Thursday, March 11, 2021

Ep. 26 - I'm a Non-Racist

I am not a racist. 

I don't care what book you read or ideas you hear or theories you follow... I have not been, nor will I ever be a racist. I fully understand that in some circles of people, for me to even say this, proves that I actually am. This is utter nonsense. Utter. Nonsense.  And because it is utter nonsense, I am going to say it again, just to spite the nonsensical crowd: I am not a racist. In fact, I will now put forth the accusation that if you think that I am a racist and hold to this idea, you, my friend, are an idiot... and my proof of your idiocy is in your denial of said idiocy... Your denial proves that you are. Right?

I'm white.

Not really. It is more of a peach-colored flesh-tone, but that is beside the point. To many people, and to governmental forms that I complete, I'm white. I'm not sure why this is important information for the government to know, but they always seem to want to know. (Does anyone now if they are regulating melanin now?)

Because I am melanin deficient, I believe that the current consensus is that I am supposed to be quiet on the topic of race. In fact, I'm fairly certain that some of my liberal acquaintances will freak out over me typing this post. So I'm a little nervous, not because of what I want to say, but because the other side doesn't seem to be playing by the same rules of interpretation. My melanin deficiency makes it quite possible that their feelings about this post will take a higher precedence than the actual words of this post. ... And if I continue to follow their reasoning, my strict adherence to the very idea that words ought to maintain their author's intent, superseding any felt-truths by the reader, is also demonstrating my lack of melanin. This again, is utter nonsense. 

With that said, I would ask you, before you read any further, to not judge me by the color of my skin, but by the content of my character... or at least the content of this post. Would you at least consider these following reasons as to why I simply cannot be a racist. (I know, bold statement.) Actually, I will go a step further, not only would I say that I am not a racist (and definitely not an antiracist), but I would classify myself as a non-racist and encourage others to do the same. I have two main reasons for my non-racist status, but my additional hope is any reader would see that in these beliefs that I am about to share, that those who actually are racist - specifically of the type that would judge someone by the quantity or lack of melanin they bear - that their one and only option is to repent of that sin and cry out to their creator for forgiveness. 

Non-Racist Reason 1: There aren't any Races.

In the first argument that I would like to present to you, to adequately and accurately define myself as a non-racist, I point to the very founding core of my entire belief system. It is deemed by some to be a religious view, but for me it is beyond mere religion and is at the very center of my anthropology - my understanding of humanity... what are we, why do we exist, how do we exist? This belief defines who I am, but it also defines how I see others. To the best of my understanding, it was in the beginning that God created the heavens and the earth. When He then created man, He only made one. At that point, God looked at all of creation, and declared it "good" ... except for the fact that man was alone. God's remedy for this was to create woman from the rib of man. At that moment, there were two humans... one man and one woman. God then commanded the man and the woman to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. This command has been obeyed since the beginning of time, not only by the first two, but by all of their descendants. Every single person living today is a descendant of that first man and woman. Together, we compose the human race, leaving no room for the existence of other races. 

A middle eastern man, born in North Africa, wrote these truths down for us to read. He did this through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and by the providence of that same God, these words have been preserved for us today in the Bible. If you are not a Bible-believer, then you may not believe this to be true - but remember - we aren't talking about you, we are talking about me, and the reality is, I believe this with every fiber of my being. There is only one race. What then would a racist be? I mean... I am denying that I am one, so I must have an opinion on what a racist actually is. 

What is a Racist?

In the dictionary, racism is defined primarily as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." This definition will work for our purposes, but I would ask you to consider for a moment that if the previously stated Biblical reality is literally true about humanity, then a racist (someone who actively operates or thinks out of racism) would be one who, at least initially, is either a denier of God's word entirely or a demented twister of God's word.  So racism is a sin, not because there is some specific command in the Bible calling it this, but because, like all sin, subverting the truth of God for our own beliefs is high treason against the King of the Universe.

People Groups

I don't believe that there is more than the one human race, but I understand what people are referring to when they use that word. And even though the very idea of race... especially race as a way of ranking status or ability... is a fairly new concept (thanks for that one, Darwin), people groups, such as tribes and nations, have been around almost as long as people have been around. For the majority of history,  tribal identification could exceed beyond genetic / biologic similarities, and would typically focus on location, beliefs, and allegiances. 

In many ways, this is still what is happening today. This becomes apparent when a person is referred to as a different color of skin, not because of their actual skin tone, but because of their behavior. After 21 years in education, first as a teacher and now as a dean, I can't tell you how often I've heard a black student declared as being white for certain behaviors or a white student proclaimed as trying to be black by those same peers. These declarations make absolutely no sense, until you understand that it isn't about the color of the skin, but more about the behaviors and beliefs that one adopts. 

