In The Beginning: Becoming the Other

In the beginning, God created the rich and complex variety we see in every facet of His handiwork.. All of it is meant to show His glory.  His word says: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God;And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1   He created us to love and be loved, to love Him and love each other.  The differences in skin color, cultures, ethnicity and language in humanity are amazing learning experiences that are mutually enriching.  But because of the Fall, these differences are made the basis of hate and segregation, teaching us to destroy rather than build up what God has created in perfect love.  This hatred and destruction comes from the enemy of humans: Satan. Praise God, Jesus was revealed to destroy the works of Satan. “The one who commits[a] sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.” 1 John 3:8.  The devil uses the weapon of racism to destroy God’s creation.

Racism has a long history in this country, dating back to its founding.  Europeans established the New World on the foundation of white supremacy.  They believed in “manifest destiny”, that this land was meant for the white man to possess.  In order to do it, the “other” was created. In her book The Origin of Others, Toni Morrison tackles this concept.  She writes that “Race has been a constant arbiter of difference, as have wealth, class, and gender–each of which is about power and control” (page 3).   She goes on to write that “one scientific purpose of racism is to identify an outsider in order to define one’s self” (page 6) Building one’s identity on the backs of those deemed inferior, is building on shaky ground, but it happened and is still happening today.  We no longer have the enslavement of Africans on American soil, but white supremacy is alive and thriving at the heart of modern day systems, such as the education system, the prison system, and the political system. New heirarchies of oppression have replaced slavery.

 Tony Evans writes in his book Oneness Embraced, that “disunity and separatism have been etched between cultures in our nation over generations.” He calls racism something that is  “… embedded in the social, psychological, and spiritual structures of our land”. Racism is sin and sin has separated us from God. The greatest separation is that space between human beings and their Creator.  No law or policy can bridge it, only the Cross. It is unfortunate that those who claim to believe in Jesus use the Word to justify their hatred and maintain the deep fissures we experience today.

But it is not God’s agenda. The Church must be all about oneness, to transform white supremacy and Black Power to the supremacy of Christ and His Kingdom.  It doesn’t mean we lose our distinctions and culture. It means we put Christ above our cultures. (page 83). God created variety. Every individual adds something to the mix of humanity.  No one is inferior. We are all equal in His sight.

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

I began in the womb of Africa, a majestic continent rich in natural resources. According to my DNA profile, I am 40% Cameroon, Congo, and Southern Bantu peoples.  I am 19% Benin and Togo, to a lesser extent Ivory Coast and Ghana, and even lesser extent Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. How did someone with this ancestry get to America?  When my ancestors were forced from their homes, put on a ship, and taken to the New World, Europe, and the Carribean Islands, including South America, they instantly became goods to buy and sell. How is it that human beings who could be bought and sold, taken to a land that professed freedom and equality? What was the justification for this tragedy?

In the New World, as Robin DiAngelo explains in her book, White Fragility, “the tension between the noble ideology of equality and the cruel reality of genocide, enslavement, and colonization had to be reconciled.” By creating, as Toni Morrison calls, the “other”, the founding fathers could claim that all others not white were morally, intellectually, spiritually, culturally, and physically deficient, which made them natural candidates for enslavement.  Historian Nell Irvin Painter, in her book The History of White People, gives a detailed recounting of European history and how “race” was created.  Many of the myths about race have lost credibility, but there is one that has not and is an unhealed wound in the souls of American Blacks:  white supremacy. The truth is, there is only One Who is supreme: God. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.  All He created was good, including the man and the woman who were made in His image and likeness.  But through one act of disobedience, Adam and Eve brought the Earth and all its inhabitants under a curse.  We cannot examine racism apart from this truth: We are all born with a sinful human nature that rebels against everything God is.  We are a mere shadow of His image now. Only through the death of Christ can we begin to live the life He intended for us all. 

Consider this:  The DNA for every human being God placed in Adam and Eve. Then we were truly one. 

“For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16,17