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EDITORIAL: Why racial unity matters


Every now and then, usually after we publish a story on a particular racial unity effort among Churches of Christ, we get an e-mail or a handwritten letter from a well-meaning person.
The gist of the correspondence typically goes something like this: Why does The Christian Chronicle insist on harping on black, white and brown?
Occasionally, the person will suggest that it’s no big deal if white people or black people or brown people prefer to stick to themselves and worship only with those just like themselves. Jesus can still love all the little children (“red and yellow, black and white”) even if their paths never cross. Or so the notion goes.
Despite such objections, we keep reporting on race for two main reasons:
• We believe racial barriers remain an impediment to true unity among Churches of Christ. How can we be one in Christ if we choose to split along racial lines?
• We believe our Christian witness demands a focus on the color of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, not on skin color. How can we demonstrate Christian unity to the world if we do not show oneness in fellowship with our brothers and sisters?
By now, you’ve probably read the Chronicle’s front-page stories this month on racial unity efforts among Churches of Christ in Houston and Detroit. In both cases, black, white and Hispanic church leaders are joining together to share the Gospel and serve the needy. Praise God for such efforts to foster unity!
In the August edition, we reported on Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., honoring civil rights attorney Fred Gray, an elder for the Tuskegee Church of Christ in Alabama who once challenged the university in court. Praise God for such efforts to foster reconciliation!
Elsewhere, several congregations in southwestern Louisiana conducted a recent racial unity service at the Riverside Church of Christ in Lafayette, La.
In the Northeast, white and black church leaders are working together to revive the New England Lectureship, planned for May 3-5, 2013, in Taunton, Mass.
“The planning committee is composed of black and white members, and the speakers on the program will be black and white,” said Maurice Davis, minister for the Milton Church of Christ in Massachusetts.
In Nashville, two young church leaders — Brent High, who is white and a member of the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ, and Micah Otis, who is black and a member of the Scott Avenue Church of Christ — have organized a series of meetings between ministers of white and black congregations. Besides building bridges, they are working to organize a large unity event next year.
Praise God for such efforts to foster inclusiveness!
We at the Chronicle are not naive about the challenges faced by leaders who attempt to bring about racial unity.
In Houston, only about 70 of the area’s 200 congregations participated in the citywide Campaign for Christ.
In Detroit, one minister had declined to join the unity effort until this year. He acknowledged that misconceptions about the undertaking caused him to wait so long. May we not delay unity in Christ based on bad information and poor communication.
Jesus died to save the sins of all mankind, regardless of skin color. Let’s strive harder to gain mutual understanding, appreciation and respect.
When we do, we’ll better realize the unity found in Christ’s precious blood.

  • Feedback
    The Editorial Council piece, “Why racial unity matters”, was spot on and folks who prefer to deny that racial divides still exist, are probably okay with letting the world creep into the Church – either by omission or commission.
    I say Bravo to the Christian Chronicle to report on the wonderful efforts of Christians from different backgrounds WORKING TOGETHER to find common ground in His service.
    It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit!
    Lance Watkins
    Mid Hudson CoC
    Newburgh, NY
    USA
    September, 23 2012

Filed under: Editorial Staff Reports

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