August 10, 2015
Go Set a Watchman reveals why true racial reconciliation requires something akin to the Incarnation.
I haven't yet read the book, but your perspective has me even more interested in doing so. This commentary on the interaction of the characters..."So Calpurnia strapped on the armor to protect her heart until Scout demonstrated solidarity by suffering and fighting along with black people in their plight for equality"...was especially poignant, but more so a beautiful connection to Christ's gift of salvation and his call for us to love and suffer with others. But I have a question...since racism will always exist on some level in a sinful world, at what point do 'company manners' become the barrier? Can my friendship with someone of another race ever be whole if people feel 'company manners' are necessary? Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
"God set no limits on solidarity when he decreed the Incarnation. Putting a limit on identifying with human beings would have put a limit on the salvation He could offer." Yet, do you not set "limits" when you say: "There need not be any barriers between the saints of God, no matter their skin color..." It seems for me - I don't mean this to sound like a Christian requirement - but for me, as a follower of Christ, there should not be any "barriers" between myself and any of God's creation. Muslim, atheist, (even anti-theist) Hindu, or Catholic, (I would pray you have included Catholics in your saints of God) & etc.
In Reply to Amanda Cleary Eastep (comment #27372)
Thanks for reading and offering an insightful question. First, each person is different, so one's experiences with members of other races and cultures will determine how quickly the armor comes on and how long it stays on. Some African Americans I know are very open right from the start, others take more time.
To speak more directly to your question, I think people can experience whole, if still imperfect relationships. Yes. There are some people who will always wear their armor. Their level of distrust is so deep--probably because of painful experiences--that they don't allow themselves to be vulnerable around anyone. But in the context of Christian community, we ought to be open to redemptive relationships. People bonded together by the Holy Spirit ought to realize what unites them is far strong than what divides them.
Practically speaking, though, even Christians have to be intentional about demonstrating sensitivity when speaking of race. I respond well when my white brothers and sisters take it upon themselves to learn about America's racial history. They also put me at ease when they listen to the experiences I've had as a minority and demonstrate empathy instead of dismissiveness. Humility goes a long way, too. Many brothers and sisters have simply said, "I don't know what I don't know. Will you help me understand?"
There's no single formula, but in Christ, we can learn to trust and be vulnerable with one another.
In Reply to vic proulx (comment #27374)
Thanks for reading and commenting. When I say, "There need not be any barriers between the saints of God," that means Christians shouldn't have any barriers to fellowship among other Christians based on race, culture, class, and the like. Speaking of non-Christians is a whole other matter.
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