I intentionally chose to do my Doctor of Ministry work at Gammon Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, a consortium of historically black theology schools, for the very reason that it would give me a greater experience and understanding of the story and connection of sharing ministry with African-American members and neighbors.
As the lone “white boy” in my class, I was repeatedly asked why I was attending ITC? Why was I taking classroom space or scholarship money away from a “brother or sister”, and why dare I think I had anything remotely constructive to contribute as a southern white male on the topic racism. Dr. Melva refused to chair my dissertation committee when she read my proposal suggested that a white man had anything to contribute toward addressing racism. In contrast to my critics at the school, my project was fruitful in showing that the more inclusive we are in Christ, the more inclusive we are to all our neighbors, including factors of race, gender, and socio-economic identity. So there!
If there is an argument that White Privilege is a perspective learned over generations of culture oppression, those persons oppressed should have also learned that counter-oppressive actions will never solve the gaps. Fairness and equality have never been the promise or goal of life. We are created to be in a relationship our with maker, savior, and sustainer.
If for a moment, we found a way to bridge gaps of racial inequality, we would not be guaranteed simultaneously to bridge gaps of poverty, talent, economy and religious tolerance. So are we to throw up our hands and add to Jesus’s observation that we will we always have persons who are poor? (Matt 26.11, Mark 14.7). Our solution is difficult but simple: Apart from God, humanity will always use other markers to oppress when Christ is not at our heart and goal?
With every protest of injustice we must ask: Are people upset because we have lost our way toward God or are we not getting our own way? No matter how good it might sound, supporting divisions not rooted in the heart of God are not just. As people of faith in Jesus Christ, we are called to step-up encouraging one another: our neighbors, our enemies and our world community to place God above all else. God will not leave us. God will not disappoint us. Where our society is separated and disappointed, are the places we have moved away from God.
Whenever we measure the value of a person by a physical, social or cultural markers we are more concerned about ourselves than God. God breathed breath into our lives, died and rose to live with us. All live matters to God. Seek God and all the rest will follow in place.