Tag Archives: Race

Race

Eastertide
June 2, 2017

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-13

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
–1 Corinthians 12:12-13

One body including all people was the world view followed by Paul. He picked it up from the teachings of Jesus. Paul’s list of groups differing included Jews/Greeks and slaves/free.The first two came from tribes. The latter two resulted from cultural distinctions sometimes resulting from tribal discord. One tribe would steal members of another tribe whom they enslaved. Slaves referred to as servants or bonded also were created within the Hebrew tribe often the result of impoverishment. Such practices are recorded early in the Hebrew Bible* and continued into at least the 18th century among Christians. My five generations back English grandfather at the age of 15 was indentured by his father in 1783 for seven years to learn how to operate a forge. Also during that period his master, also English, was to teach him how to read, write, and cipher. Apparently, it worked. My grandfather labored successfully at a forge for many years and signed his will so I know he could write his name. His younger brother signed his will with an X witnessed by others.

What is not present in that discussion is race. Race is a relatively new cultural classification appearing first in the same century my ancestor was indentured**. Was it created to support the economic need for relatively free labor? I find myself more and more identifying greed and lust for power as the primary sin-drivers in our world. We justify both by projecting them into other more exploitable issues like race. Race is one thing I do not think we can justify by Biblical quotes as it did not exist at the compiling of the Bible.

If we drink of the same Spirit of God, we cannot uphold such distinctions. After years of being carefully taught, it is hard to erase its stain from our beings. I doubt that we can without the power of that same Spirit to heal our souls. Let us drink deeply until we are cleansed.

Prayer: Lord, renew our hearts so that we can be one with all your children. Amen.

*Leviticus 25:39-40
**http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-09.htm
***Picture above is Greek painting of three Chaldeans with captive Hebrews see at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrews

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Higher Ground

Eastertide
May 12, 2017

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:2-10

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.Once you were not a people,
   but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
   but now you have received mercy. –1 Peter 2:9-10

The word translated here as race is from the Greek word, genos*, and, yes, it stems from the same Greek word ginomai as our English word gene. Do you think the ancients were saying that being made in the image of God is saying God is in our DNA? Probably not what we imagine when we read “a chosen race”.  The English word race does relate to heredity or tribe and that is most likely what our ancestors in faith were referencing. Other countries may do it too, but we in the USA have no trouble appropriating this language applying it to ourselves: a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people. I think 1 Peter is speaking to all of God’s people but it is not talking about being more worthy or better than others. Being chosen by God entails taking responsibility for doing the work of God. Now that we know God’s love, we are compelled to share it with all God’s other people.

Classifying and ranking people by race, income, ethnicity, etc. seems to be on the increase. Perhaps it just feels more comfortable in public now. My dad remembered the KKK marching in parades in the 1920’s when he was a child, just before the Great Depression following a period of Anything Goes**. Why do you suppose it is necessary for some to feel that they are better than other humans? Perhaps it was needed to justify greed that enslaved people. Much of the science of racial differences arose in the 18th and 19th centuries. Greed is rampant in our world today as a chasm grows between the haves and the have nots and the middle-class shrinks.

God’s love for all his offspring is unconditional. What more proof of anyone’s worth is needed?

Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
  Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.***

Prayer: Lord, heal my soul so that I understand your love is enough for my self esteem. Amen.

*http://biblehub.com/greek/1096.htm**Anything Goes is a musical about the 1920‘s. Learn more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anything_Goes***Chorus from hymn, Higher Ground see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/396

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

 

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Jesus loved the little childrenLiving in the Spirit
August 18, 2014
 

Scripture Reading: Exodus 1:8-2:10 

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’  —Exodus 1:8-10

The headline read: Census: White majority in U.S. gone by 2043* I would have thought it would be sooner than that, but I live in a city where right now the only white not Hispanic population is at 56.7%. The fastest growing groups here are Asian and Hispanic. Most of my immediate world is well integrated: my neighborhood, stores, schools, gym, and the child care at my church but not so much the membership of my local church. It is not unusual for advertisements and other signs to be in both English and Spanish. My denomination at the state and national level are very integrated. I grew up on a farm in a very white community with only a few American Indians and that is still true in much of rural American today, although there is more growth in the Hispanic population working in agriculture. Our country has controlled the number of people being admitted as legal immigrants by country of origin, which results to a great extent in controlling the number by race or ethnicity**.  Thus most of the growth in minority populations is through birth.

We in America could learn from the mistakes of the King of Egypt. His solution to the “problem” of the growth of the population of people he had enslaved probably caused the disaster that he foresaw.  His cruelty and mistreatment drove the Israelites out of Egypt. The fear of giving up the status of white superiority can only lead to further division in our own country.

We use to sing Jesus loves the little children all the children of the world red, and yellow, black and white.*** I wonder if we meant it and whether he expects the same of us?

Prayer: God, increase our understanding that your love is indivisible and there is more than enough for all your children. Create in us clean hearts and right spirits toward all of your children. Amen.

* http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/13/18934111-census-white-majority-in-us-gone-by-2043?lite
** The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act (Pub.L. 68–139, 43 Stat. 153, enacted May 26, 1924), limits the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890.
*** From Jesus Loves the Little Children. Words by C. Herbert Woolston, music by George F. Root
 All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.