Thoughts to Ponder are my musings regarding community, things of the Spirit, and living as a Christ-follower. I don't offer the words of a professional or an expert; just a fellow traveler and explorer. Please don't take my musings more serious than I do. I've discovered a long time ago that I do not hold the keys of knowledge or wisdom. If I did, I misplaced them somewhere...typical.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jesus Loves The Little Children

Jesus loves the little children
all the children of the world!
It makes no difference: dark or light,
they are precious in his sight...

“WASHINGTON (AP) - Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost
Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks—many calling them ‘lazy,’ ‘violent’ or responsible for their own troubles.” [1]

Regardless of one’s political views, the above statement should bother the follower of Christ immensely. I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican or whether the person in question is Barak Obama, Clarence Thomas, or Condoleezza Rice—to judge an entire race of people as “lazy”, “violent” or “responsible for their own troubles” is antithetical to the spirit of Christ.

When I was a teenager the “bus ministry” was going great guns. Our little church in East Texas bought a small school bus, repainted it sky blue, and started picking up children. A church of 75-80 folks grew into a church of about one hundred and twenty. Seven people (primarily parents of bus children) were baptized in one year.

I remember an old gentleman standing up on a Sunday night and denouncing the efforts to bring in these children, simply because a few of the children were dark skinned. I also recall an elderly lady turning around during church and whacking a little African-American child on the head with her song book because he was merely acting like a child.

That church split because the elders yearned to reach out to people regardless of skin color and so few people were willing to extend God’s grace that far. The elders resigned and went to different congregations and that small church fell apart.

The funny thing is this: the church is now about 25-30 in attendance and there is one older African-American couple attending and they are members in good standing. We’ve come a long way from the seventies.

And then a poll from the Associated Press and Yahoo shows us racism is alive and well. How I would have dearly loved to have heard people say when asked: “Black people: what do I think about them? I can’t answer that question. Why don't you ask me about a particular person?”

According to Paul, in Christ there are no divisions between Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free. I think it is safe to say Jesus looks at us with all of our diversity with love and joy. This is not to say God doesn't recognize color. Of course he does: he created us this way! But I think he sees humanity as a beautiful painting that would be incomplete without all of the colors present. He rejoices in our diversity, and yet he looks not on the outside but on the inside--the state of one's character, one's heart.

What do you think of dark skinned or light skinned people?

I hope you rejoice in the diversity! But when it comes to valuing one group over another: I hope you don’t even think in those terms at all.

Just some thoughts to ponder.

[1] Ron Rournier and Trevor Thompson, “Poll: Racial misgivings of whites an Obama issue,” Associated Press, September 20, 2008


Julie said...

Amen!! And aren't we all glad God looks at the inside and not the outside? Where would He draw the line~ skin color, clothing, weight, hair color, eye color, the list of things God could judge on the outside could go on and on. I pray that I will let Him do the judging, that I will love all people regardless of their "outside".

Darryl said...

Some may wonder about the version of "Jesus Loves The Little Children" I've included. It was taught to me by a Korean friend who said: "Asians are NOT yellow, and I've never really met an American Indian who was red!"

Judy H. said...

Those of us who grew up in the fifties and sixties saw firsthand how discrimination undermined the values we hold dear as a people of God. That African Americans were not allowed to teach or pray or serve communion or hold office in many congregations is a terrible blot on our history. It saddens me terribly that we still practice similar attitudes toward women of the church. If we are truly God's "new creation," neither male nor female but "one in Christ," and if we truly believe that God's Holy Spirit calls and gifts individuals according to His will, then how can we not include, encourage, and support those women who feel called to serve in non-traditional (by human standards) roles?

Marilyn M. said...

I have two things to say:
1. We are all one race, the human race. I recently attended the big annual music teacher's conference (TMEA) and had that thought come to me as I looked into the faces of the people I saw there. In that place (TMEA conference) I felt more human family connection than in most other places. Maybe it's the gift and the miracle of music!
2. In one of my recent elementary music classes we were discussing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In my area we have mostly hispanic people, a small group of "Anglos" (as we call whites here) and even fewer African-American. In this particular class (second grade I think) there was an African American child. Since the topic was mistreatment of blacks in the time of MLK I felt I wanted to... I'm not really sure what, but maybe to clarify this idea for the students. I picked out one of the hispanic children and with her permission held my arm next to hers to compare the shade of our skin. I made the statement that our skin COLOR was the same and that we are all just different shades of the same color, some darker and some lighter but all the same color.