By Jared Kirk
In the church office I was assigned a blog post on race and the church. So I enthusiastically put the post on my priority list. After all there is a serious problem when the Bible says the gospel has the power to tear down the dividing wall of hostility between warring ethnicities. BUT Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America. A problem soon became evident.
It just sat there.
For weeks it sat there. Then for a month. Then for several months. My co-workers began to look at me askance. Why wouldn't I write the post? Was I scared of talking about race? Maybe I didn't know what to say? Maybe I didn't want to offend anyone?
It is true that I was delaying, but not for the reasons anyone might guess. The truth is that I couldn't write the article because I couldn't write one article.
One blog article on addressing our racialized churches seemed ridiculous to me. It almost seemed to make the problem worse in my mind as if this elephant in the room could be eaten in one bite. I refused to send people away with easy answers: make a friend who is not your race, don't be mean to other ethnicities, everyone needs Jesus. All these statements are true and mostly unhelpful.
I feel as though what I have to say might take a while and it won't be particularly conducive to the blog format. When I told this to the team they encouraged me to just do it anyway. "We don't care if it digs deep and it takes a while. People will stick with you," they told me. So I'm writing and I'm starting at the beginning.
I believe the church deserves more, better, and sustained thought and dialogue so I'm going to write. I am inviting you to stick with me through these posts. When they trickle out over time, I want you to find time to read, process, and digest these long-form posts.
Thanks for being that kind of church.
Jared Kirk is the lead pastor at Renewal Church.