Racism {Part 4}

“1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (NIV) - 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

On Sunday, June 7, 2020, Pastor Bryon held a panel discussion to begin the very important conversation of addressing and listening to differing experiences regarding race and racism in America today. We have seen an unprecedented number of unnecessary and inappropriate uses of force and brutality against minority groups, predominantly against African Americans. This panel conversation was a great entry point to understanding different perspectives on this very sensitive topic. Pastor Bryon said it well… we all need to be open to listening first. Every individual has his or her own story to tell and no one can invalidate what another feels. All of us have been shaped by experiences, past and present, which will lead to our future actions. Big beautiful words do not equal understanding, and let us not forget the importance of kindness. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Put another way, Reverend Marcia Martin of Vian United Methodist Church writes, “Your words can either speak life, or your words can speak death. Our tongues can build others up, or they can tear them down. An unchecked fire doubles in size every minute.”

The frenzy our world has been in is like that unchecked fire. We can begin to get the fire of racism and intolerance under control by listening first and speaking not from a place of complacency or from a political standpoint, but from a Christian place of love and respect for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. As an African American woman, I am proud to be a member of a diverse church that is willing to have these hard conversations. The Apostle Paul urges us to be a unified body with Christ alone as the Head. Christianity is not only for one group or for another. Followers of Christ come from all walks of life, all races and ethnicities, and as members of the same body we must work together to build up the Church. If we speak before listening or without empathy and understanding, we are not upholding that to which God has called us. We cannot be His hands and feet if we are discordant. We cannot be light in the dark places if we propagate divisive ideas. We cannot raise up a new generation of Christ followers if we have hardened hearts and ignore what is happening so pervasively in our culture and society today.

Systemic racism is a very real problem, and it must stop. God so loved the world, and every race, creed and culture in it, that He gave His only Son to die for us. He died for me and He died for you. This truth goes far beyond race, ethnicity, income or political party lines. Restoration in the body of Christ is an absolute necessity if we are to move forward to a less destructive and less divided future. Romans 12:9-10 (ESV) insists, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold
fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”  We are all parts of the same body. Together, we are the Church.

By Brooklyn C. Plummer
Brooklyn has been a member of Kingsway Church for about 7 years, serving on the prayer team and KidsWay. She and her husband Kevin absolutely love the diversity and welcoming atmosphere of Kingsway. Kevin and Brooklyn enjoy spending quality time with one another and their one-year old daughter outdoors and with friends and family. Music, dancing, laughing and board games are just a few of their favorite things!