I consider myself a non-racist because I don't believe that there is but the one human race, but this doesn't mean that I don't believe that there are multiple people groups that have harbored hostility toward one another for all of history. People identifying themselves and others through genetically inherited family features and using those features to make assumptions, positive or negative, is foolish to the highest degree. So again I plead with you, please understand that I am in no way denying that behaviors and attitudes titled racism is a thing, and I am most definitely not defending any form of racism whatsoever. I repeat, any actual racism is a heinous sin that should only be remedied through true Biblical repentance by the individuals perpetuating these sinful behaviors. It is only through a true and right understanding of the reality of God's creation that we can even begin to approach, what has been called, racial reconciliation. These opposing people groups are in great need of one to supersede all, to stand as a representative of all, to suffer for all and then to live for all... in turn creating a new humanity, born anew. It is only through someone like this, that sinful hearts could ever be redirected toward adopting the truth. Which brings me to my second point. 

Non-Racist Reason 2: Societal dividing walls are abolished in Christ.

I will now attempt to share with you the second reason in my attempt to show you that I am a non-racist, and that you should be as well. This second reason is focused on the solution to our seemingly race-related problems. You see, it isn't that I don't see that there are issues out there, I just can't go along with the solutions that have been presented.  For example, even though the statement, Black Lives Matter, had the potential of battling those lingering prejudices titled racism in our society, it derailed from that potential long before the whole train was even on the track. I am not going to, in this post, attempt to break down the issues I have with the Black Lives Matter Organization. The essential conversation to have will focus on the fact that this organization is not centered on the solution that God has brought to the table. To present this solution, I need to introduce to you a longer passage of scripture. 

I wish I could just give you a verse here and there, but this particular passage needs to be explored in its entirety. This passage is Ephesians 2:11–22. To understand it, you will need to be introduced to a few terms beforehand.  The first one is Gentiles. Gentiles are those who are not of Jewish descent, and more specifically, not of the Jewish faith, hence the secondary term: the uncircumcision, the act of circumcision being the way to create a physical identifier for males that they were of the people of God. Since gentiles were those who were not God's people, Jews (the circumcision) on the other hand, were the people of God. Jews were originally those who were of the Children (or descendants) of Israel (Jacob), but all throughout the Old Testament, others were grafted in and considered to be of the People of God and demonstrated this by getting circumcised (at least the males). But because they were people like we are, they tended to miss the point and make their "People of God" status to be more about their genealogy than about their theology. Paul the Apostle's main ministry was to spread the Gospel (Good News) Message to the Gentile World, because the News was for Everyone. Consider now, as we dig into the middle of this letter from Paul (A Jew) to the new Believers in Ephesus (A city located in Modern Day Turkey). We will start at Ephesians 2:11 -- 
[11] Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—[12] remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 
If you are unfamiliar with Biblical Terminology, this all might sound odd, but all Paul is actually saying is that these people were not God's people, but now they are. "Christ" is the title term for the Anointed One - The Messiah, who was named Jesus. (You may have heard of Him.)  At this time, take special note of the role of Christ which is hinted here: To be separated - out of the people of God - was to be separated from Christ.
[13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 
"In" and "By" -- We are "in" Christ, in order to be in the people of God... and this is also accomplished "by" Christ. There was a cost involved in redeeming us into the family / people of God. This makes the role of Christ the central point of establishing a unity among all people groups in this world. As stated in the next verse, he himself... HE is our Peace. He doesn't bring an idea of peace, He is the peace. 
[14] For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility [15] by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, [16] and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 
In a very real and practical way, much of what we seek has been done through Jesus. And now we - in Christ - as we become identified into the people of God, through his work: hostility dies. This is precisely what we need. Black Lives Matter fails because it doesn't hold to the one who can actually destroy the hostility. And wouldn't it be insane if this Christ actually started and organization himself?!?  Umm... He did. It is called the church. And the church, in all of its sinners-turned-saints glory, is the single organization that was founded by this same Jesus Christ, was paid for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and is now headed by our King of Glory: Jesus Christ. True Christianity is the answer, and it isn't white or black... it is red with the Blood of Christ. So we don't proclaim (preach) any other hope of salvation, other than what is found in Christ. There is no other name given among men, by which we can be saved (rescued from our sins). 

Preach the Gospel. 

Consider now the close of this passage and the role we are to play. 
[17] And he (Christ) came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. [18] For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. [19] So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. [22] In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. 
True unity in humanity, originally created, but distorted by sin, is now recreated in Christ. We are not going to end racism, in any of its forms, with Black Lives Matter or with All Lives Matter... whether it be a slogan or a motto or a full-fledged organization. Hope will not be found there, simply because the source of all hope is left out. Hope, it turns out, is not an idea, it is God in the Flesh: A Person.

What I have shared with you here is what I believe. The silly concept of race is lost on me, not only because I don't believe in actual races, but also because I identify as one who is in Christ. Any previous identity - determined by genetics, tendencies, desires, events, traumas, teachings, or leanings - has been overcome by my new identity in Christ. 

You might disagree.

I understand that some may disagree with me, and it is fine, on some levels, to simply disagree.  I also understand that some may even go as far as to say that this post did nothing but display my whiteness. (Can I call "utter nonsense" again?)  But to all those who disagree... even if in your estimation of me, the disagreement hinges on the possibility that I might be a total loon... I would only ask though, that you consider this one thing: even if you disagree with me, can you at least consider the reality that a person that actually believes these two things, could not be, under any reasonable definition of the word, a racist?

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