Sadly, Still Around

In no other time in my life have I been curious to know how to deal with racism. It has not been as direct as it has been for the last few months, but even now it isn’t as openly blunt as it can be.

As a Christian, a child of God, and one redeemed by Jesus’ blood, love and sacrifice I sought information on the definition of racism and how it can be dealt with – God’s way.

This post is for those in the same boat. I realize that some may not even understand those things involving racial tension. Surprisingly, even to me, it is still around – even just a bit.

Before I go any further, below is an excerpt from the sermon Racial Harmony and Interracial Marriage in 2005 by John Piper.

Piper’s Personal Experience

To these opposing views I would add my own experience. I was a southern teenage racist (by almost any definition), and, since I am a sinner still, I do not doubt that elements of it remain in me, to my dismay. For these lingering attitudes and actions I repent. Racism is a very difficult reality to define. The Bethlehem staff have been working on it for months. We are presently most closely committed to the definition given last summer at the Presbyterian Church in America annual meeting: “Racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races.” That is what I mean when I say I was a racist growing up in Greenville, South Carolina. My attitudes and actions were demeaning and disrespectful toward non-whites. And right at the heart of those attitudes was opposition to interracial marriage.

My mother, who washed my mouth out with soap once for saying, “Shut up!” to my sister, would have washed my mouth out with gasoline if she knew how foul my mouth was racially. She was under God the seed of my salvation in more ways than one. When our church voted not to admit blacks in 1963, when I was 17, my mother ushered the black guests at my sister’s wedding right into the main sanctuary herself because the ushers wouldn’t do it. I was on my way to redemption.

In 1967 Noel and I attended the Urbana Missions Conference. I was a senior at Wheaton. There we heard Warren Webster, former missionary to Pakistan, answer a student’s question: What if your daughter falls in love with a Pakistani while you’re on the mission field and wants to marry him? With great forcefulness he said: “The Bible would say, Better a Christian Pakistani than a godless white American!” The impact on us was profound.

Four years later I wrote a paper for Lewis Smedes in an ethics class at seminary called “The Ethics of Interracial Marriage.” For me that was a biblical settling of the matter, and I have not gone back from what I saw there. The Bible does not oppose or forbid interracial marriages. And there are circumstances which together with biblical principles make interracial marriage in many cases a positive good.

Now I am a pastor at Bethlehem. One quick walk through the pictorial directory that came out last year gives me a rough count of 203 non-Anglos pictured in the book. I am sure I missed some. And I am sure the definition of Anglo is so vague someone will be bothered that I even tried to count. But the point is this: Dozens and dozens of them are children and teenagers and single young men and women. This means very simply that we as a church need a clear place to stand on interracial marriage. Church is the most natural and proper place to find a spouse. And they will find each other across racial lines.

That is what I would like to give. First, we will make four textual observations and then some concluding implications for our experience.</blockquote>

To read the full article go here: …http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/racial-harmony-and-interracial-marriage

it was amazing that as a teenager John Piper saw how his church responded to fellowshipping with those different from them, how his mother ushered when others refused to and then years later he became the pastor of that church. I haven’t done much research, but it looks like God used Piper to do something new with that congregation.

There are more articles I’d like to share and write about; this is only the beginning of what may be a new series of posts. Feel free to comment. If you know of any other articles or honestly written experiences please share.

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