Caught Between Two Worlds, Racial Healing

Warning: Your Labels​ Have Consequences

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In the ancient world, names had more significant meaning. Your name could define your divine purpose. It could describe how you would be a blessing to the world or fulfill a generational punishment. For example, Ishmael which means, “God (El) has hearkened,” suggests that “a child so named was regarded as the fulfillment of a divine promise.”

Eldest son of Abraham by his concubine Hagar; born when Abraham was eighty-sixed years of age (Genesis 16:15-16), God promised Abraham that His blessing should be upon Ishmael, who, He foretold, would beget twelve princes and would become a great nation (Genesis 17:18, 20). Ishmael was circumcised at the age of thirteen (Gen 17:23-26). When Sarah saw Ishmael mocking her son Isaac, his brother, younger by fourteen years, she insisted that Abraham cast out Ishmael and his slave-mother. Abraham reluctantly yielded, having provided them with bread and a bottle of water. Ishmael was about to die of thirst when an angel showed his mother a well, repeating to her at the same time that Ishmael would become a great nation. Ishmael dwelt in the wilderness, apparently, of Beer-sheba, where he became a skillful archer; later he settled in the wilderness of Paran, where his mother took him a wife from Egypt (Gen. 21:8-21) [1]

He fathered the nomadic Arab nations. He was named to be a child of the promise. However, his life did not turn out the way he and his mother thought, but he did birth a great nation. Ishmael did his part to help fulfill God’s promise to prosper him. He realized the importance of family and had 12 sons. Their warrior tribes eventually inhabited most of the countries in the Middle East.

Then there is Joshua. Joshua began his life as an Egyptian slave. He lived under cruel Egyptian taskmasters but did not let that define who he was. Joshua rose to be the leader of Israel. He was faithful and obedient to God. Moses gave Hosea son of Nun a new name that would redefine his calling from God. He would be called Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew) means “the Lord is Salvation.” This name indicated that he would serve as a “type,” or picture, of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

My favorite name is Emmanuel, (God with us). How fitting a name for Jesus Christ. When the disciples asked about the Father in John 14, I love Jesus’ response. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” John 14:6-10

Jesus’ name not only described who He was but also why He came. He came to be a perfect replacement for humankind and to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin.

Today names still matter. They still have the power to define, empower or demoralize whole groups of people. For example, the word, “black” is described on Wikipedia as, “the darkest color resulting from the absence or complete absorption of light. In the Roman Empire, it became the color of mourning, and over the centuries it was frequently associated with death, evil, witches, and magic. According to surveys in Europe and North America, it is the color most commonly associated with mourning, the end, secrets, magic, force, violence, evil and elegance.” Now just stop and think about this for a moment. We used that word to define an entire race of people. “Black Americans” are often feared and associated with force, violence, and evil. Did you ever stop to think that possibility we are projecting the name and its characteristics onto an entire race of people?

Now take the word “white” using the same source, Wikipedia describes “white” as, “a color without hue. White is one of the most common colors in nature. The color of sunlight, snow, milk, chalk, limestone and other common materials. In many cultures, white signifies purity, innocence, and light and is the symbolic opposite of black, or darkness. According to the surveys in Europe and the United States, it is the color most often associated with perfection, the good, honesty, cleanliness, the beginning, the new, neutrality, and exactitude.”

Do you notice the contrast? One is dangerous, evil and violent while the other name points to purity and all things good. If we allow ourselves and our races to be defined by these labels you can see what happens when we live up to those definitions. One side is good the other is evil, so this racial division only grows wider.

Our names personally given to us, get lost when we are defined by our race, or gender or sexual preference. For us to get beyond the stereotypes, we must ditch these social identities. There are no black or white people. There are Sarahs, Thomases’, Shamika, and Jamaals.’ We are not the names nor the character traits associated with the titles, “black” and “white.” We were not all created the same. We are as unique and different as the snowflakes, clouds in the sky and the blades of grass. Each of us comes from diverse backgrounds and varied experiences. We are individuals, created by the hands of God, the master artist. For us to shatter the tensions of race, we must see each person as an individual, not a group. Names have consequences and so do perceptions.

