Race. What’s next?

mlk-let-freedom-ringSo on this MILK Jr.  Day 2017, I still wonder about race.

With the inauguration of Barak Obama as President of the United States, in some ways, “we are more divided now than before.” What happened? What are we? What’s next?

What happened? Our nation has a lot of baggage racially. That is not news. We have minorities who are have been marginalized for a long time. The racial problem is often held in abeyance. We have been asleep. Getting along. Better but unresolved.

Where are we? When President Obama was elected the main thing I just knew would get better was the matter of race. The opposite has happened. After 8 years, we have a worse problem than we have had in my lifetime.  I don’t blame all this on President Obama, but he is the leader and owns it. We do have some racial problems; that’s obvious. We now have movements to state #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter. I understand the reasons for both. But these only make people takes sides. They divide. The real reconciliation happens when the Police Officer is shown playing basketball with the kids in the black neighborhood.  The real reconciliation happens when the black teenager is shown hugging Police Officers at a protest.

What President Obama chose to do when he was elected was use his political capital. He chose to govern. That’s his job, but … but he left a lot of people behind in his policies. There was immediate separation and division. It’s was over quick. Race got left out as an issue. It was only spoken of when shootings happened of Black men and Police Officers.

The President and the Democratic Party left 40%-50% of the country behind. Racial issues and civil rights were mainstreamed culturally by the President’s leadership with same-sex marriage. So, any criticism of the President and his policies led to charges of racism or racial attitudes. While some of this could be true, it was not true of everyone.

We are in a bad spot. We have the perfect storm. For 8 years a large portion of the nation is ignored. Trump is elected in an uncomfortable election partly based on a “we have been ignored” momentum. Race and division have been added. Then President Elect Trump has not helped himself with his brashness. We are in a bad spot.

whats-nextWhat’s next? We cannot move forward doing the same ole thing. It’s not working. Just take a look at the homicides in Chicago: 700+. Watch the political animosity and it’s racial tone. We must change.

Dr. King was a voice crying in the wilderness. I sometimes wonder what he would be saying today. Not that I question his message but the contextualization of his message for the culture of 2017.  We need to have a contextualized message for race. How can that happen? Are we operating on the methods and attitudes of the past? It’s complicated.

What do we need to do next? That is what is most important.

  1. Pastors must not grow weary in preaching a biblical view of ethnicity.  They need to actually call out race issues specifically to help minorities, but also know when to challenge all people of every race to live in light of the Imago Dei.
  2. Christians need to realize we are different than the world on race.
  3. To more forward we must admit the past issues on race.
  4. Christians must realize a “Hunger Games” style approach to law and order in all matters may be inevitable in the end times from a worldly standpoint, but it unconscionable to us as Christians to live like our culture.
  5. We need a President who will seize the initiative on talking about race, healing the nation, and bringing economic change to minority neighborhoods.
  6. If I were Trump, I would seek to enlist Obama and Bush (GW) to aggressively lead the nation in racial reconciliation.
  7. Realize everyone will not get on board with racial reconciliation. Heaven on Earth should be our pursuit, but the difference between Romans 7 and Romans 8 is Jesus, by choice. We still have sinful natures and a fallen world and deliverance from it is choosing Jesus and living His ethic of ethnicity.

The list could go on. A couple of things here are radical. You may read them as ridiculous. But I’m committed to not seeing us stay where we are. That has not worked. Things have gotten worse.

We the church can see a better day. We can experience what the world groans for. The world? The world is subject to the things of the world and does not have victory in this matter. And many other matters. Followers of Christ do not have to be subject to living the ways of the world. We are counter culture.

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You left a great legacy for us to live forward.