There are too many of our christian brothers and sisters who stay quiet or criticize those who stand against oppression of our people.
Its merely a response born from inherited shame. They did not committed the crimes of the past and have inherited the dangerous mindsets which lead to continued injustice for minorities in the UK and around the world.
These are the same people who will fight hard for the rights of unborn children, fight for the rights of refugees and spend countless years contributing to restore poverty stricken communities in African countries.
Their children are encouraged to become charity tourists, spending a gap year in impoverished places to ‘help’ black people without ever realising that they are needed at home.
That minorities in their churches are overlooked for leadership because their ‘culture’ doesn’t fit with ours.
The minorities in their churches warrant disapproving looks for the way they worship with exuberance and uninhibited noise and movement counter to white christian church culture.
When minorities are always expected to take responsibility for controlling themselves so they ‘fit in’ – don’t be too loud, don’t wear such bright colours, don’t dance too provocatively, don’t holla and whoop Amens, don’t speak in tongues too loudly and don’t clap in a way which highlights our incompetanece in keeping time.
Yet white church members rarely do anything to help minorities feel accepted or welcomed in their own churches.
When churches boast of their diverse congregations, yet are still led by a team of mostly white men and ocassionally women.
When white Christians still think that ‘black churches’ are just for black people and remain on the fringes of mainstream Christian communities because they are seen as other.
Churches filled with pictures of a white Jesus, white Mary, white Joseph at Christmas time.
And songs restricted to the same 3 or 4 chords found in modern worship songs, written by white people for white people are constantly prioritiesed over anything else.
We can’t play songs written by black artists because congregations won’t know the songs, they are too difficult to play, our white Christians won’t like it, its too fast and exuberant and not reverant enough for congrational worship. Or simply that kind of music is ‘inaaprpriate’ for this setting.
But its ok if a white artist reimagines a song by a black person and makes it paletable for us.
Why honour Sinach when we can have it watered down by Leland and see his career elevated because we identify with the colour of his skin and the sound of his voice.
What they are really saying is that our culture, our music our way of worship is not appropriate.
That unless we conform to the white, middle class way of church, we can never be accepted.
Of course this will be vehemently denied. “But look how many ethnicities attend our services, look at what charity work we do abroad, see how many black and brown people I know.”
Yes many will be offended by these observations and that’s ok.
It takes courage and bravery to look inside oneself, to assess ones own ideologies, to be truthful about the contructs of our churches, our worship and expectations.
Dear brothers and sister of minority , we have done this all our lives. Played chameleon; bended and blended and modified and restricted who we are to fit in and be accepted.
We may need to do this for a little while more. But God made our people strong, resilient, wise and honorable.
We continue to love our Christian brothers and sisters as they walk through this change with us.
As we support them in growth, challenge and love and expand our capacity to be gracious, merciful and forgiving… Just as our Lord Jesus Christ was for us.