Thursday, March 20, 2008

Torn Together

“Eleven o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour, and Sunday school is still the most segregated school of the week” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his speech yesterday, Barack Obama referred to these words. At the time that Dr. King uttered them it was true. Is it still?

....In his speech, Obama referred often to "the black community" and "the white community". Will that ever end? Will there ever be a time when we are an "American Community"? Will there ever be a time that to refer to "the black community" will be just as silly sounding as "the red headed community"?

....I don't think Obama used Dr. King's words in quite the same way that Dr. King meant them. In Dr. King's day, white churches were keeping blacks out while preaching racial reconciliation. Dr. King was challenging white churches to practice what they preach. Reading Obama's excerpt from his first book that he quoted in this speech, it seems that Obama chose his church partly because it was segregated, not in spite of it. That it was by African-Americans for African-Americans was important to him. I respect that. But that's the reason for the "segregation".

But race is difficult. Obama's race is irrelevant to me. And I wish it were irrelevant to everyone. But to the black person his or her own race isn't irrelevant. It's who they are. And so we as a society and as churches seem to be embracing racial differences at the same time that we repudiate them. It's weird. It's schizophrenic. It's complicated. And pardon the pun, it's not a black and white issue. There's a lot of gray.
[via The Thinklings, emphasis mine]

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