well, it was a very interesting sunday. very exhausting. obviously, the content of the sermon (issues of faith and racism) contributed to the exhaustion. i also made the mistake of checking email on sunday between services (which i should not do); just the number of hits and comments on this blog in the past 24 hours, emails, and comments after the sermon is verification enough that the church (including quest) doesn’t speak enough about ‘faith and race.’ as i shared yesterday during the sermon yesterday, our faith cannot be contained for a sunday or a 90 minute service. if faith in jesus is real, it must engage every aspect of our lives. ultimately, it invades, affects, redeems, and transforms our worldview.
so, some of the interest comments from yesterday:
“are you saying that white folks are racist?” my short answer: of course not. i’m not saying that YOU are a racist, i’m merely speaking about ‘systemic’ or ‘institutional’ racism. and yes, i again want to affirm that the core of the issue is human sin and depravity.
“are you saying that all churches should be multicultural?” my short answer: they already are. are you asking should they be multiethnic? for the majority, yes. i’m a big supporter of the ethnic church but believe that predominantly anglo churches need to be stretched and english speaking ethnic churches need to be stretched. you can wrestle with the definition of ‘stretched.’
“will you talk about faith and gender inequality?” my short answer: yes. when? not sure yet.
“who made that video?” the video, entitled, ‘silent racism’ was done by five folks who attended the 2006 faith and race class this past summer as a homework assignment. if you missed it or want to see it again, you can see it on youtube here.
“you said you support affirmative action. why is that fair?” my short answer: yes, i support affirmative action. is it fair? you’re asking the wrong question.
“so, do you dislike white people?” my answer: (laughing) of course not; i pastor quest church and i’m called to love and serve all at quest and beyond.
my favorite question (i think asked jokingly): “are you racist?” my answer: no, i’m not racist. like many others, if not all, i struggle with the subtleties of my prejudice. although not a racist, i now understand the realities of what it means to be ‘racialized.’ perhaps cornel west (professor of religion at princeton) says it best: “It is impossible to be an American and not racialize how your feel.”
this past sunday was also more interesting with a) a professor from dallas theological seminary visiting. he teaches issues dealing with culturally diverse congregations (i think) and b) a nobel peace prize nominee and others visiting from burma who intimately know oppression, racism, suffering, and genocide because it is happening NOW. a question that emerged from the group, “what do you say to those who are oppressed?”
finally, a powerful image for me yesterday was looking across the beautiful congregation at quest where i feel so privileged to serve and lead. i appreciate so much the attentiveness of each person as we engaged a difficult conversation and even more humbled, that many different people (across different ethnicities, stories, and age) have chosen to disceringly sumbit themselves to my leadership and teaching. yesterday, i was taken back to see numerous asian and african-american questers in tears or near tears.
looking forward to this upcoming sunday. although several have expressed disappointment about quest in regards to our ‘superficial approach’ to multiculturalism, my goal has always been to gather people so that TOGETHER we can grow in Jesus, and through LIFE and COMMUNITY TOGETHER, we’ll have the opportunity to share our stories together – in hopes of learning, teaching, modeling, embodying, deepening, caring, loving, and ultimately, experiencing a new kind of worldview or life which i believe jesus referred to as ‘abundant life’ in the gospel of john.