As an African-American pastor of a multi-cultural church, the topic of race and reconciliation is often brought up. I’ve found myself grappling with how to discuss this topic as I often minister to, befriend and work with people of all backgrounds. I’ve wondered how to approach the subjects brought up in the media and the outcry I’ve heard from both sides. I’ve constantly questioned how we can work to increase discussion and reconciliation with mercy and grace in our church and our city. I think I’ve finally decided where I stand.
I’m stepping off the plantation.
As usual, I have found myself in a curious predicament—I am a slave to not one, but two masters and I belong to both plantations. I’ve conveniently traveled back and forth between my plantations because they are situated opposite each other with a creek dividing them.
On one side, I work for my white slave master. This master falls under the “Evangelical—white—church” category; and to tell you the truth, his plantation kind of feels like home. My master likes me most when I shout across the water and remind black men that they need to be better fathers. He especially loves when I gaze across the divide and scream that they need to stop living off America’s welfare. He enjoys as I rattle off abortion rate statistics. I can spend hours talking about black-on-black violence; how maybe just pulling up “their” pants could solve so many problems. Sometimes, shouting across the divide makes me feel a little free. But like clockwork, the next day I find myself across the creek I formerly scrutinized, working just as hard.
My black slave master is a little different; he is more of the militant type. He has me put my toes at the edge of the creek so that the white plantation can hear every single word I say. I try to make him happy by wearing my Black Lives Matter t-shirt and shouting about how police brutality needs to be called out and pursued in court. I stand at attention and remind the white people of the unemployment rates the black community faces. My black slave master is never impressed; no matter how hard I try. He even calls me an Uncle Tom and demands that I blame it all on the other side. I like being here and I always feel wrong when I leave to go back across the creek the next day.
Why can’t I care about the condition of the black community and refrain from blaming it all on white people?
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SOURCE: Christianity Today