I read an article in Relevant Magazine (God’s Not Looking for Heroes) that raised an eyebrow. The article mentioned that Christians should strive to be autonomous. Based off of Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Don’t get me wrong, I agree with it all. But as a black man that lives in America, I often have to be Christian and black.
Now it has been spoken on, written about, filmed over and over about the injustices that black people face in America. The names of individuals grow. The places of displacement or inequality grow as well and black people feel this. Partly because we may think that the injustices will come to our door at any time. The scariest part is, that if it does come, we have no power to stop it or at least soften the barrage.
With all that is going on, I have noticed a growing trend. I see on my social media feeds, the rise of a back to Africa sentiment. Not only that, I see a back to Hotep and Isis (Egyptian goddess, not the terrorist group) sentiment as well. People are inquiring about the deities black people worshiped before the trans-Atlantic slave trade and purporting that Christianity has been a tool by the white majority to oppress the black minority.
Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not a white man’s religion. Technically, at the root, it is not even a western religion. The Gospel of Christ Jesus is for all. Christ is for everyone. He came, died, and rose for everyone.
Which brings me back to the Relevant Magazine article: yes, there is no skin color in Christ. But from my perspective, local churches are separated by race. As a believer in Christ, who is also black, it is hard for me to separate which part of me responds to ongoing events in the black community. God requires justice and equity. These two things have not always come to the black community. So when there is a call to action, I feel twice the pull. And I know I am not alone in this thought process.
If you allow me to go to the bible for second, I will quote 1 Peter 2:10. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” If ever a verse applied to black Christians in America, it is this verse. We should strive, as all believers, to be only seen as Christ, not our individual selves. This is the content of character Martin Luther King Jr. referenced as he was in the fight to end the oppression of black people.
So, yes, we are now a people. In fact, Christ has brought all races together to make one kingdom. But in this day and age, in the United States of America, I am also black. I cannot and will not deny that, I must live with this reality and all that it means.