We try to attack these issues from a political standpoint, and politics are designed to be divisive. We need conversations that unite. You can’t jump into a conversation on race and the very next thing you jump into is affirmative action. The process of reconciliation includes righting the wrongs, but it also includes repentance and forgiveness. In those processes, you will deal with the injustices and the marginalization and the disparities, but that’s not where you start. You start from the standpoint of “Lord, we want to represent who you are. We want to be one like you and the Father are one.”
Oneness doesn’t mean me being one with everyone who looks like me, talks like me, acts like me, comes from the same community as me. We’re reconciled to Christ so that, in turn, we can be reconciled to each other. The ministry of reconciliation—that’s who He is! That’s what we do.
People try to approach it from a political standpoint, and when you do that you’re going to fail every time because people are going to put up walls and barriers. There were so many political things that were going on when Jesus walked this earth. The Pharisees tried to pull Him in on some of these political issues. They thought He was the king that was coming to set them free from the Roman Empire, but that’s not the path He took. He took a different stance, and the Church has to be able to lead in that neutral standpoint.
A lot of times people, especially as a white male, they feel like “I can’t address it,” but that’s when you lock arms with another church or another pastor maybe of a different race to help you. But if our lives are separate, and we don’t have Asian friends or Latino friends or black friends, we’re in this little box where there’s no understanding. . . . So that same sin that divides is going to perpetuate itself.
Latasha Morrison in an interview with Relevant Magazine. I don’t think I’d suggest that Jesus was taking a neutral standpoint–I’d agree he was taking “a different stance,” one different than those people wanted him to take, but it wasn’t neutral. It strikes me that his positions superseded the positions the Pharisees were trying to get him to take, as if every time the Pharisees or even Pilate paraphrased a position to him, his response implied, “You don’t get it. That’s not what I’m talking about at all.” “Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asks, and Jesus responds, in essence, “Well, I know your comment is not grasping all I intend to mean by that, but since you’ve said it that way, Sure, it works.”
I might sound like I’m nitpicking, but I don’t think I am in an irrelevant way, because in these conversations about race, we’re not saying one has to be neutral about politics so much as saying a Christian should understand that the ultimate importance of these issues far outstrips any political expression of them. Is affirmative action or another racial political issue important? Sure, but not nearly as important as the oneness of the body of Christ, as reconciliation in Christ.