My author page is up and running. You can click on it and get a free sample of lesson one. Check it out. The Bible study will be released in 2017 on March 21st  my father’s birthday. Wow, now that is a God-thing. Here is a new endorsement. “The study is dangerous and risky. It will demand open and honest conversation. . . . The study will likely make a predominately white-Missouri synod feel discomfort as we talk about prejudice, discrimination, hatred, diversity, and divisions. So be it.”
—Rev. Bart Day, CEO of LCEF

http://books.cph.org/healing-racial-divides-in-america/

[1] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8251-ishmael

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Culture Change, Racial Healing

This is Much Deeper Than The Flag

Gavel and Justice.

People are seeing football players kneeling during the National Anthem and are getting upset,  turning off their televisions, demanding refunds on their NFL Sunday Ticket packages, and burning their favorites player jerseys.  Unfortunately, because people wrongly assume this act of kneeling is about respect or the lack thereof for, the American flag, our great country, or our amazing dedicated military veterans and active duty servants (who are my real heroes), or our perceived unity as a nation.  What gets lost in all these quiet demonstrations are the deeper issues at hand.

I have a higher tolerance for disrespect.  I see the burning of the flag as disrespect.  These protest, started rightly or wrongly, with the right champion or not, as a way to bring attention to a rip in the social justice wormhole.  Athletes have power, they have an influence; they have a powerful voice.  Athletes wanted to draw the nation’s attention to the injustice, lack of fairness, and inequality facing so many in our great country. All the things America is known for, being the land of opportunity, a land of prosperity, a nation where you can come with nothing and become a success, by worldly standards.  That is not true for so many trapped in the dark corners of our urban centers.  That elusive American dream has passed them by, and many are trapped in an American nightmare.

The world sees America as a beacon of freedom and the land of opportunity, but that is not the reality for many of the people I served when I was in urban America.  Far too many, living in the shadows of some of the greatest architectural designs on earth are struggling to survive, and living lives of hopelessness.  Can you imagine that, being hopeless in America?  Their children live in fear for their survival on a daily basis.

In Chicago, we achieved a new milestone.  But it is not a milestone we are having a parade to celebrate.  As a matter of fact, we are trying to bury that story in the newspaper and the media.  Chicago just hit the 500 mark for homicides for the year, it’s September.  Five hundred families have been ripped apart by gun violence.  Has the nation stood up in outrage?  Not that I have heard.  Have we called for an investigation into the causes?  Not that I can find.  Have we started a GoFundMe page to help the victims?  I can’t find that on Facebook.

What we do have is football players taking a knee to remind us that while America is the greatest country on earth, but we are not without our flaws.  We don’t need to burn it down, but we do need to come together to reform it.   What makes America great is that we have the capacity to tackle any problem and solve it if we put our collective minds to it.  It reminds me of what God said in Genesis 11.  When the people came together to build a tower to reach the heavens, God stepped in to stop them, And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”     God is right as always, we can solve the problems plaguing our country.  Maybe the awareness of the problem is just the beginning.  Once we put our collective minds to it there is nothing we can’t accomplish.  And this would be a God-pleasing venture.

A chart showing the violence in Chicago.  This is a story that is getting lost in the debate.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/data/ct-shooting-victims-map-charts-htmlstory.html

Other related posts:

https://revheadpin.org/2017/09/05/enough-already-its​-time-to-defeat-racism/

https://revheadpin.org/2017/08/22/are-statues-really-our-biggest-problem-in-america/

Racial Healing

Enough Already! It’s​ Time to Defeat Racism

Racism Concept Metal Letterpress Type

When I began this writing journey nearly two years ago, little did I know where God would lead me.  The summer before this writing adventure launched, a teenager named Michael Brown’s unarmed shooting death ripped a hole in the racial universe.  Ferguson, MO started a race riot heard and seen around the world. What made this event different was these riots would go on for weeks raising the tension levels and unrest to high alert.  The tension was felt in every community across the country.  Riots and protest would break out in Baltimore, Dallas, Baton Rouge and Milwaukee after other shootings took place.  The fuse was lit, the powder keg about to explode.

It was out of this that my Bible Study One Nation Under God-Healing Racial Divides was birthed.  This is not a sales pitch.  I toyed with several endings to the study; I wanted to call for a day of reconciliation where we could come together as a nation and all voluntarily lay down the burdens that have been built on mountains of hurt, injustice, and the dehumanization of not just black Americans, but Native Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, and White Americans, we have all been gravely wounded by all this fighting and division.  Recent events have opened this tender wound a new and caused even more hurt.  I don’t have the clout to pull that off and reconciliation is something all parties need to equally desire.  As the Bible study was field tested, it was obvious that would not work.  Several test congregations had the same disappointing response, “Racism is too big a problem to solve. Things will never change.  We just have to deal with it.”  My response was a bit snarky but sincere.  “Well, I see how small your god is, but I am convinced my God is bigger than racism.  If God can solve the sin problem, I am sure He can handle racism.”  I know you who are reading this think how Polly Anna of me.  But here are some verses to consider.

