On Racism and Christianity

I did a worship on Sunday for our “camp pitch” here at the Oregon Campmeeting. I was asked to submit similar thoughts for the “Gladstone Gazette” – the Campmeeting newspaper. Below are what I submitted. The words are a summary of what I said. I wish I could do the whole thing but it isn’t possible. 


“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black and white all are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children.” So says the old, familiar children’s song. Yet, why is it just a children’s song? Why isn’t it an adult song as well?

With all the things going on in the world right now, especially the racially charged shootings, deaths, retaliatory shootings in the United states, people are living on the edge. Nothing dominates the news as much as these things. It isn’t welcome relief from the political stories when we hear about another shooting, another killing, another racial problem.

The church needs to be the most loving, the most accepting, and we should be setting the agenda for these things. Yet, we aren’t leading, we’re blindly following the news reports. And we’re taking sides. What about that old song, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord…And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…”?

The church used to use the term “brother” and “sister” when talking about others in the church. We don’t anymore. Maybe we should start calling each other brother and sister again. I believe we should start leading the way, by reaching across the community to call people who are racially different from us and call them brother or sister as well.

Before my wife and I got married, we used to think we thought a lot alike. We used to joke around by saying, “Stop thinking my thoughts!” Then we got married. We were amazed at how different we were. However, as we’ve realized that we’re different, we also realized that is a good thing. She sees things, I don’t. I can do things she cannot do. Together we are better because of our differences. We can accomplish more because we’re different.

It’s really the same racially. We used to think we should be colorblind and just accept everyone as the same. It seems to me, in retrospect, we aren’t the same. There are racial differences, cultural differences. Asians do different things than Blacks. Blacks do different things than Hispanics. Hispanics do different things than Whites. And that’s a good thing. Yes, it’s a good thing. Together we are better because of our differences.

Our theme at campmeeting is “Called together, as one.” This is crucial to realize. As the church, we are better, together. And God called us together, because of our differences. 1 Corinthians 12-14 are all about the church being different, but working together, as one. Let’s set the pace this week. Walk across the aisle and shake someone’s hand who is not like you. Find someone different and pray with them. Sit somewhere different in the meetings this year and make a new friend. We’re called, together, as one. Let’s set the pace together.


Here’s link showing Portland as the “whitest major city in the US”

Race relations in Portland, the whitest major city in the U.S.