September 14, 2011
Tonight is the first night of a city-wide revival that has been planned for several months now. I have had the privilege of working with about 10 other pastors in trying to put this together. Our goal was to get black, white, and Latino pastors together with their churches to address racism and how the church can help overcome this stress on society. As it turned out there are 9 black pastors and me, who just happens to be white.
I can’t help being white, I was born that way. It runs in our family and many of us have had other white children. My wife’s mother came from a family that had 12 white kids and so far all of our children have been white and now our grandchildren are white too. So this seems to be something that we are stuck with.
I do not believe that I am racist. I grew up a Navy brat and was always around other races of people. I don’t remember my parents ever using derogatory words to describe folks of different color and it wasn’t until I was in the third grade that I remember hearing the word “nigger”. When I did hear it, I thought that the person was uneducated and could not speak proper English, or well, in this case Spanish, because I thought that they were trying to say negro, the Spanish word for black. Little did I know that it was such an offensive word to those who were black, or negro. It is funny how one man’s stupidity can be another man’s butt kickin’.
I am of the opinion that racism is a choice that we make. I believe that as long as we are willing to meet people for who they are instead of the color of their skin, that we can get along just fine. I also believe that the color does come with cultural differences and differences can cause misunderstanding and misunderstanding can cause division. But, where there is difference and misunderstanding there is a great opportunity for communication to bring forth understanding and unity. If I don’t like a person who happens to be black, I am not a racist. If I don’t like a person because they are black then, that, makes me a racist.
God says that He has given His church the ministry of reconciliation. It is our service to others to reconcile differences and spread the love of Jesus Christ. God is not a respecter of persons. He does not see color, He sees a helpless sinner in need of a Savior. When Christ died, He died for the human race not a specific race. That means that those of us who proclaim to be Christians should be willing to lay down our differences in order to reach anyone in need of Jesus.
I am perfectly fine with a church that has all black or all white people as their members as long as it is not a purposeful effort. We certainly have churches who are all from the country or the city and that is not a problem. But I want to know that if a white church has a need and a black church can help or the reverse, that no one sees the color before they see Jesus. We are one body, the Body of Christ.
I pray that we can make a stride over the next few days to help people see that racism is wrong. I believe that it is a sin against God who made one human and from that one human we all are related. But even greater than that blood line, we who are of the Body of Christ ,also have a common blood line; the blood of Jesus, and through that blood we are all reconciled to God
September 12, 2011
Sunday was a tough day for Americans. We had to remember one of the worst days in our history. I am not one that thinks we should never see those images again, instead, I think we should see them at least once a week, every week as a reminder. For the most part I thought that yesterday’s ceremonies were tasteful and honoring, and I don’t want to get into the politics of it all, so I won’t.
For every bad thing that happens to us in life there are good that can come out of it. Sure, we can linger in the sadness and dwell in the past sorrows, but that is not what God would have us do. He gives us these things to strengthen us and allows us to help others when they face a tragedy in their lives. 9/11 was no different.
I remember 9/12 as the beginning of that strengthening of our country. The news channels began sounding the rally cry and Americans from every walk of life were united in the call to seek justice and to rebuild. There were no politics, no left or right, it was straight down the middle resolve to make it through this thing together. There was no blame or cynicism or conspiracy theories, just good ole American resolve to make things right.
I don’t remember how long it took before people started coming up with political agendas for their responses to 9/11, but the first one got the ball rolling for all the rest and a united America began to do what the terrorists had hoped to do with the attack; we began to divide. What the terrorists could not do, political motivations did. I am not sure who disgusts me more, the ones who attacked our country that day or the ones who attack it over and over when they point the finger of blame at anyone other than the terrorists who did this. This is not healthy for America and it only aids those who want to hurt us.
I know and most of us understand that there are people in this world who have a different belief system than we do. There are those who have no regard for freedom and the free market society that we enjoy here. I know that we have a great privilege to speak freely and voice our opinions against those that we disagree with. But there is a difference between disagreeing with those who oppose your ideas and hating them. I have heard people who live in this country and are citizens of this country say that they hate this country. Many are rich enough to do the following but they don’t…JUST MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY! If what we have here is so bad, get out. Even poor Americans who hate the USA can afford to move to Mexico. If America is so bad, so evil, and so disgusting to you, leave. But they don’t. You know why? Because despite all of our flaws, and all of our differences, we area still the greatest nation this earth. And, if these same people were in another country trying to speak the hateful things that they say here, they would probably be put in jail or killed.
Thinking back on the events that happened ten years ago yesterday, I long for that unity in our country that was so evident in the weeks that followed. We are a great nation that when united can send a man to the moon and revolutionize the way the world acts and thinks. United we can overcome any obstacle thrown our way. But divided we will end up in a deep recession that causes people to be unemployed in numbers not seen since the great depression. It will cause morale to sink to all time lows and motivate nothing but hateful rhetoric. Yep, just like you see today.
I don’t think this is our country’s destiny and this is not where we will stay. We will overcome this just like we did on 9/11, ten years ago. On 9/12, ten years ago, we united as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I remember 9/12.