move beyond the issue of race. We cannot shortchange that process. We cannot act as though race is no longer an issue. Our intentions may be honorable, but mere intentions are not good enough. We cannot afford to be color-blind if the end result is the perpetuation of a whites-only reality.”

          Hope that clarifies things. You can read that full post here: http://sbcvoices.com/a-color-blind-denomination/

  3. says

    If we’re going to have this conversation then we “the facts” point of veiw separate from “the experience” viewpoint. I think a lot of our conflict is coming from the blending of the two.

    “The facts” are just that…facts. They should be analyzed and judged accordingly. This is an individual situation and justice shoud be rendered on the grounds of what really happened that day and not by what the media or mob mentality demand. I do think that this at least is part of what is meant when we should “love justice”.

    “The experience” is another issue, while possibly related and undoubtedly highlighted by the recent events, it IS separate and should be viewed that way. The story of injustice that blacks in the US share a part of is definitely one that should be told and addressed, but changing that group experience into a individual instance puts a great strain on the limits of truth. We really are speaking about two different things here.

    this is the problem I have with not talking about these issues together until something like this happens. We tend to boil the over-arching problem down and make it fit into this one representative instance…and it doesnt satisfy. The people who want “justice” and are concerned with the facts are left feeling duped and so are those who are concerned about the societal problem that may have produced it.

  4. says

    We all need to have a conversation with our children. Not just one conversation but many. The conversation needs to be that we respect authority and we act with politeness and manners towards the police. I am afraid however the conversation that you are talking about that black fathers have with their sons is actually increasing the problem. When we tell our children that a certain race or group is liable to treat them with inequality then we are setting up our children to view that race with suspicion. Then when any thing that happens that in any way can be constructed as that problem happens (whether it really is racism or not) our children will latch onto that as confirmation of the narrative they have been taught.
    For example (this is a made up and silly example), if I teach my child that they got to be careful around a blond hair person because they might try to steal their candy, then every time a blond hair person is near, my child will be suspicious. When a blond hair person smiles at them, they will think they are trying to trick them so as to take their candy. Heaven forbid if one blond person did happen to steal candy, my child again would have all his fears and suspicions validated and thus would be even more suspicious. He may began to fear the blond haired people and then to hate them.

    That story was silly but the point remains the same. If black people are constantly telling themselves that white people are all closeted racists and that the police will always try to harm them, they will begin to see all white people as suspicious. Any time a story happens involving a white person and a black person, this will only serve to reinforce the narrative whether it was racism or not. We have go to stop teaching our children this narrative. We can’t keep telling this narrative that creates hate. We have got to quit telling our communities that the other races are our enemies.

    Articles like this one do more damage to racial relations than they do to help it. For my entire life, I grew up not even thinking of people in racial terms. But I have to be honest, since about the time Obama came into office, the trayvon martin case and now this, I’ve found myself struggling. I am not struggling with whether I don’t think people are created equally. I am not struggling with wanting to be biased toward a group of people. I am struggling with suspicion. I have begun to wonder when I am around black people if they are going to think I am racist. Do they hate me because I am white? Now I am not looking for any sympathy on this but what I am saying is that this narrative that keeps getting played out over and over again in the media and now on an SBC blog is doing nothing but to put suspicion in our hearts toward each other. That can’t be a good thing.

    • says

      Joseph,
      Exactly.
      The focus should not be on a white cop shooting a black man, but on whether or not it was a justified shooting or was it murder. Now if in the scope if the investigation it is found that the white cop is racist by his words and/or deeds, and the shooting is unjustified, then charge him with a hate crime, and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

      But to start with racism is to focus on hate and bigotry and division.
      And to start there means you can never leave in peace and unity. Which means there can’t be healing, not just for the families, but for the community, and others, like yourself that are affected by the hate and division of others.

    • Boo says

      So if black people just stopped thinking about race, unarmed black men would be less likely to be pumped full of bullets by police officers? Thank you for perfectly encapsulating why racial issues are so difficult to address in this country.

      • says

        First of all I am not saying that racism does not exist altogether. I am saying for most white people my generation and younger, we have been taught to think of people not in terms of race. Secondly, all I am seeing from certain black politicians, “civil rights” leaders(sharpton), and now SBC bloggers is a story that is constantly being brought up and engrained is that race is all that matters and white people are all guilty of racism whether they know it or not. It does not to do reconciliation but only carry forth racism. It is not gospel but it a continued focus on a narrative that leads to hate. Is there really an epidemic of racist cops going around murdering black people? Or is every time a criminal who happens to be black gets shot by a police officer it gets put through the narrative of racism whether it is or not? When you say that our system is racist? It seems to me that you are saying that black people are unable to be responsible and not commit crime? It seems to me that you are belittling poor people and saying that they are unable to be educated or make a better life for themselves and their families.

