Monday, May 5, 2008

"White Man's Religion"

I was conversing with someone the other day about why some groups of people view Christianity as a white man's religion. Even in America, there are some blacks who have turn to Islam because they grew weary of racism in Christian churches and the overall political and socio-economic structure. One wonders if these converts realize that in the Sudan, dark skinned Sudanese have been discriminated by racist Muslims. Ironically, stereotyping whites in a response to racism is operating on the same premise of evil underlying stereotyping any racial group.

I live in a town where there is a significant, sizable population of Native Americans, and again, many view Christianity as a white man's religion. Colonization by the settlers, slavery, the Crusades, all of these have served to feed into this myth that Christianity is a white man's political tool to oppress different people groups. Yes, there are examples in history where this unfortunately occurred, but one must look at the message of Christianity, not the errors committed by individuals or groups of individuals who may distorted it to serve their political and economic agendas.

In every conceivable type of group that exists on this earth, you will find people who are law abiding, and you will find law breakers. You will find people with integrity and those who lack integrity. It is the same with Christians. We should not run from assessing historical and current injustices. We should learn from these things, move on, and not repeat the mistakes of the past. And realize above all, that God created all races, and everything else, down to the molecule.

As I was working on this entry today, I saw a Baptist pastor on a television commercial who accounted a story concerning John Newton. Newton, a slave trader was aboard a ship carrying slaves, when a terrible storm occurred. He cried out to God in attempt to bargain for his life, saying he would turn his life around if God would only spare him. God did, and Newton left the slave trade, and later wrote the most popular hymn of all time: "Amazing Grace". God gives us grace to turn our lives around, grace to forgive, and grace to learn from the mistakes of the past. What good is it to point out racism, if we harbor racist ideologies ourselves?

*More on this topic at Racism and the Body of Christ.