Martin Luther King Day is on Monday, and conveniently, I've been pondering about Social Justice and what my role as a Believer in Jesus has to do with that.  I wanted to share some things God has revealed to me about this subject in the past four years (and earlier).

          A big thing that I see, the closer that I get to Jesus (and maybe just as I get older too), is that we live in an unjust world.  At first glance it looks like our society is growing towards Dr. Kings goal.  Schools are integrated, black people can sit anywhere they want on the bus, and just about every teenager enjoys watching reruns of "Fresh Prince of Bel Aire."  But if you think our country is in good condition, you may want to pray for clarification.  Growiing up in Detroit, I have seen so much racial tension pertaining to my surroundings that I have become ultra sensitive to the fact that the city line might as well be a segregation line for white and black people-- that the more affluent neighborhoods are predominantly white, while the poorer neighborhoods are black.  I was one of 6 or 7 white kids in my Detroit Public High School, where I had to knock down all kinds of stereotype-walls in order to have relationships with other students; a girl once told me i was the only white person she ever liked.  Since God has blessed me with friends from both sides of the city line, it didn't take long for me to see that many black people are afraid of white people and vice-versa.  Did you know that there are city-folk afraid to drive in the suburbs because they don't want to be pulled over by white policemen?  Did you know that many suburbanites are equally afraid of being and avoid driving in the city for fear of being hijacked?  An even sadder tale is the one about our judicial system--80% of the guys on death-row are black, yet 70% of the nation's population is white.  Often I hear people of all ethnicities subconciously (ignorantly) commenting on another group of people in a condescending way.  But mainly what I see is that, despite the fact that it is now the year 2003 instead of 1957, being black in America continues to be a severe disadvantage, as far as justice is concerned.
        But we're Christian, right?  So what if the world sucks, that's why we have Jesus?  True, we don't expect the world to be perfect and just, but we should have these expectations in the Church,  in the Kingdom of God.  MLK was famous for saying that the most segregated hour of the week was 11am on Sunday morning.  IE, most churches are completely segregated.  Ideally, churches should represent communities of believers. If your community of believers share the same skin color as you, (and I know mine does)  you might want to take a moment and think about that.

         Another thing to think about: There is no biological definition of Race.   Our ideas of race are completely cultural.    So if you think Asians are smarter, Black people are more fun, and White people have no rhythm, you are basing your thoughts on what your culture has taught you. Let me know if you want to argue with me about this. I'd love to.

         If you are an american, you probably have false ideas about race (and fear, definitely fear) deeply imbedded in your mind.  Blame it on history, blame it on your sinner's condition, blame it on Eve, it's probably true.  But it is extremely important to have these lies replaced with truth.  Why? Because if we walk around with false notions, we are endangering God's Kingdom by potential false representation. FOR INSTANCE: Last summer I was at a retreat of believers, and during dinner overheard a conversation about how "unfair it was that arabic people were so quickly let off the hook for the terrorist acts-- WE still are punished for having slaves, and that was hundreds of years ago.  and THEY ran planes into the World Trade Center". Good Grief people. These were Christians.  Do you think God looks at us like that? We and They.  What a severe waste of time, talking like that.  Almost as wasteful as thinking tolerance is the answer to our racial problems.  We don't tolerate people because they are different ("put up with them"), we LOVE THEM. Love is the only way to end racism.  You can tolerate a black person, sure, especially when the nearest one lives 20 miles away from you.  But loving someone means we have to connect to them, feed them words of life, and  offer them justice. 

         While in High School, my words of "white people aren't as bad as all that" didn't go half as far as the fact that I arried a Bible wherever I went.  I connected to so many of my brothers and sisters in Detroit because I knew Jesus.  By the time I graduated, there were so many people I could count on to pray with me whenever I wanted them too (prayer in schools is allowed if it's student led).  I learned from that experience how important it is to Jesus that we love beyond racial barriers. I urge you to pray that God would teach you a similar lesson.  After all, when we get to heaven we'll all be there--and i highly doubt we will be segregated. Pray that God would free your mind.

Happy MLK Day.
"I can't change your mind.
You can't change my color"
En Vogue, Free Your Mind
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1/16/03
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