      • says

        Boo, the more important question is why “should” we have to think about race. “Race” is an invented term used by the census to qualify and quantify humans in America. That invention makes us think in race terms (which has been a horrible invention and more dynamic since 1890).

        One of the core principles in the American justice system for all Americans is that “justice is blind”. When my unarmed cousin was pumped full of bullets in Corpus Christi Texas by a law enforcement officer, the question was not about some invented quantifying of skin color. The question was about justice.

        In other words, was I more interested that a white female police officer was the one that ended his life, or was I more interested in justice. Was he (my cousin) following the law. He was not, and he suffered the consequences of bad decisions. I don’t blame his actions on the white female police officer.

    • Todd Benkert says

      “Articles like this one do more damage to racial relations than they do to help it. ”

      What does damage to race relations is white people wanting to ignore the issue of race, and pretending that racism and racial inequality is a thing of the past while allowing injustice to continue. Instead of standing beside our African American brothers, we tell them “Go in peace, be warmed and filled” (James 2:16)

      • Tarheel says

        Thabiti’s sermon here called “Bearing The Image Identity; The work of Christ and the Church”.

        Has greatly informed by views on this subject.

        Maybe those who have not heard it might gain some perspective as to why I think the way I do on this issue by listening to it.

        One of my favorite quotes; and this is a paraphrase from my notes;

        “It is not that we cannot see the solution to race issues, it is that we refuse to see the problem. The problem is that we accept the lie of race as a category of identity, otherness and biology while ignoring that scripture and the gospel does not teach that in fact they teach against it.”

  5. says

    Todd, I applaud your efforts and agree. Our inability to see things through another’s eyes is a stumblingblock to the racial healing that needs to occur. If we are to ever be all things to all people, then we must be able to seek understanding on things we may not know through our own experience. This is not compromising the gospel or the message, simply acknowedging the differences that are the fact of differing cultures and personal experiences. We have a long way to go

  6. D.L. Payton says

    Todd
    Regarding instructing our children how to respond when being confronted with the police, I would offer a little disagreement. I was raised in the inner city of St. Louis, the near North Side to be exact. As a teenager in the early 60’s it was important to know how to respond to police. I raised my children in West County St. Louis (Baldwin/Ellisville area) and taught them how to respond to police. There is a simple fact. When a police officer stops or confronts a person for any reason he has no idea how that person is going to respond. Hence he is on guard. I was told and told my kids do nothing that could be perceived as provoking. In addition let him see your hands at all times. I still practice this today. Also show proper respect.

    Note I said a “little” disagreement. I recognize that there is a difference in various neighborhoods if one is black or hispanic, and therein is the tragedy.

  7. Moz says

    “Whites” . . . “African American” . . .

    These categories are helplessly vague, anachronistic, and unhelpful.

    “From now on I regard no one from a worldly point of view…”

    Moz

  8. says

    Todd,

    In 1890 the US Census started using the term “race” as a designator of the color of people throughout the United States. This was a poor and extreme law that has created a false dichotomy of humanity in the United States. Of course the law was created to control money, power, and political careers; yet the law, instituted by the government, is a great evil that works against black skin, white skin, red skin, brown skin, etc.

    One action that would begin the process of honoring humanity in America would be to rewrite the US Census laws to reflect humanity, and begin the long process of living up to the principle that…. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    The term of “race” in the US Census creates a false and destructive foundation for hate, lawlessness, and uncreated inequality….a highly destructive term that was instituted for political gain and control, and is used with much more velocity in our current culture. It is a needless distraction to the pursuit of Happiness.

    • Adam G. in NC says

      Honestly, I think this is a little extreme. It’s not the statistics or labels that are the problem. The problem lies with the racialists use it to further their own causes. Instead of ending the race category in the census that can be used for real good in a lot of cases, lets marginalize those who would use this information to maintain the real status quo…racial/cultural polarization.

      • says

        Where do statistics come from? What are percentages and numbers used “for” in the United States? It is a bit naive to imagine that the “race” label is just there to be a good benign marker for the good of society.

        Read the economic history of America from 1835 to 1890 and see if labels are only invented to drive statistics. The term “race”, and its ideological objectives are well documented during the 19th century. “Race” was an invented term that only bolsters prejudice. And prejudice exists in any community in many different forms.

        Adam, your statement “Instead of ending the race category in the census that can be used for real good in a lot of cases” is really indicative of the problem of starting with a foundation that is based on evil, or at a minimum, is counter productive to the foundation of freedom. To drive justification based upon pre-determined lanes (race categories) simply illuminates the problem and ultimately causes more prejudice. There is great fallacy in that type of planning and execution, and the United States continues to try and answer simply questions by driving self (government) perpetuating tools to right the wrongs of prejudice. It simply can’t work, but there is a great deal of government workers whose entire treasure is constructed around maintaining those lanes.

