RACE AND CULTURE, PART ONE

RACE AND CULTURE, PART ONE

By Rev. Tanya Edwards-Evans
Even as believers, we have not fully embraced or accepted the description of humankind as described in Genesis 1:27:

“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (NRSV) 

If we believe this verse, then the hue of a person’s skin will not matter as much as their integrity, their character, and their faith.

Last month I asked the question, “What is the reason for this fear of black or African-Americans in our society?” This is the 21st century. Why is there a fear of black people, and particularly black males, in a country where citizens believe this to be the land of opportunity, the land of liberty, and we claim “Trust in God” as our motto?

We, who are born in the country called the United States of America, are taught to believe in liberty and justice for all. Do we truly believe this? I have found that the written American history has often omitted contributions made by Native Americans, Black Americans, Asian-Americans, and those of Spanish heritage have been left out. Or, the history has been distorted, or limited, thereby portraying these persons as inferior to White Americans. Yet, our history also reveals that we once embraced the teachings of God that were taught by missionaries. Therefore, we forgave our taskmasters, our slave owners and our oppressors.

We believe that forgiveness is a requirement from God, and not a suggestion. Ephesians 4:32 says, “...And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (NRSV).

When will the people of different hues become human beings made in God’s image?

Racism will not end until all human beings see each other as equals, and not objects or threats. It will end when we recognize that all people are made in the likeness of God. It will not end until we become the catalyst for change, especially those who are Christians.

I leave you with a paraphrase from the book by bell hooks (sic) entitled, Black Looks: Race and Representation. She writes that the idea of racial reconciliation is revolutionary.  Hooks also says, “The lack of respect of the black people has been ingrained in our consciousness by dehumanizing, disempowering.”  

As the body of Christ, the Church, what will your response be to the racial unrest in our communities, cities, states, countries, and world? Will your response be, “That’s the problem of someone else,” or, “We don’t have that problem anymore; it ended in the 1970s?” Or, will we decide to come to the table and have an intelligent dialogue followed by a plan of action seasoned with love? Will this be said of you?

Now, please read John 13:35.

PASTOR TANYA EDWARDS-EVANS

is an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church - Peoria