December 1, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Racism

Somewhere along my life journey, I came across the article below.

It was written about the famous African American Pastor/Evangelist of yesteryear, Dr. E.V. Hill.

If I knew who wrote it, I would give credit. Unfortunately, I do not.

“Pastor E.V. Hill used to tell of a time he received a death threat from the Black Panthers because they didn’t like his preaching about that ‘white Jesus.’

This was his reply: ‘I don’t know anything about a white Christ – I know about Christ, a Savior named Jesus. I don’t know what color He is. He was born in brown Asia, He fled to black Africa, and He was in heaven before the gospel got to white Europe. So, I don’t know what color He is. I do know one thing: If you bow at the altar with color on your mind, and get up with color on your mind, go back again – and keep going back until you no longer look at His color, but at His greatness and His power – His power to save!’”

Amen! What a beautiful thing for him to say!

I was born in 1955. I grew up in the racially segregated “Deep South” of America.

I can remember white and colored water fountains, waiting rooms, restaurants, churches, and schools. In fact, I was in the ninth grade when integration occurred at my school. I saw the ugly side of America displayed. And it is not something of which I am proud. Racism is wrong, period!

Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, I felt that great strides were being made in America to blunt and reverse the effects of racism, and level the playing field, so to speak.

Unfortunately, as the events of the past few months have revealed, it is evident that I was wrong. The monster of racism has not been destroyed. And as a volcano, the pent-up emotions caused by racism and the feelings of inequality in America, have erupted. And it has not been a pretty sight!

But to be totally honest, I am bewildered to the level which this crisis has degraded. (Rioting, looting, and chaos.)

As I sat bewildered, pondering the situation in America today, I asked the Lord what I should do. I believe the Lord dropped this into my heart. He made me realize that this problem did not start yesterday, will not end tomorrow, and that the government cannot introduce some grandiose plan that will fix it.

The answer lies within each of us as individual Christians and Americans. This answer will come only when we, all races, all creeds, and all beliefs, began to “on purpose” have a civil, one-on-one dialogue with each other.

In it, we must seek to “understand” each other (Not necessarily agree with) “before being understood.”

Then we will be able to develop and implement steps to correct the problem. And believe it or not, racism and segregation are not just black problems. They are also white problems, brown problems, Hispanic problems, etc.

And you can take this to the bank, more than anything, they are a sin problem! (Reread that last statement!)

In Luke 4: 23, Jesus said, “… Physician, heal thyself …”  Meaning, “Practice what you preach!”

So, with that in mind, I contacted my good friend, Pastor Michael Stiggers, who happens to be African American.

Together, we sat down in the Troup Baptist Association Video Recording Studio and began recording a series on racism.

In it, we ask and attempt to answer the hard questions regarding racism.

So, as I close this column today, please allow me to encourage you to do two things:  1) Go back and reread the second paragraph of this column.  2) Go to: www.troupbaptist.org/videos, click on the tab: “An Open, Honest Conversation Regarding Racism,” and watch the videos. They are only about 30-minutes long.

I believe you will find them enlightening. Feel free to download the videos and use them in your small group settings to initiate a dialogue on racism.

Remember, the answer comes only when we begin to have the difficult one-on-one conversations with each other!  Bookmark the page; we are not finished!

Brother Aaron

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