I’ve been following Darrell Harrison for a few months now, and I’ve really appreciated his cultural commentary. He loves Scripture, and it shows in his writing. This article does a good job of pointing out that horizontal reconciliation with man cannot be separated from vertical reconciliation with God. Otherwise, we’re just a band of thieves.
Sounds like Bonhoeffer in Life Together. Looking forward to reading it.
Thank you for sharing this excellent article, @ldweeks.
Reconciliation that results in fruit that is in keeping with a repentant heart does not happen in a vacuum (Matt. 3:8). It is only as you and I are brought into right relationship with God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ that we are reconciled to one another (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
This is the heart of the matter. I don’t think we can possibly say this enough because I sometimes wonder if we take for granted that hearts have truly been changed where forms of racism continue. But even where the heart has been changed (i.e. regenerated), the problems that continue horizontally are still the fruit first and foremost of ongoing vertical rebellion.
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! (Lamentations 5:21, ESV, emphasis added)
As a 1st generation Kenyan American (born to two Kenyan immigrants), my heart grieves over the history of racism in this country and its remaining residue. I don’t in any way want to downplay it. But I 100% agree with brother Harrison that there appears to be far too much anger that “black activism” springs from.
I think, with good intention, many white brothers and sisters who want to promote reconciliation give room for this in the name of (1) wanting blacks to know their voices matter and are heard when for too long they seemingly haven’t been and (2) making the point that anger is a rightful response to the sin of racism.
But (2) too often there appears to be too much of the corrupt anger of man (James 1:20) associated with this response (which reveals the rebellion against God mentioned above) and (1) we should never justify enabling this sinful anger because it will only make the problem worse.
Which is why–as a black man!–I could never get on board the “Black Lives Matter” train even though I do believe wholeheartedly that all lives created in the image of God matter. The problem I could never get over in my spirit is that the slogan and the spirit behind it feel like it only does more to divide than to actually unite. The only slogan that will truly unite in any lasting way for the glory of God is “Jesus Christ is Lord” which hangs not over any movement men are promoting but only over the church King Jesus is building (Matthew 16:18).
God grant us all discernment.
Absolutely. I remember in seminary, a brother telling me I had to “prove” myself to him before he’d trust me, and I responded i wouldn’t b/c brothers in Christ should start with trusting one another. Esp. when we are forty miles north of the city on a seminary campus resident in a bucolic setting next to the “Myopia Hunt Club;” talking in a cafeteria eating with one another and the most threatening thing around are knives and forks! There’s more to the story, but it ended with the bro looking at my name tag and asking “Are you any relation to Joe Bayly?” When I said he was “my daddy,” he shamefacedly said, “we-all loves your Daddy.”
Thanks for sharing that story, @tbbayly.
…everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1, ESV)
We’ve adopted twins from Kenya. Age 6 (two months from being 7) when we brought them home. Their now 22.
They lived much of their first four years in the States in NC (we move their from WI a year after adopting them so I could attend seminary). The racism in the churches near our home in NC was appalling. Gross. There were problems other than racism, but racism wasn’t covert. White churches wouldn’t accept us because we had black kids. Black churches wouldn’t accept us because we were white. We visited church after church after church after church. We actually heard teaching against intermarriage in the church while we sat in the pews.
Then, after two years of fruitless searching we finally humbled ourselves and visited the little storefront church across from Walmart. We had always avoided it. We attended and we were loved. A small church with a humble, God-fearing pastor who preached the truth, and a bunch of people who accepted us and loved us.
Racism was kept alive by the churches. But, neither of my sons are angry. We kept trying churches. We talked with them about what we were experiencing. We tried to confront the racism when it was obvious (like when we attended the pastor’s Sunday School class and no one would sit by us but instead left the room to find chairs to bring in to avoid sitting in the two seats next to my wife and me). From time to time my sons, one, in particular, did try to take on the attitude of a victim. Neither his mother nor I would let him. They’re now both parts of churches, involved as any regular member would be.
Thank you for sharing your experience, @jeremy.vandergalien. So sorry to hear about that functional denial of the gospel in those churches that sinned against you in those ways. God have mercy on them. So thankful that God brought you to a church that truly showed you the love of Christ. And grateful for how you shepherded your children to protect them from the poisonous, debilitating, enslaving victim mentality even as you fought to avoid embracing it yourself. May God continue to protect them from that and use them as agents of His redemption, even as He is working it in their own lives.