Monday, April 28, 2008

In Matters of Race, Where Do We Stand - As Christians?

Today's post is by Chermone Bunting, a brother to whom I owe a HUGE (and public) apology. He writes his own blog at http://juliankandyministries.blogspot.com/ and also adds frequent comments to http://blackandreformedministries.com.

Back in mid-March, he sent this article to me, offering it for our blog. It was relevant to the current events of the presidential race, and I said I'd be glad to post it. Then I delayed, and delayed some more, and before long, the immediacy of the topic was past, so I thought I'd let it slip quietly away.

I failed, however, to let Chermone know why I had not posted his article after I told him that I would. And now, with Rev. Jeremiah Wright back in the news this past week, the article is alive again. Of course, even without the "reverend" in the news, the topic is relevant.


SO. . . I bring you the musings of brother Chermone.


In Matters of Race, Where Do We Stand-As Christians?

As I watch the latest events unfolding concerning Barack Obama and the effect of “Race,” a few things continue to pop up in my mind. First off, why does there seem to be the effort to put everyone into one group or another when the fact is most people are inclined to stand out? Second, in comparison to the biblical worldview on Christian values, is there really a necessity for a “Black Value System” (BVS)? Lastly, how do we identify with past hurts and overcome them? I am sure the list could be longer, but it will suffice for now in order to address my thoughts.

First, the foolish notion that when one person from a group speaks, for some strange reason that automatically means that they speak for every single person who has anything to do with that group. While in some instances that may actually be true, when it comes to issues of ‘race’ it is simply idiotic. Case in point, I was listening to a few conservative talk radio shows the other day. Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has caused quite a stir with his appalling remarks about the U.S. and 9/11. Show after show people (Black callers) continued to phone in and say that they spoke in defense of Barack Obama in unison with the rest of the “Blacks” in America. As a Black American, I take exception to that - especially as a Christian. I take offense because Barack does not espouse the Christian values that I cherish and believe that constitute a biblical worldview. Mr. Obama would categorically disagree with me on all this, but it is what it is. He is pro-abortion, yet he says he “values” life. That in the end, it should be left up to the woman and her pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, whatever. No mention of what the father could possibly want, because it is not his body and the child is really just a cell. No concern over whether or not God condones or condemns abortion. Obama talks of moving forward, being unified under the banner of Americans, but jumps on the “beat-down Don Imus” band wagon with fellow “Black Activists” Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Now I for one thought what Imus said was deplorable, stupid and down right ignorant (a far cry from the images of the ladies’ basketball team that were later shown). However, for Obama to cry foul at Imus citing concerns for his own daughters, but refuse to get in depth with Ludacris’ over the degradation of women on his albums is just as wrong. If he believes that the Lord created the woman out of the rib of a man, then Barack should have at least made it a point to reflect that since the woman is the weaker vessel a man should protect her and not assault her with his hands or his words. Let us also not forget to mention the closeness of Barack to Oprah Winfrey (who recently started a series on the ‘Course in Miracles’ book). All matters that I suppose reflect a bit of hypocrisy in Obama. Fortunately for Barack Obama (and Christians), being Black and Christian is not synonymous. As a Black individual I do not recognize a status quo over whom I intend to support politically. (I do however, fall completely in line with the precepts dictated by my Lord to minds of the writers of the Bible.)

Barack Obama’s “Black Value System” that he learned from Jeremiah Wright are not the values that are taught in the Bible that he is so fond of. The Christian value system is built upon the precepts of Christ. We are taught that we are His (Christ’s) if we keep His commandments, namely to love the Lord God with all our soul, all our heart, all of our strength and all of our mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. How do we say that we love God, but hate those who have persecuted us? How dare we who have sinned so horribly before God- in many cases after we have come to know the truth- show unrighteous favor because of color? Why is it that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about “…little White boys and little White girls holding hands with little Black boys and little Black girls…” while the “Black Value System” teaches us to separate? Where in the BVS does anyone see anything about helping others who are not Black? Did not Christ himself speak about godly love in the story of the “Good Samaritan”? Are we not commanded to go out into the world? How a church organization could get so caught up in itself is frightening. At what point did the church stop looking at the truth in the Bible for “Black” truth (which is really no truth at all)? To me this clearly shows a lack of biblical desire for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the future of our souls. In fact, it shows the heinous roots of the “Social Gospel” which is to be considered anathema because it really is not the Gospel at all!

