I was signing a copy of my book Blueprint (shameless plug by me). The person I was signing the book for has been a window into a world I will never be able to fully comprehend. He is an African American and I am a white Canadian. As hard as I try I will never be able to fully grasp what he and other people of visible minority groups, especially black American males, have gone through and continue to go through. At best I can be understanding while never, no matter how hard I might try, fully understanding. When I started to personalize the inscription…
…it hit me, the depth of his faith far exceeds mine.
There will always be people who are stronger in their faith and those who are weaker. This is no different than anything else in life that is changed by exposure; the longer you are around whatever it is the more you are changed. In this case it is different. I am not sure which one of us has more exposure to Christianity but I am sure his faith is stronger. His journey, unlike mine, is full of reminders that his exposure to Christianity as a person of color is one that screams, you don’t belong here but if you insist we will let you look on from a distance and yet he remains faithful in his walk with Christ.
I easily fit into a white religion, he chooses to embraces true faith.
Christianity as a belief system for centuries has for the most part been a European spread and defined religion. There is and has been a cultural slant to the gospel message that is presented which makes Christianity the religion of white people suggesting that those who follow Jesus do so by living the way Europeans have and continue to live. I am not trying to start an anti-European movement. Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater there are cultural components that come out of being a society formed around Christianity that are seen as white but would be the natural evolution of any group seeking to follow biblical standards. I am just pointing out that there are things that we see as Christian that are tied more to white culture than faith and yet he remains faithful in his walk with Christ.
Then there are the horrors committed by members of this religion.
White people owning black people is bad enough but Christians defending the owning of another human along with abuse and torture as being acceptable and biblical is abhorrent. Not only was this done under the umbrella of proper Christian behavior, but the very people who were the perpetrators of these acts introduced their victims to their religion through invite/force. When slavery ended in America, ownership was replaced by oppression through segregation, inequality and injustice. When segregation, inequality and injustice ended as written policy they remained/remain common practice. Through all this white Christians have invited African Americans to be a part of this religion they have created while at the same time telling them through actions and words that they had no place in white people society and yet he remains faithful in his walk with Christ.
I am not sure if the roles were reversed that I would remain faithful – His faith far exceeds mine
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 (NIV)