I read a blog post a day or two ago, a very good post with several great points. The post was pointing out the racism that still exists in our country. I agree with much of what the writer stated. I agree that the issue of race is still a sad issue. I agree that we must continue to press forward in seeing racism eradicated. BUT I have spent a good day with one statement swirling around in my head, a statement that I cannot agree with - We are not far beyond where we were just a generation ago.
There are a couple of reasons that this has not sat well with me: 1) it is yet another negative perspective. I am weary of the negatives. Race usually comes to the front pages of the newspapers, is the lead story on the nightly news, the subject of blog posts, tweets, and Facebook status updates when something is negative - a fight, a robbery, a murder, a verdict, or a thousand other injustices. It is true that we need to continue to fight the injustice and fight the racism, but it is equally true that we need to celebrate the efforts and work that are taking place and the strides being made.
2) it is VERY shortsighted. The strides that have been taken toward true equality are enormous! To say that we are not far beyond where we were a generation ago doesn't account for all that HAS taken place - schools in my city of Macon, Ga were segregated until 1970 - in 44 years we have seen schools desegregated, the Board of Education integrated and its leadership shift from one race to the other without real issue. We have seen Private schools that started in order to remain segregated, offer tuition assistance and seek minority students and sometimes faculty. In the heart of the deep south, in my own church our leadership includes black and white at every level as over this past summer a black church merged with our predominantly white church changing our elder team, our worship teams, our music, our service teams, and I believe, our ability to reach our city. In our congregation and in others across this city there are mixed families - interracial couples, families adopting from other races, children with a black parent and a white parent... Yesterday I met with a group of pastors from Macon to talk about bringing unity to our city and seeing our city move forward - it was a beautiful picture of black and white and everything in between. In 44 years we have seen black men and women step into leadership roles in business, in education, in government, and everywhere else like never before. And while it is slow to change, we see more and more churches of mixed colors and cultures. We've come a long, long, long way!
Are we there yet - have we reached the place where race doesn't matter? Not in practice, no. So we keep pushing and striving and above all else proclaiming the good news - that Jesus has broken down this dividing wall in his life, death, and resurrection! We keep working to see His love expressed in and through the church. We keep helping the hurting and fighting the injustice... BUT hopefully along the way we pause to notice the hugs between the colors, the hand shakes, the conversations all around, the teams, the friends, the families... and celebrate a little more.