Racism does not just disappear

Scott Garber, the pastor of our Washington Community Fellowship, says:

Racism does not just disappear just because of the passage of time. Racism does not disappear just because we are sorry. Racism does not disappear just because we’re “workin’ hard”. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we denounce it. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we change our laws. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we compensate for its consequences. Racism doesn’t disappear just because we build a memorial to Martin Luther King. Racism, like any other sinful condition that God does to transform, will disappear when, and only when, it is replaced by its opposite.
What is the opposite of racism? Well, racism involves attitudes of superiority and inferiority. So,  transformation means replacing those attitudes with equality and love and meekness and affirmation. And racism involves social systems characterized by stigmatisation and oppression of those we perceive as different. So, instead, a just society must create a community defined by mutual submission and solidarity, protection and opportunity… At this juncture in the history of our nation God is looking for a model home for his transforming kingdom values – a staging ground for the opposite of racism. To prove that such a transformation is possible and to show what it looks like.

To do that, the church will have to commit itself to both truth-telling and a direct engagement that goes far beyond just denouncing racism. Pastor Garber says we have to first be honest about what the role of the church has been and yet insist upon what that role now should be. He confesses, “Historically, despite some noble exceptions, the church has Allentown prostituted is theology to the institution of slavery, looked the other way during decades of discrimination, stashed is feet through the civil rights movement, ignored the problem one the external stimulus was removed, and finally settled for something resembling ‘separate but equal’ in church life. It’s hard to be part of the problem and part of the solution to the problem at the same time. And, yet, God still desires to display his transforming power through the church.” For that to happen, Garber says that the church must “turn the bright lights of righteousness on the sin of racism.”

— Jim Wallis, Seven Ways to Change the World, p. 152-153

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