The Race Problem - Brad Everett
On Sunday, November 18th, I had the privilege of speaking at the Underground's Crucible service. We looked at Mark 15:1-15. In this passage we uncovered 3 judgements of Jesus. Jesus was condemned by the religious leaders, Pilate and the crowd. Jesus was judged as being worthy of death by all three. Though Pilate says that He hasn't done anything wrong he does allow Jesus to be crucified making him just as culpable. In looking at these three judgements there were 3 key observations: The religious leaders were so wrapped up their pursuit of Jesus, they could not recognize their folly in their condemning him.
Pilate was too cowardly to truly stand up for what was right.
The crowds were the ones who killed Jesus and begged for his death.
The crowd is where we enter into the story. It is where we must enter the story. The key part to our salvation is to realize that Jesus died for us. Our sins are not just bad actions or wrong decisions, they are how we join the crowds in Mark 15 and call for the crucifixion of Jesus. We have to place ourselves in the crowd and realize that we screamed for the crucifixion of Jesus and, as loudly as we screamed, Jesus' silence screamed a merciful I LOVE YOU. We are the apathetic and the lustful and a whole lot of other things and Jesus is our salvation.
Now, one way I highlighted how we crucify Jesus is racism. More specifically I said that there is a race problem. I just wanted to follow up and maybe help some of us respond to the "issue of race" in a healthy way.
[ I will use the word oppressed through out the rest of this paper. It is not meant to be used as a literal term but instead as a historical symbol used to describe those who are less privileged(although in many covert ways there is still oppression). The same is true for the word oppressive which will be used as a historical symbol to describe the historically priveleged. ] When hearing about racism you are either identify with the oppressive culture or in the oppressed culture. One common reaction of someone who identifies with the oppressive culture (historically or presently) is to ignore, downplay, or debate whether or not it is a problem. This is a dodging of the core issue and is actually harmful to real growth in the area of race. In doing this you mimic Pilate, never truly investing, investigating or standing up for the oppressed. The proper response is to join them, listen to stories, invest in friendships, learn about issues, make mistakes, get embarrassed and in the end become better for it. Live a life where you are an actor in the fight. This is how the oppressive repent. They join the oppressed and fight. In doing so I believe they join Jesus.
On the other side of the race problem are those who would consider themselves the oppressed in the. We cannot become like the religious leaders, lest we lead Jesus to his death. Though we may receive ridicule and our dignity threatened, if we allow ourselves to be filled with pride and act in a "let's wait and see what the other side does" manner, we forsake our call to be like Jesus and we forget him. We cannot forget Him. He is our model to be free from oppression and, more than that, he is our model to free both the oppressed and oppressors. We are those who have to lead those who are oppressive to the feet of Jesus, carrying their insults and ignorance on our backs. This means telling our stories, investing in friendships, enduring ignorance and not allowing anything to be downplayed. This is how we join Jesus and scream a merciful I LOVE YOU into places of deep darkness.
In the InterVarsity and Underground community, I praise God for friends from both the oppressed and oppressive cultures who look at the race problem with open eyes and who fight with me. It is an inner fight as well as a systemic fight but these friends are always in the fight. This is what the Church is supposed to be. A place where every evil is warred against. A place where Jesus and his merciful love is our most effective weapon. I love Him! I love yall!
This article is republished with permission from bradfollowup.blogspot.com