        If creating and maintaining lanes (race gardening) is the best way to maintain a census, then it is incumbent upon all of us to raise up new leaders that understand the intent of the US Constitution. The policy to maintain false “race” dichotomies hurts the US Citizen at large, and as it is lived out in towns like Ferguson; it has failed them miserably. The unfortunate tragedy of Michael Brown has its volume from the “race” initiative, where many of the activities outside of the shooting are opportunities to maintain the lanes of “racist” (census denoted) endeavors.

        If trying to stamp out lanes of “race” is extreme….I’ll sign up for that extreme task every day.

      • says

        Adam, here is how we deal and minister to at risk communities at two locations in Nashville

        http://www.cottagecovekids.com/dailyprogram.htm

        Our mission is as follows and has been for 20 years…. We are not “color-blind”, nor are we “race” motivated.

        “We believe that too many of the children in our urban neighborhoods are locked out of some basic opportunities which are made available to others in our society. We further believe that it is our collective responsibility to come to the assistance of these valuable “little ones” by offering them the keys to unlock their potential. To that end, at Cottage Cove we teach children how to break free of their circumstances and encourage them in their pursuit of excellence.

        Many children learn how to “survive.” If our life goal is survival, we become “takers.” Our aim is to teach children how to succeed. Success transfers focus from immediate needs to planning the future, so that life needs are not life threatening. In pursuit of this, Cottage Cove’s primary activity is an after-school program with an expanded program during the summer and many school breaks. This program is offered free of charge, by full scholarship, to children living in our “at-risk” neighborhoods of Nashville.

        All children receive help with their homework and general educational instruction, as well as opportunities to develop life skills and acquire a passion for music and the arts. Bible lessons are provided, in which children are taught good character traits and valuable life lessons so they may develop a life of integrity and honor. Most importantly, the children are taught that love is not based upon performance but rather as a result of who they are —

    • Todd Benkert says

      Thank you, DeLeith. This is an excellent, meaty article and presents a convincing case for the deficiency of the color-blind approach. Pertaining to our discussion here, SBCVoices readers will want to closely examine Section III, “Race and Color-Blindness in America.”

      On a personal note, this was a very helpful article to me bringing together two issues about which I am passionate. As a part of the evangelical adoption movement, I am an ardent advocate of Foster Care Adoption and Adult Adoption of children who have aged out of the system.

  9. K gray says

    For better or worse, the racial lens of African-American(AA)-or-white is going away. Walk into WalMart in the nearest small town. When I go, I see more and more families of mixed heritage, with combinations of skin color, facial features and hair color that defy racial categories. My son had a study group at our house. Two of the kids were white. Of the others, one is a gorgeous girl with a white mother and AA father, one is Hispanic, one has a Muslim mother and Hispanic father, and one is of Indian heritage. So the old racial dichotomy is becoming somewhat of a “myopic worldview” IMO.

    Also, I am going to wait for the facts. As an attorney, this is how I was trained in justice.

  10. Bill Mac says

    Good grief: Not being “colorblind” doesn’t mean Todd and Dave and others are advocating racial preference. They are advocating racial acknowledgement, which includes acknowledgement that despite being “legally” equal in this country, blacks are not practically equal. Did anyone read the piece by Leonce Crump? DWB? The effects of slavery and discrimination have not been eradicated. The black community lives with these effects every day. That’s what we are being asked to acknowledge and understand. This has nothing at all to do with “God not being a respecter of persons”. These threads aren’t about affirmative action. I don’t know why people are so resistant to this, as if we are being accused of secretly being Klan members when all we’re being asked to do is reach out to the black community with understanding that they have a very different historical perspective on justice and opportunity in America. We aren’t being asked to give reparation money for slavery. We aren’t being asked to overlook looting and rioting. We aren’t being asked to give blacks job preference. We aren’t being asked to wear an “I’m a racist” placard. We’re just being asked to make a deliberate attempt to walk across the aisle and say “Let’s talk about why we see the Ferguson situation differently. I want to understand.”

      • says

        Except we ARE being asked to show racial preference.

        Among other things … We’re being asked to nominate and vote for persons on the basis of race.

        That’s no different racial preference than voting against someone on the basis if race.

        • Bill Mac says

          Tarheel,
          I asked you this in another thread, but I don’t think you answered. Are there absolutely no circumstances where you would consider race as a factor in a hiring decision? I used an example of hiring a pastor in a black neighborhood, inner city church plant.

          As I said in that thread: skin color is not the point, but a particular cultural perspective (whether as an immigrant, or a historic minority, or whatever) ought to have some weight in some circumstances.

          • says

            In an effort to not sound trite or whatever….

            I would seek God’s man for that position. I would look for a man who is biblically qualified to be a pastor. I would look for a man who loves the people of the community and desires to lead in reaching that community. I would look for a man who is from the community ideally or at least willing to move there because of his heart for the people of the area. The color of the man’s skin should not be a factor.

