Racial reconciliation after the news cycle ends


For about a month the question of racial reconciliation was at the forefront of America’s consciousness. Facebook, twitter, news outlets, and blogs (including this one) — the barometers of societal interest— weighed in on what seemed to be events of seminal importance. But time presses forward, and short of some new racially related tragedy, we can safely assume that America has had its conversation and moved on.

Many African-Americans Christians who have long sought to see our fellow Christians address these issues were heartened to see some Evangelicals do so. Many Caucasian-American Christians acknowledged that discrimination in a variety of forms still exists and that it impacts the lives of African-Americans rich and poor. Evangelical acknowledgement of this painfully reality was far greater during this particular news cycle than it was as recently as Trayvon Martin. That is progress.

After the emotions of these tragedies wane, the underlying societal inequalities still exist. For us it is not a matter of refusing to click links or turning off the news. I get tired too. I stop reading when it becomes overwhelming, but I never stop living it.

Christian love and cruciform racial reconciliation exists beyond moments of national crisis. It is a long-term solidarity that reveals itself in the small acts of courage placed before us everyday. It is the work of a lifetime. What does this look like practically?

  • Pastors can begin to build the relationships across racial lines in their community that manifests the unity we have in the Messiah.
  • Lay leaders and congregations can make it a priority to create churches that reflect the diversity of the communities in which they live.
  • Parents can educate their children about God’s will to reconcile all people through the cross with such passion that their kids see the diversity of the church as a witness to the faithfulness of God.
  • We can be vocal in the thousands of discriminatory conversations that happen around us everyday. We can make our homes, schools, and businesses unsafe places for casual racism (or sexism).
  • In the pulpit, our homes, and classrooms we can laud the vitally important “secular” careers that allow our society to prosper. We need more police officers, teachers, firemen, leaders of business, and elected officials who understand racial reconciliation through the lens of the cross.

None of this is the work of social media. It requires sacrifices and an unfading conviction that this is part of the work that God has given to his church.

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action (1 John 3:18).

Published by Dr. Esau McCaulley

Esau McCaulley is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. His research and writing focuses on Pauline theology and the intersection of race, Christian identity, and the pursuit of social justice. He is also a priest in the Anglican Church in North America where he serves as Provincial Director for Leadership Development, which involves oversight of the recruitment and formation of clergy and lay leaders. He is one of the creators of Call and Response ministries, an organization committed to hosting conferences and creating resources for Black and Multi-Ethnic churches.

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