The American conversation about race is rife with anger, resentiment, disappointment, self-deceit, blackmail, hyperbole, lies, ambition, etc.
Can we bring some love to the conversation? Hope? Faith? Joy? Truth?
The race problem, of course, derives from problems that are inherent to being human. Yeah, that same thing which unifies us in our individual, existential experience. In other words, racial and ethnic conflict is as much a consequence of human nature as it is of culture, individual intelligence, and the content of (your-my-our) character. The real problem, ultimately, is sin.
Can we talk about the prejudices, superstitions and subculture of black Americans which fuel racial conflict, misunderstanding, mistrust and provocation?
Or is that an army of the undead that needs to be kept in the closet?
Can we talk about the problem of the natural self-interest that limits the hearts and minds of all persons that belies the so-called lack of compassion of white people for black people OR anyone for anyone else who doesn’t matter to them in their everyday context?
Most white Americans don’t really care (dig into your pockets and give $100 kind of caring) about what happens to white people in Europe. Did white people send 100 Million dollars in donations to Greece to bail out the elderly white Greek people who are in need? No they didn’t. Mostly, people, of any color, don’t even care about the people in the town or city 100 miles away from them. Sometimes, they don’t care about the people that live on the same street. Of course, there are rare and inspiring exceptions.
As I reflect on the race problem, rape culture, domestic violence, the family problem, addiction, crime, the single parent struggle, etc., I can’t but help to see them all as symptoms of a culture of sin. A culture of death. A culture of hearts two sizes too small.
But there is a beautiful, uplifting and glorious answer to our groans and tears.
And it begins with love. It begins with Jesus. It begins with repentance and prayer. Salvation isn’t just about getting into heaven. It’s also about us and our neighbor, today. Right now.