Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Question of Race

Note:  I am writing this in advance of next weekend, when I will allow myself to take the weekend off to celebrate our anniversary with my husband, as we were unable to earlier this year. I will still do 52 weeks of church, and will most likely do a Wednesday service to end up with two services in one week.

Perhaps it's just the neck of the woods where we live, but I have noticed something more and more lately.  Either everyone in the church seems to look like me, or I am one lonely polka dot.  (Many thanks to a teacher long ago who described that feeling to me.) One Sunday, I was one of three who looked like me, and the other two came together.  Now, I have been in cold, unfriendly churches where I looked like everyone else, and I've been in some of the warmest and most amazing congregations where I truly stood out.

My question is this:  Why, in this day and age, do we still segregate ourselves like this?  Our kids play together, our neighborhoods are usually a rainbow, we all go to the same libraries and restaurants and playgrounds.  But at church, this is not the case.  I've seen churches that are largely White, mostly Black, and we live in an area with many iglesias.  It is rare, at least here, to find churches where everyone gathers together in a blend of skin tones and backgrounds.

One friend commented that she'd seen this local monachronastic tendency too, and another said she thought this was something typical of the South. I'm not sure. I've been to churches that are truly a reflection of their community. In past cities and states, the blend of backgrounds and skin tones was a beautiful thing to see.

If you go to church, take a look around you. Who do you invite to go along with you? Do they all look like you? Do you think others would feel comfortable at your services?  Do your church members look askance when someone a little different comes through the door, or do they, as I had happen recently, throw their arms around you in welcome?

This is a terribly sensitive subject. I am well aware of that, and I am also aware that family trees sometimes hold secrets and darker feelings than the ones this current generation feels. I think, though, that this is an issue like any other difficult issue-- it is made easier through honest thought and discussion. I hope you'll join me.

Galations 3:28 -- There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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