Sunday, December 07, 2008

Boyd on the Unreconciled Church

Greg Boyd has some interesting points about some of the "white evangelical" response the day after Obama won.

Several people responded to my most recent blog by contrasting what I wrote with the “hostility” and “venom” they were reading on some white conservative Christian blogs the day following the election. While most other Americans — even most opponents of Obama’s politics — were celebrating what Obama’s election means for race relations in this country, these white Christians, I was told, were enraged.

And later, regarding a study he ran into at a conference:

One of the sad but unavoidable conclusions Emerson drew from this combination of studies was that participating in a homogenous church — as the vast majority of white evangelicals do — actually makes people more prone toward racism. Folks who are strongly bound to homogenous religous groups tend to embrace racial stereotypes and be more wary of people whose ethnicity and culture is different from their own than those who don’t. As a result, participating in homogenous religious groups tends to make people less interested in, and less adept at, making progress at bridging the racial divide.

In this light, it’s not surprising that some white evangelicals were enraged over Obama’s victory while so much of the rest of the country was celebrating it. Arguably, no group in America is at one and the same time more invested in political opinions that oppose Obama and less able to appreciate the significance of his racial achievement than this group.

He concludes by saying:

This would amount to nothing more than a curious sociological observation except for one thing: white evangelicals are among those who are supposed to be demonstrating to the world the beauty of racial reconciliation! One of the reasons Jesus gave his life was to form “one new humanity” in which all racial, cultural and class walls have been torn down (Eph. 2:14-15; Gal. 3:26-29). Racial reconciliation isn’t some sort of “politically correct” addendum to the Gospel: it’s part of its very essence! If Jesus died to create “one new humanity,” then manifesting a community in which people of different ethnicities are learning to love, understand and do life with one another is as mandatory for the church as is preaching the forgiveness of sins, which Jesus also died for.

An interesting commentary, I thought. What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Were these "white evangelicals" hostile because Obama is black or is it because of his politics? That fact isn't stated. In my circle of "white evangelicals" I think everyone is positive for what this means for race relations however not for what this means for our country in terms of his politics, which are generously the furthest away from scripture, not to mention the constitution.