Friday, May 30, 2008

Preaching on Race


It in indeed turning out to be an interesting election season. Whatever you think of Barak Obama and his troubles with his pastor Jeremiah Wright, they have at least opened a dialogue that has needed to be opened. Today in USA Today Online there is an article entitled, Americans Using Religion to Navigate Racial Landscape. The article is about different churches and their struggles with race issues.

The issue of race drew sharp focus as Barack Obama's contentious split with his longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, played out in a national glare. In response, the United Church of Christ and National Council of Churches USA called on 10,000 ministers to initiate a 'sacred conversation on race....' The conversation, which grew loud and rancorous around the Wright episode, started long before and continues afterward, but in softer tones that show the faithful want to be constructive, want to make progress, want their voices heard.

The article goes on to speak fairly positively about the relationship of churches and race and their current state. It really is a good article.

It did get me thinking that I don't know that I have EVER preached a sermon on race. Perhaps I have, but I cannot recall one.

I know that as I was outlining possible sermons on Acts, I made some note about the effect of one black man from the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. I presume that he was a black man. But Philip went and preached to him and tradition states that he had a profound effect on founding and spreading the gospel in east Africa.

I find it interesting that it is easier to preach on the Bible and environmentalism than it is on race. I don't know that I will/should preach "a sacred conversation on race," during this election season, but it surely is something I need to give more attention to. If for no other reason than to get the church talking about race again, the candidacy of Obama and his fight with his preacher have been worth it.

1 comment:

bruce varney said...

A new conversation about race/ethnicity may be appropriate or not. I leave that for you to ponder.
Pam and I have had to wrestle with this issue considering our daughter's decision about the man she chose to marry and be the father of her children and my grand children. She has been unknowingly teaching us these lessons throughout her life, God bless her.
I find it curious that no matter how low a percentage of black genetics a person has, they are still black. I'm 25% American indian but no one considers me native American; including me! However, my grandson will be subject to the racial biases that seem to hang on in our society even though he "appears" to be a cute, curly-headed white boy. In other times, he wouldn't be able to go to certain schools, get a job, marry the girl of his dreams, could be placed in concentration camps, assigned to reservations, etc. Frankly, the idea of these things drives me to my knees every day. I don't believe the world or America is so "civilized" that any of these things are no longer possible. Frankly, the story about the Ethiopian eunuch provides me with a reminder that Christ, through his church, has truly reached out to all peoples of all nations, races and cultures. When I look around our church I see evidence of this, but, frankly, don't see enough of it.
Thanks for your blog. I thoroughly enjoy it.
You and Loretta are always in our prayers.
See you Sunday.

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