Yesterday at the invitation of our friend Sarabeth, we went to her church to hear Taido Chino speak about race, the church and faith. This is a tough subject for churches. We often are blind to our own weakness in this area, segregating ourselves when we ought to be doing exactly the opposite. Taido spoke of his personal journey dealing this issue. He makes a strong case through scripture why it’s important to multicultural, not simply for the sake of it, but because it’s what Christ wanted. He seems to be on the same path many of my friends and I are on and trying to go farther.
I’m still processing all that he shared. I know my own church is not as far along this path as it should be. (I think Sarabeth and Taido would both say their church isn’t either.) However, I sense a real desire in both congregations to move down the path. Interestingly, my Sunday School class has begun studying What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. In the book, Yancey quotes pastor Gordon MacDonald:
The world can do almost anything as well or better than the church…You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.
Grace is what we are all counting on make a multicultural church work. Our human failings make it almost impossible. Grace is what we have in common. Grace makes it possible for every race, gender, class and ethnicity to sit together any day, but especially on Sunday mornings.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If I am to make his dream a reality, I must ask myself a particularly hard question: What are I doing today that could be changed to make everyone feel welcome in my church, in our home, in my life? These can be some very concrete things and also some less tangible, but very real.
All hard word needs a theme song. Luckily James Taylor provides one. You know, to whistle while you work.