Grace and Race

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.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Grace and Race

  1. I really like Phillip Yancey … and Gordon McDonald is one of my favorites, too. Definitely, I will check out this book about Grace. I agree that the world can’t offer “grace” … however, neither can the Church … only God can offer the amazing, healing “grace” that we are all searching for in our lives … He offers it freely to all who seek it … and they don’t have to find it at church …

    MaryJane

    http://www.lifelessons-mj.blogspot.com

  2. I appreciate your point that only God can offer grace. I took MacDonald’s use of the word “church” to mean “people of God.” While we are not the ones offering the grace, we can show it.

  3. readingrisa

    Kerri…I happened on your page in a search to see if anyone else mentioned James Taylor’s fabulous song today! It looks like we may be on similar paths in our desire to personally better understand race (and grace!). Thanks for your post. I’m looking forward to reading more of your entries!

    http://readingrisa.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/bound-together/

  4. Kerri,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter. Honestly, I find the constraints of a thirty(ish) minute sermon frustrating when it comes to an issue of this magnitude. Simply impossible to say all that could and should be said. At any rate, I’m glad you were there to gain a sense of what we are about.
    As for the means of grace, I would wholeheartedly affirm that God is free to shower it anyone at anytime, and does so daily in our lives without our even being aware of it – church or no church. And I do think God’s primary vehicle for manifesting grace in the world is (or is at least meant to be) the church. And by church, I mean church universal. Not necessarily church institutional. Ok, enough hard thinking for a rainy MLK day.

  5. Thank you for sharing the JT video-we do need a song to sing as we find our own path to grace.

  6. berit

    so glad you came across the river on sunday…