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Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Image of Racism

the image of racism


Racists, despite their false bravado, live a lie which grovels in fear. Note that I refer to racists as individuals or groups and not in the formless, disembodied barroom, coffeehouse, sports field or classroom topic label of racism. It is the image touted by some who themselves are not given to talk much less think about those things they boast arrogantly. I am compelled to speak, as much as I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit it, on racism because of the act of racism which resulted in the murder of the saints in Christ in Charleston South Carolina. I do not speak because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ who were murdered. Rather, this is what I, to say nothing about anyone else, ought to do anytime I am truly moved in my heart by such acts. Even more than waiting for the next and latest act of racial violence I ought to be able to respond in the affirmative to the question which comes up at times such as in Charleston: Do we Americans engage in talk about racism? Even more, I as a Christian, need to initiate and engage in the discussion in the times in between those abominable acts of racial violence. Do not think you have acted or spoken against racism simply by keeping quiet and thereby think that everyone can and should assume that you are not racist.


Still, more than a merely venting, re-hashing and wringing my hands dry of the crime or seizing the opportune moment to alleviate myself of anything suggestive of being more non racist than a racist; I am compelled to strip racism of its sham of a disguise. Contrary to the accepted delusion of racism’s perpetrators and victims racism is not about the color of a human being’s skin. There are other delusional responses and descriptive terms given to acts of racial violence purportedly as solutions to the problem of racism. These include gun control, hate crime, accident and these responses come from Christians, Democrats and Republicans all of whom claim to speak from the perspective of a faith professed in Jesus and the knowledge and practice of the teaching of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Mostly however, these covert responses are muffled, subdued and suppressed in deference to the overt response which carry the weight of legislative law. (I would venture to say that racists, even those who who would claim to be disciples of Jesus, but have become entangled in their own deception, have their own favorable spin on those terms to suit and justify their message of hate.)


a difficult statement


In so doing they have become as ignorant as the racist as to how far they have wandered from the message of Jesus which are their life.


Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?"
61 But Jesus,conscious  that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?
62"What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?
63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
64 "But there are some of you who do not believe."
(the gospel according to John 6)


Those who heard this message from Jesus turned around and walked away and ceased to follow Jesus. Anyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus yet embraces the hatred of racism deceives himself/herself. Granted these words of Jesus are not about racism among his disciples, but the point is how those who profess to follow Jesus have turned their hearts away from those things which they view as difficult to listen. The disciples' own racism against the Samaritans was admonished by Jesus.


a social definition


Racism, as it is defined by our society, is the breeding, harboring, fostering and acting out of disdain and contempt towards an individual or group who are ethnically different than another individual or group. Purportedly, this is the reason by which, however warped, the racist can justify his hatred and disdain. But this is a bigger lie than it is a farce; the farce being that racism towards others is love for one’s own family and country; the lie because racism is not about or primarily about the obvious, overt skin color of another person.


The truth is the racist would just as soon turn on one of his own with no less hatred and disdain and even murder; not because of the color of their skin, but because of difference of belief. This may resonate as familiar with some as this is the common belief and practice in ISIS, but also per the Quran instruction for Muslims who are not associated with ISIS necessarily.


Do not be ignorant because any notion of carrying out violence in the name of Jesus is that individual’s own lie and fear and it is not from Jesus and the apostles and the saints in Christ.


racism: a problem in America, in this world


America has a problem of racism. We hear in the media that no one is safe from those who, in different and varying degrees, think, speak and act or otherwise urge, encourage and cheer others to acts of racism. This hardly makes America unique among other countries. None of this should sound as new or alarming to the saints in Christ because unlike the fear-filled liar who killed those nine saints in Christ in Charleston the saints in Christ we do not have a country anymore than the kingdom of Jesus is of this world. Yes, I am mindful that there is no small number of Christians who are not racist and teach and speak against racism, but who share the belief with that racist in Charleston that America is their country to keep and to defend. However, this was the response of Jesus to the Governor Pontius Pilate who stood to judge to Jesus. Pilate, as a Roman government official would rightly be concerned about Jesus or anyone who talked about their own tract of land for their kingdom as a threat against Rome. This concern is the same as the Christian mistaken notion about a tract of land which they call their country and which is theirs to defend at all costs. (Pilate literally wash his hands as a public display to exempt himself from judging Jesus.)


Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
(the gospel according to John 18)


the image of fear


The reality is that the response to racism, for the most part, is a game; an exercise in deception. Among politicians the response to racism is gun control. Christians, mostly following the lead of politicians, respond to racism as a hate crime. Yes, the saints are to be commended for their prompt forgiveness of a murderer. It is this love and forgiveness by Christians which is what makes Charleston a display showcase for Muslims and others who know not love and forgiveness through Jesus as Lord and Savior.


The reason by which Christians are able to live and talk love and forgiveness through the good and evil in this world is precisely because we have no delusions about life or _ death. As I stated earlier, despite the false bravado of racism, racists live in the grip of the fear of death. This is true of all those who would sooner take a life than to do as Jesus did and lay down their own life. Yes. This is a difficult statement and there have always been and there will always be those who walk away from it. It is easy to shield one’s actions, racist and non-racist alike, of fear as being for one’s country and for others. The truth is that there is only one choice in the moment of truth which one makes and that is whether to take a life or give a life. It is no more a decision than a condemnation for me to make of a believer or nonbeliever, a racist or non-racist, it is the call of the saints in Christ to be a light in the world and reveal these things.


Cain: a murderer


The Bible account in the book of Genesis relates the first murder of Abel by his brother Cain. (Genesis 4) Ostensibly, Cain murdered his brother because God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice but He rejected the sacrifice of Cain. When God asked Cain Why are you angry? it was not because God didn’t know. Rather, it was to prompt Cain to examine the source of his anger. It is the same question for the racist, Why are you angry? God never played into Cain’s wallowing in anger anymore than He does with the racist. The admonishment for Cain is the same as for the racist:


If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.


Cain, like his racist brothers and sisters, succumbed to the desire of sin and thereby Cain and racists alike remain in the grip of the fear of death.


This is the lie which grovels in fear; the image of the sin whose desire is to act out its fear and anger through racism in the individual.


However, here this is the deliverance from the one who had (past tense) the power of death.


Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
(Hebrews 2:14; 15)


conclusion


Image in American society has become a cheap commodity. It is easily traded for what is superficial and temporal. Racism continues to be embraced as truth when in fact it is the false bravado of a lie. The lie is that there is no more love in the preservation of country than the preservation of one’s loved ones. It is all about one’s own skin. Racism has nothing to do with skin color. This is not to diminish or nullify the act of racism in Charleston. However, it is a call to examine closely our understanding of misinformed responses towards solving the problem of racism. Racists ally themselves with those who for the moment happen to think (a dubious use of the term) and act alike. The moment there is disagreement or a change in difference of thought in love of country becomes as easy to discard as a human life. This was the way of Cain. This is the way of the racist.


Here is the call of Jesus to racists and all sinners who do not believe:


"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot * be My disciple.
27 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot * be My disciple.
(Luke 14:26-27)

Yes. You are your brother’s keeper because the image of God in which He created male and female is no more physical than it is skin color. The image of God is love.

2 comments:

  1. This is a very thoughtful and constructive overview of racism. A stark contrast with the politically motivated propaganda we see on TV and the Internet every day. Thank you for your well-considered article.

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  2. Coach, I appreciate your comment. Have a blessed day. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete