The Christian Race, Black/White, in America

Black/White America

I read an article in Relevant Magazine (God’s Not Looking for Heroes)┬áthat 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.

, , , , ,

  • NA

    …but doesn’t the Bible give a clear description of Christs’ skin color? The Bible, throughout, makes clear distinctions between the categories of gender, class. etc. Society does the same. True, Christianity is not the white man’s religion. But it has, without a doubt, been used as a tool to oppress people of African descent, just as it is used to oppress homosexuals, among others. That much is painfully clear. What is less clear is that Christianity as we know it today actually has it’s roots on African Tribal religions. Question: If we now know that civilization as we know it began on the African continent, why would we believe that religion as we know it began somewhere else? Christianity, in it’s most evolved form, would never ask you to deny your blackness or view it as “less than” for the sake of being called a follower of Christ. But Christianity, as a religion, has got o be willing to look itself in the mirror and do some soul searching and truth-telling about the ways it co-mingles with patriarchy, racism, sexism, and homophobia to create an oppressed state for many Americans, not just black men.

    • browneyedsoulman

      On Christ’s skin color, you are referring to Revelation 1: 13-15. In that instance, it describes what Christ will look like. But the paintings that have circulated of Christ being white are false. I would say distinctions are helpful. As we both know, the problem is when those distinctions are used as a negative by those who have power.

      To answer your immediate question,as best as I can, I believe that Adam, who was African, started the belief system by believing in God. From that context alone, if you believe the Bible, points to Africa as the start of monotheism. Here’s the thing about being a christian in America, the American way is to deny what you are once you join a cause. Christianity in America wants us to do the same thing. Notice, I said “in America.”

      If you notice in the New Testament letters, Paul will bring up that he is Jewish and a Roman citizen. Peter will bring up that he is Jewish. Some of the first “church services” have the distinction of being hosted by women at their home. I agree with you that Christians, Christianity, and the Church needs to look at ourselves. At the heart, the Christian faith should bring in those that are without, those that have been rejected, and share that God loves.