I am sitting in the Ziguinchor airport in the Casamance, southern Senegal. When we finally got back out of the Essing villages after 8 days, I read an exchange by the “Voices for a New Baptist Future” group.
We’ve fallen into our old patterns, haven’t we? When we elected Fred Luter as our president we slapped ourselves on the back because we’d put those bad ol’ days of racism in the past. Some of us who have continued to raise the issue have been chastised – why keep hammering on the issue when we have clearly made so much progress? Those days have passed. Why keep hammering on that? We didn’t do it. It was people from 30, 50, 80, 100 years ago. But now we have all white nominees again.
Play that funky music, white SBC.
Here’s the thing, the vast majority of SBC pastors have no desire to exclude minorities or keep people down. Theoretically, 99.9% of us (I just created that statistic) are for racial reconciliation and greater inclusion, but unless we are INTENTIONAL about the process we will continue to do nothing more than play some funky music and little will change.
*intentionally include other races in our daily fellowship and our personal friendships.
*intentionally include other ethnic groups in our power structures.
*intentionally remove any cultural hindrances from fellowship. Ask some Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American brothers what southern cultural detritus hinders their fellowship in your church, association, or convention. It might be eye-opening.
*intentionally apologize for past hurts, even those that were unknown and unintentional. It still hurt.
*intentionally NEVER STOP.
The process isn’t over. Our forefathers oppressed, dehumanized, and brutalized other races for 400 years, then sat in church and sang the praises of God. For 20 years we’ve been reaching out, but a convention apology in 1995 and the election of Fred Luter in 2012 is not an ending but a beginning.
I’m a child of the 70s and I liked that song. But it’s not one our convention should sing. Time to take Wild Cherry’s hit and send it back to 1976.
Let’s sing a different tune.