Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relationships and of peace, where there had previously been hostility and alienation. Ordinarily, it also includes the removal of the offense that caused the disruption of peace and harmony (Rom. 5:10, 2 Cor. 5:19, Eph. 2:16). “On the matter of race, theologically, there are only two races: redeemed and unredeemed (1 Peter 2:9). The people of God are spoken of as “a chosen race,” “a holy nation.” We are spoken of in the singular as “a” unified, eternal nationality whom Jesus Christ, through His blood, has brewed together as His eternal subjects of representation” Dr. Eric Mason.
Talking about race can be difficult. Talking about reconciliation can be uncomfortable. It’s difficult to reconcile what we won’t admit or discuss. The key to racial reconciliation begins with awareness and acknowledgement. Talking about race seems to bring frustration among God’s people especially among blacks and whites. The process of reconciling must start with conviction. Conviction can be conflicted with guilt and shame. We can’t allow our emotions to stop at that point. This begins the healing process. It must be followed by repentance on both sides. When we are unable follow through with the entire process, we tend to develop a sense of apathy.
Has the church developed a sense of apathy, related to race issues?
As I reflect on my experiences here in Austin, I’m reminded of how open the staff at my church has been to the conversation of diversity. The conversation started with the church celebrating MLK day. I spoke with leaders about the “Why”. There wasn’t any convincing, they immediately implemented the change. We didn’t stop here. The entire staff joined me at the annual MLK march in Austin. Many of my co-workers were educated on the racial history of Austin and the University of Texas. It gave insight into the current conditions of our segregated community. We laughed. We prayed. We questioned. We were united. It was a great example for others to see, the body of Christ united and CREDIBLE. My conversations are on going with the staff at my church. I want to continue to be a bridge-builder. I don’t have all the answers. At times, I don’t know where to begin. However, it remains a burden in my heart.
After attending the IF: Gathering, it ignited several conversations with awesome women. What IF I brought together a group of diverse women to discuss RACE? Who would come? Well 10 women came with the help of friends. We are all similar, with different perspectives and experiences that make us unique. What IF, we found a central meeting perspective? A foundation for the bases of our dialogue called “Christ Alone”? Our love for Christ should compel us to set things right. That Love is the pivotal point of reconciliation, racial diversity and unity. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth.
I understand there is a contextual ignorance, if I don’t seek to understand we will remain delusional. As I seek racial diversity, I must be aware of the need for reconciliation.
I must understand to be understood.