Focus of Thought:
Where do I begin? Or better yet, how can I start over? Growing in the Christian community has nurtured me to be the woman I am growing into today. However, I have noticed a predicament within the Christian community, seldom addressed. The topic of race in the church, has launched my awareness of what it has meant to be a person of color in the eyes of God and brethren. I know that God has made me in his image, confirmed in Genesis 1:27. However, in the eyes of fellow believers, I’m not certain that many fully agree in what God has spoken. In the early stages of forming the church, Peter learns in Acts 10:28 that he “should not call any human beings common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean” [AMPC], which conflicted Jewish customary. I understand that racism is a cultural problem, that many have learned and subscribed to. The problem with many believers that adhere to these racist customary practices is that they refuse to address them when it comes plainly before there eyes. How can they grow and mature without coming to light, choosing to stay in darkness? Instead many, disguise their growth or maturity as a believer with separation. Within my own observation, the church still seems to be one of the most segregated places. I’m not referring to Jim Crow signs hanging outside of church doors. I’m talking about the obvious reasons church homes are chosen. Most of the time churches are chosen for people who think and look like us, giving the last reason to the join to the Word of God that is taught. This provides some sort of growth or maturity that is weed like. Many are growing some of their inherently evil custom without notice, creating weeds all over the church that is choking the good growth of unity among believers.
Expression of Thought:
I am a part of a congregation that is mostly black. This has been by design, because of the very practice of segregation. This has created an existing culture that has separated the idea of God. It seems that there is now a different God for each culture, race or creed. The problem with this idea is not just differences of who we believe God to be, it is that the most popular God is worshipped. Within my experiences, this means that at most times a white god is worshipped. In a study done by the University of North Carolina, they interviewed “511 Americans — 330 men, 181 women, 26 percent black, 74 percent Caucasian they had them look through hundreds of pairs of faces, the majority chose a much younger and much friendlier version of the Almighty.” The researchers also noted that “when believers think about God, they perceive a divine mind who is suited to meet their needs and who looks like them,” the researchers wrote. “Even though American Christians express belief in a universal God, their perceptions of his face are not universally similar.” Here is the face:
Humans throughout history has made God tangible so that the mind can conceive who He is. We must remember that we are made in the image of God, He is not made in the image of us. God is a being, an all-powerful source who is neither male nor female, but God. One of the best names of God is “I AM”. In Exodus 3:14 He declares: “I AM WHO I AM and WHAT I AM, and I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE” [AMPC]. This is a significant statement that declares that God will take form of what we need, but at the same time he will not change because he can be all. Yes, He is our heavenly father and we are his children but looking outside our relation to Him-we must know that He is first and foremost God and there is none like Him.
There is no problem with illustrating God as white. There is nothing wrong with being white. There is something wrong with believing that God can only be white and therefore other must conform with the idea. With the prevalence of separation of race within church, it seems that as a member of a black congregation, not only have I been shown to stay in my place as a minority-it seems that the only way to subscribe to the upmost characteristics of God, I have to be white. Within many human rights issues that have plagued the United States, especially when they involve minorities, little to nothing is discussed within the church. Minorities, Sunday to Sunday, support ministers because of the Word they bring , but in return many receive silence or worst the idea that we should subscribe to “whiter” ideals to combat afflictions that are presented because of skin color. As a black woman I want to start over and erase the notion from every crevice of my being, whiter is not better.
Including my physical characteristics, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That means I don’t have to subscribe to any other ideology other than God’s, in all that he is. In starting over, I now see that the body of Christ should be subject under one custom. Revealed in Galatians 3:27-28 we are in communion with Christ, there is no distinction between us, we are all one in Christ Jesus. It is important to remember that if one social issues hurts a group of believers-it hurts everyone. There is no need to for those believers to adhere to a separate pseudo-ideology for them to become something that God did not create nor intend for them to be.
Siemaszko, Corky. “The Face of God Is in the Eye of the Beholder, Researchers Say.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 12 June 2018, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/face-god-eye-beholder-researchers-say-n882491.