Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I DON'T WANT TO BE FLY FOR A WHITE GUY - ONE RACE, THE HUMAN RACE

       
One Race
 I Don't want to be fly for a white guy... I just want to be fly, or square, as the case may be, based on me, apart from my heritage.       
     We have entered a new decade and society is still trying to figure out, so called, race relations.  Is this not disturbing to anyone, besides me?  Have we not figured out, after 5000 years of recorded history, the human race is one, we are all genetically and intellectually equal?  

          In the late 70's, a PSA, I will never forget, ran on television.  A man and his grandson were fishing in a boat when the little boy asked his grandpa, "what's prejudice?"   The grandpa asked the little boy, "who is Jimmy?"  The little boy responded, "He's one of my Jewish friends."  The grandpa then informs the little boy, "you are prejudice because you think of Jimmy as your Jewish friend and not your friend."




              What  a lesson we need today, in our world of Social Justice Warriors making a point of labeling everyone and, consequently, demanding rights and privileges based on color, religious practice or gender orientation (real or manufactured).  

         Martin Luther King Jr understood, once we label someone, once we designate a person according to a color or creed, we open the door to dehumanization.  Dr. King's dream of equality, his dream of judgment based on character alone should be our only standard. This is not a conservative vs liberals problem, this is a humanity problem. 

         What happens when I refer to someone as a black guy or a white gal?  I have now designated. I have now made a distinction and, depending on my perspective, I may have, inadvertently, elevated or devalued someone based on skin pigmentation.  

             In probably the most cringe worthy moment of the political season, I listened as commentators addressed race in the December Democratic Debate.  The debate stage, it was noted in the press, was disproportionately white.  Talking heads and pundits scrambled to wrap their heads around how this could have happened within the Democratic Party, asking who was to blame and how the rules must have been, somehow, unfair.  

             Even more cringe worthy was President Donald Trump's statement, "You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides." in response to an attack by white supremacist protesters against counter protesters in Charlottesvillle, a couple of years ago.

When can we just see people as people and not a color?

           What does God say about all this? The obvious place to start is Galatians 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. 

             Actions, however, speak much louder than words.  A poignant, yet oft overlooked, account from the life of Moses demonstrates God's view in a most interesting way.

        In Numbers 19, we see Moses has married a Cushite woman.  
 Today, Cush would be considered the land of Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia are unmistakably dark skinned.  Moses, hailing from a Semitic family would have been considerably lighter skinned, though not white, as he is often depicted in modern art.

Moses' sister, Miriam, was not pleased with Moses' choice for a wife and made trouble for Moses because of his darker skinned spouse.  God intervened and turned Miriam, scripture says, leprous like snow.  I cannot help but ascertain God demonstrated His disdain for Miriam's prejudice by making her even whiter.  

God seems to be telling Miriam, "you like white better?  Here is some white for you, let's see how you like white now" 

Of course, Miriam repented and God healed her, but the point is, God did not abide by Miriam's prejudice based on skin color and neither should we.

        Sadly, there are still some in the Christian community who believe we are to remain separated by race, based solely on physical attributes.  This is a foolish and dangerous lie buying into a false evolutionary construct. 
I addressed Racism in the Pews a while back, and I believe the key to healing America of racism must start in the church.

 Certainly, within America, there are cultural divides, to ignore this is folly.  People, naturally tend to associate with those whom they readily identify. This is not the same as race. Culture, in and of itself, does not signify superiority of one group over another. 

The bigoted among us will say, "stick with your kind,"  "the Bible says we should not be unequally yoked,"  "God told the Jews not to mix with the other nations."  Much like all of Satan's ploys to create mischief among God's people, statements like these are twisted to mean something God never intended.  

Let's look at the passage about being unequally yoked, 
2 Corinthians 6:14  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 

Clearly, God's intent here is Christ followers are prohibited from entering into any kind of contract with an unbeliever as there will, undoubtedly, be conflict. Different values and worldviews will foment different agendas and different approaches to solving problems.  Many apply this passage exclusively to marriage contracts, yet God's intent was a much larger scope, encompassing business contracts as well.

What the passage does not say, nor does it even infer, is believers of different ethnic backgrounds should not marry.  

Yes, throughout the Old Testament, God commanded the Hebrews to only marry withing their heritage.  This was to preserve the spiritual integrity of the nation.  Two very notable exceptions to the command are Rahab the Prostitute and Ruth the Moabite, both of whom embraced the religious practices of Israel and both of whom are found in the lineage of Christ.

God's intent was never designed to preserve so called racial purity, or genetic integrity, God's intent was to preserve the spiritual purity of the nation.  The same intent is found in the above command, "do not be unequally yoked with a non believer."  

So, if someone tells me to "stick with my kind" my response is, "what exactly is my kind?"  If he means humans, then, yes, I wholeheartedly agree.  Even if he means other believers, I would concur.  If the inference was anything, even remotely close to suggesting ethnicity or national origin, I would have a real problem, especially if the person claimed to be a believer.  

     Scripture expressly dispels any idea of ethnic separation among believers: Galatians 3:28-29  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. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. 

            My lineage goes back to Noah.  So does yours. Guess what, if you are reading this, you are one of my kind. We are kin, we are genetically connected, the same race.  The only prohibition to our relationship is a matter of faith.  If we are both followers of Christ, we are free to worship together, enter into business together, our children are free to marry one another. Life should be good.  

The danger of stereotypes

          Sadly, there are believers in Christ who will disagree, based on tradition and rearing.  There will be those who just feel in their gut it is wrong to mingle ethnically,  yet have no scripture to defend their position. Gut feelings are not truth, contrary to conventional wisdom.  If you cannot back up your convictions with scripture, your convictions are wrong.  

     Throughout American history, cultures, based on ethnicity, have been elevated or debased, depending on the views of the majority.  This has been and continues to be a dangerous precedent.  Arguably, the three prominent cultures vying for prominence in America today are White, Black and Hispanic. Each is rife with stereotypes, some acceptable and celebrated, some erroneous and despicable and all divisive to one degree or another. 

        We cannot ignore culture, and we should not seek to eradicate cultural identity. What we must never do, however, is allow cultural identity to divide us and, even more tantamount, we must never allow cultural identity to hinder our spiritual growth or identity as children of God.  

           To elevate one culture over another is foolish and divisive yet to ignore culture is equally foolish.  Seeking unity necessitates focusing on what makes us similar, before looking at what makes us unique.  Harmonizing our goals and building a foundation of cooperation on common ground should be our beginning point, not a place we work towards.   

           Please don't tell me I'm pretty fly for a white guy.  Why can't I just be fly or square, for that matter, based on who I am without reference to my ethnicity.  Please never say "for a(insert ethnic designation here) guy, he's pretty cool."  Why can't someone be cool or even a loser, solely based on character, without reference to  national origin?  

      God does not prohibit us from mixing, mingling and living life together among different ethnicities so to do so from a human standpoint is, inevitably, working against God.  

       One race - the human race. Are you going to love as Jesus commands or continue to follow Satan's agenda, judging others based on the color of their skin rather the content of their character?

      "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight" and we all ought to be precious in one another's sight as well.

                   Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!