interesting title for a post, huh? you’ll need to read on…
i’m prepping to teach the next two sundays at quest church on the issues of faith and race. each year, several quest members host a faith and race depth class. i was unable to attend this class over the past summer as my wife wanted to participate this year. we had an incredible turnout and response. so, over the next couple weeks, i’ll do my part to add to the conversation while teaching about stuff like race, racism, racialization, systemic evil, white privilege, prejudice, reconciliation, power and exploitation, intentionality, inclusion, and of course, the good news of Jesus.
i do have another agenda. i hope to clearly communicate that i don’t dislike white people. with quest becoming a little more prominent, i’ve gotten my share of interesting emails, blog posts, and mail. couple weeks ago (just in time for these sermons), i received an email from a local Seattlite (who i’ll obviously keep anonymous) who was investigating our church via the web. here’s an excerpt of his email (which i honestly appreciated receiving):
The point: while making great strides to reach out to the ethnic community, what about the white folks who make up the vast majority of this community (I won’t pretend to know actual %). Pastor Cho, your dislike for white people is really disturbing. You talk about “white privilege” and conferences being “so damn white”. DUH!!! You live in AMERICA! We are a predominately white country. If I were to go to Korea or China or Africa or anywhere else where the majority of the population isn’t white, would it make sense for me to complain about there being so many asians or africans everywhere? Anywhere else in the world I would EXPECT to be treated differently also (hopefully not poorly, but differently). I would’ve loved to come visit your church, but I’m a white male, who grew up in a white community, who has mostly white friends and co-workers. I just don’t feel like I’d be accepted at Quest, or at least not by you.
ouch. there’s tons of stuff to unpack in that email but first of all, i’m bummed that he would think he’d be unwelcomed at quest, particularly by the founding pastor of the church. but if he reads this before this upcoming sunday, the next two sundays will be very helpful for ‘you’ and others to understand some of the issues of racism, racilization, white privilege, and why these conversations must happen in the church. faith must engage the larger culture and the last time i checked, racism still provokes intense thoughts and conversation. i promise i won’t ever say ‘damn white’ again! although i’m pretty certain he and others may leave a little uncomfortable with the myth of ’America [being] predominantly a white country.’ i write this blog entry not to get folks to jump on the person that sent this email but rather to share the conviction that ‘we have much to talk about still…’ as we speak of the issues of racialization and prejudice, i speak as one who desperately needs to experience the redemptive and transformative love of jesus in my own heart, so that i may be a deeper voice of ‘reconciliation.’
but meanwhile, let me set the record straight. share it with your spouses, children, grandparents, dentists, baristas, churches, neighbors, the IRS, and bloggers: let it be known to the world once and for all, i don’t dislike white people.