Race and Privilege · Social Justice

Race, White Privilege, and the Christian

Those who would learn to serve must first learn to think little of themselves … Only those who live by the forgiveness of their sin in Jesus Christ will think little of themselves in the right way. They will know that their own wisdom completely came to an end when Christ forgave them.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Last week I came across a video recording called “Race and the Christian: An Evening with Piper, Keller, and Bradley” (available online at: http://www.crossway.org/blog/2012/04/video-race-and-the-christian-an-evening-with-piper-keller-and-bradley/ ). In it, John Piper begins the evening by presenting the biblical basis for how we are ALL created in the image of God. Every one of us, all of us around the whole globe, are to live out the worth of God, the beauty and goodness of God. He designed us so that He and only He would be our supreme happiness – knowing God, trusting God, being near God, reflecting God, is our God-designed appointment – all the people, every people, all the ethnic groups have that as our core. Not a single person on this planet fulfills that role. We have all sinned and exchanged it for images, especially the one in the mirror. In so doing, we belittle our God and commit treason against our King. But God has forgiveness us through his grace. We are new creations. In a nutshell, this both explains racism and condemns it.

Tim Keller next discusses racism and corporate evil: a white guy’s perspective. He uses a number of major incidents within the Bible to illustrate what is so hard for especially white, western Christians to understand – that at its core Jewish and Christian faith is based on corporate success and guilt (corporate meaning something shared by all the members of a group). Using this as a basis, he discusses how our individualistic approach to race is unbiblical and ultimately inadequate to address the sin that it represents.

Anthony Bradley concludes by talking about the value of self-confession, and how we need more people to go through this work of confession. He goes on to speak about how we need to begin dialogs with black pastors and theologians, to listen and think differently, if we are to move forward. But we can’t have a complete discussion about race and sin until we have discussions about white privilege and micro-aggressions.  Finally, Bradley poses the question, what next? The world is watching what we do with this new knowledge.

I encourage everyone to watch both the main presentations and the question and answer period that follows.

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