Do I write too much about race???

Posted: March 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

Someone once said to me that I write too much about race and ethnicity. And I would have to agree. I think I do write alot about race and ethnicity. The reason I do is because it is one of the most obvious barriers to mission. I believe our race and ethnicity have a lot to do with our culture. One of the reasons why I do not ski or surf is partly because most black people don’t do it. Now there are alot of socio-economic reasons underlying that as well but those reasons are also attached to race and ethnicity and the culture in which I was brought up in. So on a very practical level in order to really communicate cross culturally and within a culture we have to talk about race and ethnicity to be effective as we incarnate the gospel.

Another reason I write about race and ethnicity is because of the misunderstanding and hatred that is still going on in regards to hate and ethnicity. Obama has said that we live in a post-racial society but when you take a look at the recent incidents that have been sparked at UCSD over the so called Compton Cookout or even last years Henry Louis Gates/Cambridge cop incident it is clear that we are not beyond thinking, acting, and behaving badly in regards to race.

The last reason I do it is because it is one of the most significant issues that stands out to me as I read the New Testament. When you think about the fact that the gospel transcends race, ethnicity, culture, and nationality and that many issues in the gospels and in Paul’s epistles deal with ethnicity and culture (race wasn’t such a big deal back then) you have to read the bible with different eyes and do church differently as well. So that’s why I write about race and ethnicity.

So what are your thoughts? Do I write about race too much? Are there more important topics? Is it not talked about enough? How do we constructively talk about race and ethnicity in a church context?

  1. Marilyn says:

    I’ve probably not read enough of your writing to offer an opinion on whether you write about it too much, but that doesn’t mean I am without comment altogether. 🙂

    You are completely right in saying this is still a topic worth speaking to. No question about it. You offer good examples. As for whether YOU are writing too much about it….from strictly a writing standpoint…..If this is the topic that keeps coming back to you as you writer, if no matter how much you write about it, there’s still a fire burning, then this is where you need to be writing…..m-a-y-b-e.

    It’s also possible that what’s really burning in you is a bigger overall topic which you might be missing because everything triggers a race reference in you. I have a few of my own pet topics (and I do not use that phrase to minimize) that are very REAL topics that need to be spoken to, but I tend to see them everywhere, WAY more places than others do. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong or they are wrong. This isn’t about that. We are all wired differently and our experiences affect our antennae, what we ‘pick up.’

    I think there is a reason why certain topics keep burning within each writer and that THIS is a matter of prayer before the Lord, asking Him to make clear the true topic burning within. VERY important!

    I was gripped by four very different books last year. I was completely captivated by reading in a way I hadn’t been for a long time. It wasn’t until I was through with all of them that I discovered a common thread. They all had to do with MARGINALIZED people. DISENFRANCHISED people. (Not coincidentally, I was feeling a bit marginalized at that time and didn’t realize it until after I saw how much I enjoyed the books. I believe God was showing me something about myself I hadn’t seen before, and also something I probably needed to write about.)

    Be open.

    • mayotron says:

      Thanks Marilyn. I will continue to be open and keep this in prayer. I think digging deeper and figuring out if there is an overall topic the Lord is drawing me towards is a worthwhile effort.

  2. steven says:

    Race is a vital issue for us to address. Even more so, if by addressing race we are trying to address, not just race, but the whole issue of ‘the other.’

    The veracity of the gospel hinges upon the binding together of radically different types of people. Church communities should be such that outsiders are confused by our fellowship. They should ask, “Why are all of these people hanging out together? They have absolutely nothing in common? Why do they love each other so much when they are nothing alike? Why is such a diverse group so committed to common living and common purpose? This is the manifold witness of the Scriptures, but not the American Church.

    There are other issues of comparable importance, but not many.

    Bang the drum loudly brother! People need to hear it!

    • mayotron says:

      Most definitely Steven. Thanks for the paper as well. I will be looking into it over the next couple of days. I think the biggest issue for me right now is that I have been trained in the “better business practices” of the contemporary church but also have a different trajectory as I see that the church is mandated to encounter and include ‘the other.’ The more and more I dwell on statements like you make in your paper about the kingdom and the cross I am pulled towards ‘the other’. The more I look at my position as a leader of an “organization” and also as I look out at the contemporary church world comparing myself then I start veering into the opposite direction. It’s so hard to break out of an old paradigm

  3. steven says:

    It’s so hard to break out of an old paradigm

    I would say its impossible, ‘camel through a needle’s eye’ impossible…

  4. Marilyn says:

    “The other” is an excellent expression and I appreciate Steve’s introducing it here.

  5. mayotron says:

    That is my new phrase now Marilyn. “the other” is what I have been about for a long time now. I don’t even know if I can remember when it wasn’t. Even before I made a commitment to Christ my mind has always been on “the other”. Very interesting how God stirs something in the soul.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s