Further Responses and Thoughts to the previous blogpost. That post was, in itself, a response to Sean Palmer’s great post HERE. (Be sure to read the comments there as well). There were some great expressions in the comments and this is continuation of some thoughts from there. Thanks to all who commented, even if I don’t mention you here.
If people are using “worship styles” as an excuse not to engage people then I join you in rejecting that notion. I also join you in the idea that we have come to worship worship. I love the idea of using more than one style in our worship time together. I’m not sure I join you in thinking the homogenous congregation is inherently wrong. The church has been brought together by the blood of Christ. This does not mean (to me) that every congregation has to express racial diversity. I rejoice when it does. And there is certainly something wrong when someone is rejected on the basis of race. However, I think that might be a difficult requirement to place on all congregations. That does not mean that we should stop outreaching to all.
You bring up a great question when you speak of your white and very conservative friend. In my experience the African American congregations are very much more conservative than I (and the congregration with which I worship). By ‘conservative’ I mean the teaching that the Church of Christ is the one-and-only-nobody-else-going-to-heaven institution on earth seems to be prevalent among the black congregations. Is that your experience? I think this stands in the way of further relationships, but is not insurmountable. It’s always easier for me to reach out to the right than it is to reach out to the left. But I love the story about your friend and his outreach to all people.
We have been blessed this year to be joined by some wonderful African American brothers and sisters in our church family. This has been a cause for rejoicing for our church.
I hope you will have opportunity to visit with us in Monroe. Bring a sermon.
I am surprised that you have never worshiped at an African American congregation… I wonder if that is the common experience (or lack thereof)? Perhaps there is some resistance to racial reconciliation because of the absence of worship experiences together? Just as a side note – I don’t think this is all about being at church together (and I’m sure Sean agrees with that). It’s about living life together in the colorblind Kingdom of God.
Escaping culture is not only difficult, it is a challenge we often fail. I like your term “pioneers”. Would you say the environment in Houston makes the racially diverse church a norm rather than an exception? Both/and. Thanks.
I haven’t stopped thinking about this exchange since it first happened. And I’m not going to stop thinking about it now. Thanks again, Sean, for raising this issue to the forefront in a kind and honest and loving way.
Thanks for reading,