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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bearing Good Fruit

In past articles, we've explored how white Christians bear 'strange fruit' in their approach to race and racism. We've come face-to-face with some of the profound racial failings of the American Church, both modern and historic. Now, let's learn some ways that white Christians can bear good fruit in their witness to a racialized world.

If Christ’s death means restitution for our brokenness, what does that mean for the Church's racial sins? How can white Christians live into redemption for a legacy of injustice and silence? What would it look like for white Christians to ‘go and sin no more’?

First, we can learn from scripture that tells us God is not colorblind, and that a diversity of cultures is essential to the Body of Christ. We can learn from the mistakes of the early church, and then begin to identify the effects of race in our own lives.

We can continue the journey by educating ourselves about the modern racialized world in which we live, and our participation in its perpetuation. We can read books that we might have previously ignored, consume media we thought wasn't for us, learn histories that we weren't taught in school. There is must to catch up on in order to be responsible contributors to the cause.

Empowered by a new richness of knowledge, we can also form meaningful relationships with people with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. We can model our friendships after those Jesus chose, surrounding ourselves with a variety of perspectives, and intentionally seeking out the marginalized. Racial justice cannot occur in the academic abstract.

We can submit to the leadership of people of color: at church, in our workplaces, in our extracurriculars, in the movement. When we do so, we set aside our own agenda and follow the lead of those who best understand the changes that need to take place. White folks will then learn we are not here to save the world, but are rather participants in a greater plan. When we set aside our own need to be at the center, we take the first small step in dismantling the status-quo.

Then, we will become better equipped to be strong, supportive co-laborers for our sisters and brothers experiencing oppression and marginalization. We can pass the mic, lift to the podium, so that other voices are heard and amplified. We can listen and learn from those who hunger and thirst after righteousness."

And when the time is right, we too can lift our voices to strengthen the call for justice.  We show up in solidarity when we are called upon so that the collective voices of Christ on earth ring loud against both individual incidents of racism and the ongoing system of racial disparity. When national racial tragedies occur, there should be no question as to where the collective church stands.

Thus, the world will begin to see what redemption in Christ means. They will see that white Christians recognize that life on earth isn't as God intended, and that we validate the pain and frustration of our sisters and brothers, rather than trying to silence it. They will see a picture of Christ's grace, and reconciliation lived out in our walk. The world will see that our Christian faith means we value justice and yearn for a restored world.

The world will see Jesus when we bear good fruit. 

What steps have you taken to bear good racial fruit? Find more suggestions here

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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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