Nothing Is Impossible!

In Genesis at the tower of Babel, the people were building a tower to reach the heavens.  This is what God said, “And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” Genesis 11:6

In Matthew 17:20 when Jesus is talking about faith. “He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

When Jesus is teaching the disciples about salvation, He reminds them in Mark 10:27.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’”

Calling on ALL people of Faith! “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[a] it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:23-25

If like me, you are fed up with the hateful, destructive, painful impact that racism is having on our country and the world then join with me and take to your knees in prayer.  Pray for an end to racism in your congregations, synagogues, homes, workplaces, in the parks, whenever you see violence breaking out around you, or you hear hateful, divisive speech, pray.  Church leaders lead prayer vigils. Church members pray alone in your small groups.  Join with me and just pray, pray, pray, that God would melt the hearts of those who have hardened their hearts to people who are different from themselves.  Pray that we stop seeing color and start seeing each other as human beings endowed by our Creator, with the right to live out lives in the peaceful pursuit of God’s dream for us, to be a holy nation set apart for a divine purpose, to point the lost and erring to the Savior.   We have the tools to win this fight.  Greater is He who is in us than he who is deceiving the world.

 

Caught Between Two Worlds, Racial Healing

Are Statues Really Our Biggest Problem in America?

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It is the final weeks of summer in 2017, and the racial tensions have flared up anew.  This time in Charlottesville, Virginia where nineteen people are injured and hospitalized, and one has died: 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Here is how one journalist describes what led up the tragedy, “This spring Charlottesville’s ultra-liberal city council voted to remove an equestrian statue of General Robert E. Lee that’s been standing in a park in downtown Charlottesville since 1924 and to change the park’s name from Lee Park to Emancipation Park.”[1]  Historian Arthur Herman

Rolling Stones reports the events this way, “’Just a few blocks from Emancipation Park, where the white supremacist rally had been scheduled, the marchers appear nonviolent but raucous, chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and holding signs like, “Nazi carpetbaggers go home.’”

“This town has grown from its sometimes great but often difficult history and is marching toward an inclusive future,” DMB writes of “hometown.”

Moments later, the crowd hears a loud, sharp thud. People start screaming and running north, up 3rd and 4th streets to Main Street, a seven-block pedestrian-only stretch of restaurants, shops, and bars. On a typical summer Saturday, this historic Virginia city would be teeming with families and tourists, but today it is filled with police officers in riot gear, who form grim lines to block pedestrians’ access to various points along the mall.’”[2]

As enticing as it is to plunge in and demand that we tear down all offensive statues and mistakenly believe that will start to heal our land.  I want you to think deeper than what is only at best a surface and band-aid solution.  Something lies beneath the surface that no matter how we try and bury it keeps resurrecting itself.

The Issue with Statues.

The psalmists give us an unambiguous warning about the nature of images.

 

Their idols are silver and gold, 

 

the work of human hands. 

 

They have mouths, but do not speak; 

 

eyes, but do not see. 

 

They have ears, but do not hear; 

 

noses, but do not smell. 

 

They have hands, but do not feel; 

 

feet, but do not walk; 

 

and they do not make a sound in their throat. 

 

Those who make them become like them; 

 

so do all who trust in them.  (Ps 115:4–8)

Here I will risk people reigning down fury on me.  Because people will fire back that, “We are not worshipping these statues.”  Before you attack this point, we should identify and define idolatry.  Idolatry is any “Man-made images or representations worshiped as deities; any natural or manufactured objects worshiped as a deity; anything receiving worship other than the one true God.” – Carl E. DeVries. We tend to think of idols as tiny god-like figures that we bow down to and offer our worship and praise. However, it is any object that we place above the one true God.  In the time of Isaiah, the prophet, he described idols made in human form (Is 40:19, 20; 44:9–17).

The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. Isaiah 44:13

I lay all this out to ask us to take a step back and examine the passion we are putting into this debate.  It is not about the statues, nor about the history, we are trying to preserve.  The deeper under the surface issue is what Satan is doing to our democracy.

