Before I get to the heart of what’s on my mind, I’ll share about our 4th of July festivities. We had originally planned to go to a Redhawks game at Bricktown but when that didn’t pan out, we were left scratching our heads as to what we would do for the holiday. Much to our delight some friends that we hadn’t seen in awhile invited us over for burgers and to carpool to the fireworks in Yukon – which were amazing! Thanks, Jon and Joanie! Unfortunately, Jonah is still not a fan of the fireworks. He spent a good deal of the show asking to go home and then burying his head in my shoulder. Unbelievably, he actually slept through the finale. SLEPT! I couldn’t believe it. Anyway, if you’re in OKC next year for the 4th and looking for a good show, I highly recommend the Yukon one. It was fantastic. Loud and bright but accompanied by the OKC Philharmonic. Awesome.
So on to the other reason for my post – my church is taking part of the nationwide OnePrayer series. This Sunday we are partnering with another local church, Joy Christan Center, for a combined service. What’s unique and exciting about this is that Real Church is primarily white and Joy Christian Center, primarily black. The service theme – “Make us Colorblind.”
I have heard it said more than once that American is never more segregated than on Sunday morning. Racism and segregation was not something I grew up around. I was raised in Austin, Texas in the middle of an immensly multi-cultural neighborhood. I’d never known anything but playing with, going to school with, and living around kids and families from every kind of ethnicity imaginable. I figured that it was this was everywhere. Even into high school – I didn’t really grasp the concept of racism prejudice based on skin color or ethnicity.
As I’ve said before, my family moved to Ryan, Oklahoma after my freshman year of high school. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was in the whitest place I’d ever seen. I found all the whiteness really uncomfortable to tell you the truth. And unfortunately, I quickly learned that the immense whiteness of the community was largely paired with an overall attitude of racism and prejudice towards people that most of them had never even met.
I spent a lot of that first year debating, arguing, and being offended at the bias, the ignorance, and hatred that I came up against. This didn’t help my case as the “weird city kid from Texas.” My mom, who worked at the school too, found herself in the same position.
I just couldn’t understand it. Still can’t. How does the color of someone’s skin pit one person against another? I especially cannot understand this amongst Christians. (Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.)
In college I had to write a paper in my comp I class centered around a prejudice we held. I thought the idea was ingenious, but struggled with the topic. I, who had taken a stand so strongly in my little town, against hatred and race driven prejudice, struggled to uncover my bias. Finally, I decided that I was horribly prejudiced towards those who carried prejudice with them like a banner. Prejudiced against the prejudice.
I’ve come to realize that not all racist and prejudiced people are back hills, ignorant, hateful bigots. Nope, many are sweet, good natured people who try their best to love their neighbors, go to church, and give to charity. I think that racism is a deep-seated fear of what people don’t understand, rooted in insecurity and lies. I’m convinced it’s a very successful tool of Satan to divide and conquer. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I so look forward to heaven when all traces of that will be gone forever.
I’m really looking forward to this Sunday – two churches, two worship leaders, one message. One prayer.