            In my view, and I realize that it’s not a completely politically correct one, decisions such as hiring and voting for a person for denominational position should have absolutely nothing to do with race otherwise it is racial preference.

            I’ve known people who’ve worked in management and HR in large companies and they’ve told of times when the higher ups dictate that certain positions were “minority” positions… Even when the HR person has gone back to his boss and said I have no qualified applicants that are minorities it was reiterated to them this is a minority position… So until a qualified monarchy came along the position stayed open and other people had to work harder because qualified nonminority people were overlooked. Sometimes standards were “accommodated” so as to be able to hire Minorities How can this in any way be helpful to racial reconciliation?

            Affirmative-action, positive discrimination, intentionally reaching out or whatever one wants call it….It is still discrimination. Like I said in another thread “one could call it allergy or call it an itch – but you scratch just the same.”

          • says

            Are you saying that if you are of a certain race you can only be reached by someone of that same race? Does this mean that i should only listen to white preachers, teachers, and ect? How about instead of hiring based upon race, we hire upon be candidate. For example inner city church plant’s best hire may be the asian man who grew up in the inner city. Or God may just use a country bumpkin to reach the inner city. When we only think in terms of worldy wisdom we end up continuing a long history of racism.

    • says

      Bill Mac, I thought what you said was a given. Standing up and wanting to understand is, I guess, at least leaning in the right direction. But, wow… if you are only beginning to lean, then …well, I guess some folks think that is a good gesture. Many others are already working hard, and making huge differences,… and have been for 30 years or so (of the ones I pay attention to in my city anyway), not just leaning because they see what is happening in Ferguson.

      I guess what I am saying,…. Don’t just try to understand and talk about it, get your hands in the action. There is definitely no reason to be shy at this point in history.

  11. Mark Mitchell says

    Morgan Freeman ( a black man) said in an interview that to get rid of all of this mess we need to stop differentiating between white and black. Get rid of black history month etc. Let’s just be Americans.

  12. Dee Stover says

    As a white female daughter of small town police officer I was instructed how to behave when stopped by an officer. Everyone needs the talk. Roll down window keep hands on wheel move slowly when told what to do.

  13. Dee Stover says

    I recall my officer father coming home with stitches in his head. It could have been worse. Any behavior other than I mentioned must be construed as a threat.

  14. cb scott says

    Today, I saw true racial harmony at the funeral of a young, eighteen year old man. On August 14 LaVon Xavier Woods drowned in the Oconee River. That was his first day as a freshman at Brewton-Parker College. He was a scholar-athlete, having been an outstanding high school wrestler and a member of the National Honor Society.

    His funeral was held at the Solid Rock Assembly of God in Midland, GA. The pastor is Tommy Bradford. Solid Rock is a racially mixed church. It would take a post to convey what I witnessed today and I would still not do the experience justice.

    I will just say that if Ferguson, MO could have been in Midland, GA today, it would have been a good thing. It was truly a “God thing.”

  15. Dwight McKissic says

    CB,

    What you saw and experienced in Midland, Ga., is a picture of what God wants every Sunday and every day of the week….His will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. May The Lord grant SBC churches the grace to experience similar racial harmony and inclusion at the local church level. Thanks for sharing this.

  16. James Ellis says

    Does anyone think the whole Ferguson situation and others like this could possibly be more a combustible collection of factors that includes not only race but, just as significantly, class?
    Where I am from there are poor white people, poor African American people, poor Hispanic folks.
    And who is in jail? Poor people. If you can afford a competent attorney you usually get acquitted. If you can’t, you do hard time. What’s going on in criminal justice in Kentucky has far more to do with who has money than whose skin is whatever color.
    That said, I cringed when I heard the immediate news of Michael Brown’s death because I knew what was coming. I knew it would all break loose, justified shooting or not.
    I feel for Brown’s family. I feel for Darren Wilson. I was involved in law enforcement for many years and witnessed many situations where armed force was necessary against empty-handed aggressors. No one can say what they would have done in Wilson’s position if they have not faced a hostile twice their size. You have seconds, if you’re blessed, to decide what to do and your training kicks in but so does your survival instinct. When you perceive “it is me or him” type of danger, you react. And in those moments it is not about race, national origin, or what might be written or said about you by the media. It is about coming out alive.
    I pray for all these people involved. I hurt for Brown’s family. I’ve seen African American families beaten down by circumstance and injustice. Hispanic families, too. But there’s a whole lot of poor white families whose loved ones are caught up in the grinder of the criminal justice system.
    But my heart goes out also to Darren Wilson because his life, at least as he knew it, has also ended.
    One thing I do know is this: no matter our ethnicity, no matter any other distinctive, we all need more of Jesus. All of us.