As the racial tensions escalate, it is fitting for us to address the heart of the conflict.  Who is the enemy we are fighting?  On the surface, it appears that we are fighting against people who have an issue people of different skin color or nationality.   But are we fighting people with radical beliefs and an ideology that is outside of mainstream America?  You would not believe how many people I have had to unfriend on Facebook because of the toxic political posts.  The solution to healing racial divisions is not as simple as spending more time in authentic, vulnerable, and transparent conversations?  The solution to acknowledge and realize we are in the middle of spiritual warfare.  We are fighting Satan and his minions for the soul of America. We are not blacks people, white people, Hispanics, and Latino people, nor Asians people, first.  No, first we are humans, created by the same Almighty God and labeled by that same God, as good when we were created.  Unfortunately, sin has distorted that once perfect creation, but sin changed it for all humanity equally. The enemy who lurks in the darkness who have you believe somehow that your sinful life is not as bad as your neighbors.

 

Read the words of Paul in Romans 3, “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: 

 

“None is righteous, no, not one; 

 

no one understands; 

 

no one seeks for God. 

 

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; 

 

no one does good, 

 

not even one.” 

 

“Their throat is an open grave; 

 

they use their tongues to deceive.” 

 

“The venom of asps is under their lips.” 

 

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 

 

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; 

 

in their paths are ruin and misery, 

 

and the way of peace they have not known.” 

 

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:9–18

As the young people might say so don’t get this twisted, we all stand before God the same way.  We appear before Him broken, flawed, sinners, all in need of forgiveness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  As much as share the same fallen condition, we also share the same redemption.  To fight what is ripping our country apart point to the real enemy, Satan.  Call him out in public, in your churches, on your social media pages, in print don’t let his devious actions go about unrecognized because that is where he has the greatest influence.  We have the weapons to win this fight in our country; the power is found in God’s Word and putting on the full armor of God.

[1] http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/08/17/charlottesville-never-had-to-happen-how-craven-local-politicians-led-our-nation-into-tragedy.html

[2] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/charlottesville-white-supremacist-rally-erupts-in-violence-w497446

Other posts on race.

https://revheadpin.org/2017/03/23/racial-healing-where-do-we-go-from-here/

Published Work, Racial Healing

A New Bible Study: “One Nation Under God -Healing Racial Divides In America”

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We are a nation divided.

This division stems from a lack of communication, empathy, and understanding.

This Bible Study encourages everyone to seek answers to racial tensions in the only place where truth and peace can be found—God’s Word. Healing must begin with Jesus. In this six-session study, you’ll openly communicate and begin the healing process.

Let’s be a nation united—united under God.

Here are a few reviews:
“Pastor Haney has offered the church an honest, heartfelt, and deeply personal study that touches on some of our most tightly held prejudices and divisions. The study is dangerous and risky. It will demand open and honest conversation. Participants will be asked to listen and process information from another’s point of view. The study will likely make a predominately white-Missouri synod feel discomfort as we talk about prejudice, discrimination, hatred, diversity, and divisions. So be it.

Pastor Haney has the right diagnosis despite skin color. The devil, the world, and our own sinful nature are constantly battling against us. More importantly, this study unfolds our true identity in Christ. Those baptized into Christ, white and black, all come as foreigners, adopted children, grafted as outsiders into the very body of Christ. A new identity that allows us to boldly love and serve our neighbor, no matter their color.” -Rev. Bart Day, Executive Director of National Mission for the LCMS

“Pastor Keith Haney has a message. It is a message that some may not want to hear but need to hear. In this study, One Nation under God. Healing Racial Divides in America, he calls all to consider carefully the reasons behind the societal conflicts that devastate some communities and confound other communities.