I have personally gone through the hardship of being discriminated against. I also realize that there are White individuals and groups in America that believe they are superior to Black people. They are there and they will always be, but we must pray for their salvation as well. The Bible says, “Evil men will wax worse and worse…” Yet I also know that there are holy, godly people of all races walking across this great land. I know because I go to church with them, I work with them, I meet them on the streets. As a Black American I understand much of what my African-American forefathers had to endure, I am not ignorant of their sacrifice. Still, the freedoms that they prayed for are realized daily by Blacks around America. They fought and died praying that we (as Black people) would be treated fairly and justly- and we are. Black (and White) people alike need to understand that they are not their parents or grandparents. As Christians, if we are to live holy before God, we must do so with our White, Black, Brown, Red and Yellow brothers and sisters.

I remember going off to college in West Virginia. The school had a population of around 3,000 students (about 90 were of Black descent). One evening as I was walking on campus I passed a sorority house that was having a party. I kept walking. As soon as I passed the ledge and had my back to the party goers- I heard some females yell out the “taboo” word. I kept walking, but inside I was seething. None of them knew me. I was a freshman there and it was only week three. Some years later, I was with my wife, my 8 year old daughter and my year-old son walking to our car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. A brown Ford pickup drives by with a couple of white males in it yelling profanities and the “taboo” word. You never know how those situations will turn out. Thankfully, the young men drove off. Now fast forward to June, 2007. I was riding down the street on my motorcycle when I hit a slick spot and high-ended my bike breaking my ankle. Four cars stopped to help. Every individual there was White. One older man stood over me with a sun shade to block the 115 degree sun/heat out of my face as I lay on the ground. A woman took her minivan and blocked the road with it to make sure no one ran over me or my bike. Another gentleman took my cell phone and called my wife for me. How far have we come as a society to have that random act of kindness happen 15 years after the LA riots?

Two weeks ago I was at Wal-Mart standing behind a Caucasian girl about 15 years old who was trying to get money out of the ATM. She was severely frustrated when she turned to me and asked me to help her with her card. What? Did she feel that safe that she could ask a total stranger (not to mention a ‘Black Man’) to aid her without fear of being robbed (as stereotypes would go)? On four different occasions, there were two differing mindsets. There are far more stories that I could have written if I so chose, but I inscribe these to show that there is a change in our society and no longer can we dwell on the evils of yesterday. Everyday we must move forward, especially as Christians. Can we remember them? Sure, but only to the point that we do not allow them to be repeated.

Today truly is a new day. There are new adventures to be had, new songs to be sung, new friends to be made. Barack Obama is campaigning to become the next president. I cannot in good conscience recommend him. The color of his skin had nothing to do with it, just like it didn’t matter in Iowa. For me it comes to down to what a person says regarding their faith and how they play it out in their everyday lives. Barack’s “Black Value System” seems to be more of a distraction from good works than an encouragement. I truly hope Obama does see that America is not the place that it once was for Blacks. Yes, there is still a long road ahead, but by the grace of God we do see the light at the end of the tunnel and each passing day it grows brighter and brighter. Together, the Christians will see it through, Black and White, and in the resurrection we really will be able to sing to the glory of God, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!”

2 comments:

Jim said...

Persuasive and insightful, my friend.

It's really sad that men like Wright choose to glory in "blackness" and certain political beliefs in a way that is so detached from Christ and his glory.

I loved your point about the foolishness of making one person the spokesman for an entire category of people.

It's truly Orwellian how many who consider themselves "progressive" start their assessment of a person using something as irrelevant as their racial category. What ever happened to the core value of classical liberalism, the individual? Instead we have Wright proclaiming that black children cannot learn in the "analytical" or "logical" style that white children learn in. That's progress?

Chermone said...

Jim, what Wright said was dumb. It has nothing to do with being "black". I see it more as a result of the "TV" baby sitter age. If all a parent does to stimulate a child's thought process is set them before the screen, then what ensues is a child who has to have that type of learning. "Take the tv's away people, it will be ok!"