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If you haven’t seen racism firsthand, haven’t studied its origins or don’t see its effects in your everyday life, it could be easy to dismiss its existence. It could also be easy to disengage when the sin of racism feels bigger than you and outside of your influence.
It is important for those who follow Jesus to understand that racism is a deeply rooted sin issue that has long affected the church’s witness. Racism is sin, which means it is a problem that the body of Christ must confront by going to God’s Word to understand what He says about it. God’s Word says this:
“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb, I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” — Psalm 139:13-14 (New International Version)
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, ... all things have been created through Him and for Him. — Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV)
God created ALL things, including our inward parts. God intentionally created each person with individual characteristics, visible and invisible (eyes, nose, skin color, culture, etc.), and He calls them wonderful. All these things He gave us, not to ignore them, but to use them to bring Him praise.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34-35 (English Standard Version)
Jesus re-emphasizes the significance and importance of the Great Commandment. If we want the world to know that we belong to God, then we must consider the way we treat one another. Our love for each other shows His authority over our lives.
We, as followers of Christ, have been called to love. We know that in other Scriptures, Jesus reminds us to also love our enemies. Essentially, being a Christian means loving ALL people because they were created in the image of God. In this conversation on race, it’s important that we love by listening when people say that something is wrong. Here is a list of resources to help you listen and grow in your understanding of and compassion for the experiences of others.
HISTORY OF RACE IN THE UNITED STATES
Race: The Power of An Illusion (a 3-part PBS documentary)
How Deep the Root of Racism? by Thabiti Anyabwile
Racism: What Thoughts or Feelings Come to Mind? by Aftyn Williams (Cru)
Race: What Is It? by Judy Wu Dominick
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
THEOLOGY AND RACE IN THE CHURCH
Biblical Righteousness Is a Four-Paned Window by Carl Ellis
What Does the Bible Say About Racism? by Carlos Santiago (FamilyLife)
Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We are Stronger Together by Tony Evans
Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper
United: Captured by God’s Heart for Diversity by Trillia Newbell
LEARNING CULTURAL SELF
My Ethnical Dilemma by Jason Poon (Epic)
“Race, Ethnicity, Nationality and Jellybeans”
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill
Being Latino in Christ: Finding Wholeness in Your Ethnic Identity by Orlando Crespo
One Church, Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You by Richard Twiss
A Sojourner's Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF RACISM IN MY LIFE AND SOCIETY
Racism Is More Than Just a Social Issue by John Piper
Let Justice Roll Down by John M. Perkins
Setting the Stage for a Conversation on Race and Justice featuring Crawford Loritts
RESPOND: PRAYER AND LAMENT (Personal and Corporate)
Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope by Jasmine Holmes
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