The uniqueness of Pastor Haney’s approach is that he tackles sensitive and difficult issues that arise from within the fallen human heart. The final answers are not political and regulatory but repentance and renewal on both sides of that racial divide. Change in our culture can occur only when we confront our own sinfulness as exposed by the Word of God and live in the gift of forgiveness won for fallen humanity in the Cross and Resurrection. May this contribution to the Church’s direct us precisely to this truth and may the Church lead the way in becoming One Nation under God.”
—The Rev. Daniel L. Gard, Ph.D., President, Concordia University Chicago

“One Nation Under God: Healing Racial Divides in America is biblical, thoughtful, reflective and interactive in its approach to help us heal racial division. This is a wonderful resource for individual congregations and sister congregations to walk and work through the healing process of race and racism in our community as One Nation Under God.”
—Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray, Jr., Director of Black & African Ministry, LCMS Office of National Mission

“Racial issues are always with us in the United States. Government and social agencies have been working for decades to bring about true healing, justice, and peace. And while thanks are to God, there’s been some progress, overall those efforts are far from successful. The only place this fallen world can find true healing, justice and peace are God’s Word: the wisdom of the cross and all that comes with it. Rev. Keith Haney’s Bible study takes us through many applicable Scriptures, and that is what we all need for the healing we so deeply need in this country. I gladly endorse One Nation Under God.”
—Rev. Dan P. Gilbert, President, Northern Illinois District

https://www.cph.org/p-31186-one-nation-under-god-healing-racial-divides-in-america-downloadable.aspx?_hsenc=p2ANqtz–4pCH1YTtIWrvsc-jNn3DYZtK-wEnh4acDrAgDwLbZ-kfqSL5z9koDTCAa3U2S6Wn18ahaaDg4zRNxSHq3c9GvV4O9dQ&_hsmi=2&utm_campaign=Healing+Racial+Division&utm_content=51187451&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Caught Between Two Worlds, Search For Identity

Fearfully Made

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Growing up black in America comes with a healthy dose of fear.

Looking back I don’t know exactly at what age the veil of innocence was lifted, and I became aware that I was different from other people around me. The most vivid memory was when I was in the Third Grade.

We were playing this paper fortune telling game. In the game, you would pick a series of numbers and then letters. Once that was complete, the paper fortune-teller would reveal your true love. What the heck, I was game. Let fate decide who my heart was swooning after. It landed on a young lady named Cindy. She was quite a looker. Fate had done a pretty decent job. Cindy was a very sweet little blonde cutie. So I asked Cindy to be my girl, and she agreed. Fate had picked correctly. I was on cloud nine. I could not wait to get home and share the news with mom. When I did my mother, she seemed less than, pleased. As a matter of fact looking back on it the color sort of went out of her cheeks. She did not say much. I thought she would be as happy as I was, but that was not the case.

Maybe mom just did understand what a monumental event it was to have your first girlfriend. I knew my dad would understand? So when dad came home, I repeated this story and again, he seemed more excited. Then mom calls him into a closed door meeting to discuss this situation. When he comes out from this executive session, his spirit looked downcast. What could Mom have said to change his mood so quickly? He came out knelt down and looked me straight in the eye and man to man he said, “Son, are you trying to get us killed?” I didn’t get it. I didn’t know that some girls were off limits. My heart was shaken, but Cindy was unique enough that I was willing to buck the system. When she came back to school the next day her parents also had a similar response. Our young romance was short-lived. I discovered that day that color does matter. It was a hard lesson, a painful awakening. My innocent little world was shocked to the very core. It was the beginning of many lessons I would learn.

This event took place in the early seventies. Now some of you might be thinking; this should not have been an issue. On July 2, 1964, the Civil Right Amendment was passed. That landmark piece of legislation granted these new provisions. It outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unfair practices in voter registration requirements. Racial segregation in schools, at the workplace that served the general public. So why was this a problem? I was just trying to advance race relations. It was too soon I guess; the law does not change hearts I suppose. That event opened my eyes that day. The veil of innocence ripped off my eyes.

To be honest, at some point in our lives, the mask comes off of all of our eyes. For some races, that unveiling accompanies some stronger realities. Once that veil comes off, I started to notice how many of my people live their lives daily in fear. Fear is a strange emotion to have to fight on a daily basis.

I have included a link to an article on 10 Things Black people fear. Here is the opening of that section:

“When black people wake up and begin the day, we have a broad range of issues we have to think about before leaving our homes. Will a police officer kill us today? Or, will some George Zimmerman vigilante see us as a threat in our neighborhoods and kill us? We brace ourselves for those white colleagues who are pissed Barack Obama won both elections and took out their racist rage on us. When we drive our cars, we have to wonder if we’ll be pulled over because our cars look too expensive for a black person to be driving. If we’re poor and sick, we wonder if we’ll be able to be treated for our illness. We have a lot on our minds, and sometimes it’s overwhelming.”

