It has been 50 years (give or take) since the civil rights movement and, yes, our society has made much progress. We no longer have Jim Crow laws and most African Americans in the south do not have to fear being lynched for the crime of going into a white neighborhood.
And yet, racism and prejudice persist. Many black Americans have to endure racial profiling, fear, and intimidation when they try to make it in a white man's world. And, what is worse, most of us white Christians don't really give a damn. In fact, I bet that some of my readers who read this last sentence are more shocked that I wrote the word damn than that entire groups of people in this country suffer the dehumanizing effects of racial prejudice every day.
I'm not talking about silly issues (like suing Cracker Barrel because of one instance of being overlooked), I'm talking about real issues that us whites do not really understand because we would rather not make the effort to understand. I'm talking about issues like racial profiling, discrimination in housing and the workplace, and the humiliating welfare system that our government has created. We would rather believe that we are the ones that are being discriminated against because of the "unjust" system of affirmitave action that many scholars say did, in fact, help to create a black middle class. Please! Regardless of the position that one takes on affirmitave action,(I am not taking a position one way or the other) can we whites honestly say that we have it that bad? I don't think so.
It is a shame that the most racially segregated day of the week is Sunday morning. Something has to be done about this. We can pray for unity and repent for the sins of our fathers until we are blue in the face, but not much of that will do us any good until we are willing to put action to our prayers. As one black American pastor said, "If you want to get to know me, come to my house." It's time we stop playing games and start intentionally pursuing friendships with those who are different than us. Why else would Jesus spend so much of His ministry eating and drinking with people? Because He knew that if the world is to change, it must be changed through friendships. Breaking down racial, gender, and class barriers. Isn't that what the Body of Christ is supposed to be all about?
Here is a ministry that has it right.
Let's build a better world, one friendship at a time.