Is There A Downside To Church Integration For Black Christians??
Reader I have always considered myself to be unapologetically black and unapologetically Christian. This young man wrote an article the other day that's getting a lot of push back. I am all for what he wrote and can really see how it would be beneficial. I definitely know the impact of being in groups of "all women", or "all moms" or "all anything" it does my heart good! I like how the young man pointed out that we don't "live" in these places, especially as bridge-builders and as people called to be in fellowship with those who are different from ourselves, but that these spaces are nonetheless critically important for spiritual/emotional health. Thanks, Jemar Tisby for capturing the intersectionality of our faith in Christ, and our historical and contextual realities as black people in America.
"It is sinful to segregate out of hate for other people or with a desire for permanent separation. But black community empowers us to live more racially integrated lives, not less. With a solid sense of self and the confidence in others’ support of us, black Christians can engage a world built around whiteness with courage and patience."
"...In an integrated church that is still predominantly white, black Christians have to seek out places where we can be ourselves. These are communities within communities, where people of color gather in a shared sense of their past and their present social condition. Black Christians long for spaces where they can be proud, black, and free."
"We want places to lament when the next unarmed black person is killed by law enforcement. We want “amens” from people who understand what it’s like when a classmate or co-worker insinuates that your presence is only due to affirmative action...As much as we love our white brothers and sisters, we don’t always want to have to explain the essence of being black. In integrated settings with white Christians, we have to unpack basic ideas about the black experience. We have to talk about privilege, white supremacy, systemic racism, black culture, food, and music. These explanations are exhausting. It’s hard to have a 401 level solidarity with people who are on a 101 level of racial awareness..."
The various comments that I’ve read from some of the individuals on his post, clearly demonstrate how our faith has been used to systemically de-culturize and invalidate our God-given identities and experiences as people of African descent.