My eyes became open to the reality that people don’t see me as I see myself, a hard working honest man, who like everyone else wants the best for my family. I have learned what it feels like to live every day of my life with a healthy dose of fear. I would encourage you to read the article by Terrell Star. You may want to argue with his points or his stats or just dismiss all this as ridiculous.

Let me share with you a typical experience I have when I walk into a department store. When I walk into a department store, I get a lot of attention. The sales people are too attentive to my needs. They come over every few minutes and ask if I need help. They are never more than an arm’s length away just in case I have a need. If it appears as though I am struggling to decide on a sale they are Johnnie-on-the-spot to offer help. Just to make sure my I can get in and out of their store before they are the ones who have to close. Coincidence? I think not. My wife, who is of German descent never noticed this until we went shopping together. I said to her, “You go over there, and watch this” What I just described happens time and time again. Is it any wonder, black people are fearful? People just assume we are up to no good. They are waiting to catch us doing something.

Imagine living every day with that burden, that lack of trust, that degree of suspension. It is enough to make anyone crazy. Every day I discovered life for me on this plant were going to twice as hard as my white counterpart the dance began. I know I have to work twice as hard. In my vocation, I serve in one of 35 districts in my tribe. Those districts oversee 6,105 member congregations around the United States. I am the only African American pastor serving full-time on one of the 35 district staffs. This position while a huge blessing also comes at a huge price. It places a tremendous burden on me daily to prove I deserve it. I have to perform at twice the level of my counterparts to prove I am worthy of that position. That I did not receive it, nor I am keeping it based on the color of my skin. I live in daily with the fear of losing my job and having to try and find employment again. There are few opportunities to serve my tribe, for a person of color. My family spent the last 13 years in cramped housing in some of the toughest urban areas. I served many congregations that were five deaths away from closing their doors. I did so without complaint and gave them everything I had. But my family lived in fear of the crime around us, the influences around us. In fear that there was a higher probability, that one of my teenage sons would not come home one night. That kind of fear makes you unhealthy.

When everywhere you go people follow you, suspect you, are afraid of you, it wears on you. I remember going to a church in my tribe one Sunday. I have been to this church many times during the week, but never on a Sunday. So I knew my way around. I got up to go the bathroom, and two older white elders followed me out the door and asked me, “Do you need help?” My sarcastic response was, “No, I got this. I have done it many times before.” I would love to claim this was the exception but it happens to black people so often we are just used to it. But is that the way is should be? Should we live in a country afraid of the fact that our lives, families lives could destroy in the blink of an eye?

One traffic stop gone wrong. One case of mistaken identity. One wrong turn in the wrong neighborhood. One job loss. We live life always on the edge, always in fear. It makes people jumpy. Nervous people look dangerous, dangerous looking black people get hurt. This culture that we live in daily can be difficult to navigate if you are black.

Until we as a united society can create an atmosphere of trust and safety, we will have an entire race of people living in constant fear. We can change that. We can make this country a welcoming place for all Americans, but it takes us coming together as a people. Not to point blame or ignoring the realities, but we need to get together, to work together, to problem-solve together. We are so much stronger together that living in fear of each other. God made us all fearfully yet wonderfully made. Can’t we celebrate that fact that God made all the little children of the world? Red, yellow, black and white, they are indeed beauty in HIS site. Because God made all the children, He sees no difference. We need to look at each other through God’s eyes. Then and only then can we not see color!

Someone asked me so how do we fix this? So, this series has now been turned into a Bible Study has been released.

Here is the link:
https://www.cph.org/p-31186-one-nation-under-god-healing-racial-divides-in-america-downloadable.aspx?_hsenc=p2ANqtz–4pCH1YTtIWrvsc-jNn3DYZtK-wEnh4acDrAgDwLbZ-kfqSL5z9koDTCAa3U2S6Wn18ahaaDg4zRNxSHq3c9GvV4O9dQ&_hsmi=2&utm_campaign=Healing%20Racial%20Division&utm_content=51187451&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Other posts in this series can be found on the blog under the category of Caught Between Two Worlds:
https://revheadpin.org/2016/07/12/how-guilt-feeds-racial-divison/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/06/07/diversity-in-the-church/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/07/05/dealing-with-race-in-america/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/06/21/how-to-see-beyond-color/

Resources used for this post.

http://www.futurehealth.org/articles/The-Psychology-of-Fear-by-Saberi-Roy-100903-820.html
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/10-things-black-people-fear-white-people-dont-or-dont-nearly-much