Church Sign an Example of Christian Racial Division
Are churches still harboring an attitude of racism these days? A controversial message on a church sign in Alamaba suggests some are.
If you were to see a church sign with the message, “Black people should stay out of white churches,” what would you think?
Who would you imagine posted the message? Specifically, what color would you assume that person would be?
Well, growing up in a state where racism is still alive and well, I automatically assumed it was a white church sending a message designed to keep blacks out.
It turns out the sign, at a church in Alabama, is a black church whose message posted by a black preacher was designed to keep blacks in.
Church sign demonstrates spiritual race war
AL.com reports that it all began when a megachurch announced plans to build a satellite church in a “high-crime” neighborhood as a ministry effort. The pastor of a black church, it says, assumed that meant building a church in “his” side of the city.
The other side of the sign read, “White folks refused to be our neighbors.”
The pastor of the black church told AL.com, “Putting that church in West End, you’re bringing white spirituality in a black environment. Our music is different. Our experiences are different. We’re more active in worship.”
Birmingham’s mayor, who is black, denounced the sign and the sentiment in a Facebook post: “There is a spirit that is over this city that has to be brought down.
A spirit of racism and division.”
Mayor Randall Woodfin also included a famous quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness can not drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I always assumed that churches were supposed to be friendly toward each other. If we’re all representing the same God, we’re all on the same side, right?
So what if the music is different? So what if the experiences are different? So what if one church is more active than another? Is there only one way to do church? History certainly hasn’t proved that notion, has it?
For years, I’ve attended churches in which the congregation was diverse. The members didn’t separate themselves on opposite sides of the room based on skin color, I’m happy to say. But yet there are so many churches — on all ends of the racial spectrum — who don’t seem interested in mixing with others and, as this episode shows, don’t want their members mixing with “the enemy.”
Years ago, I wrote about a pastor who boasted having spend decades researching the question of whether Jesus was black.
I still don’t understsand why someone would spend that much time over what seems like such a trivial matter to me: Jesus didn’t come to earth for one race. If all life did begin in the Middle East, we were all originally brown-skinned, weren’t we?
I don’t see a problem with a diverse worship experience. I think that only makes us stronger as we exchange ideas and continue a dialog.
And what better place for dialog to happen than inside a church’s walls? I hope that both sides of this issue can sit down, pray with each other, break bread with each other and learn from each other.
I think that’s what Jesus would certainly do.