Book Review - Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian

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A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to see the movie “The Help.” I was outraged that human beings were treated with such disdain. I felt like I wanted to go out and march on Selma or something. But, of course, that was back in the 50’s and 60’s long before my birth. I praise the Lord that such wicked segregation does not exist today. We live in a much more enlightened time today. So, the very next day I went off to worship at my overwhelmingly white church followed by a week of work at my overwhelming white Christian school.

I couldn’t help but think of this experience when I finished reading the book Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper. Of course, I am always eager to read anything by Piper. I knew it would be about race, and I was ok with that. After all, I am against racism. I have no problem reading about the sins of others… But the book proved to be façade-shattering from the very first chapter. As Piper describes his early childhood, he shocked me with this statement,

John Piper was a racist

I was, in those years, manifestly racist. As a child and a teenager my attitudes and actions assumed the superiority of my race in almost every way without knowing or wanting to know anybody who was black, except Lucy. Lucy came to our house on Saturdays to help my mother clean. I liked Lucy, but the whole structure of the relationship was demeaning. Those who defend the noble spirit of Southern slaveholders by pointing to how nice they were to their slaves, and how deep the affections were, and how they even attended each other’s personal celebrations, seem to be naïve about what makes a relationship degrading. No, she was not a slave. But the point still stands. Of course, we were nice. Of course, we loved Lucy. Of course, she was invited to my sister’s wedding. As long as she and her family ‘knew their place.’ (p. 33-34)

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"Unsurprisingly, the decision divided the community, as some were upset by the decision and, presumably, that fact that it was an issue put to vote in the first place"

Kings call for economic fairness at MLK memorial

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_KING_MEMORIAL?SITE=NCAGW&SECTI... ]""Yes, my father had a dream. It was a dream, he said, that was deeply embedded in the American dream," said King's son Martin Luther King III. "The problem is the American dream of 50 years ago ... has turned into a nightmare for millions" who have lost their jobs and homes."

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Confronting Racism in the Church

Sermon preached at 2010 IL/MO state conference. Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin Jan/Feb 2011. All rights reserved.

By Greg Randle

In 1865 General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, to declare to slaves there that they were free. The order that General Granger took to those slaves had been signed two and a half years earlier. So although the people had been pronounced free nearly three years before, they did not know it until the general came and told them. In essence they were still slaves. They thought like slaves. They talked like slaves. They even lived like they were slaves.

Already Free

We have a lot of Christians today who are still thinking like slaves, still talking like slaves, still living like slaves. Although our emancipation proclamation was signed two thousand years ago by the blood of Jesus, we still don’t know how to treat one another in the Lord. God wants us to be able to come together in the Body of Christ regardless of our racial background, regardless of our ethnicity—to come and experience unity and fellowship one with another. In fact, Galatians 2 challenges us about an issue that we’ve been dealing with since the beginning of time: racism. Racism is the institutional power used to hold down a certain race of people through injustice or other unkind means. And the last place we should see racism is in the church of Jesus Christ.

Peter, the apostle to the Jews, and Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, confronted this issue. We see Peter’s failure, and Paul’s freedom to help him overcome his failure.

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Thoughts on Diversity and Scripture

A couple months ago, I presented some thoughts on developing a philosophy of Christian higher education. In light of the discussion of Joy McCarnan’s book review, as well as the fact that diversity and higher education are so closely associated, it seemed to be a good time to reflect on what Scripture says about diversity. The purpose now is to focus on Scripture instead of criticizing specific actions by certain individuals or organizations. If any passages appear to be taken out of context or are misinterpreted, please don’t hesitate to point them out. I welcome suggestions and criticisms. This article is a work in progress about my own views and does not represent the position of any particular college or seminary.

So then, what exactly does the Bible say about diversity and humanity?

God places the highest value on human life.

God created the human entity in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27; James 3:9). Every man and woman of all time is a valuable creation of God. Each person is made in God’s image. Even though this image is marred, the human being is most important to God. Christians should value everyone as precious.

God does not view individuals differently because of their external appearances (1 Sam. 16:7; Rom. 2:11). God knows each person’s heart. One’s outward appearance does not change his or her standing with God. Christians should never prejudge another person on the basis of external characteristics (James 2).

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