Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Five Questions about the Church and Race with Barb Roose


It's time to have honest discussions about church and race, but where do we start? Author, speaker and Bible teacher Barb Roose offers some thoughts on some of the questions she is most frequently asked.

She is available for interviews to talk about race from a Biblical perspective. Here she shares some talking points on these frequently asked questions. 

Many American Christians feel like talking about race in church is political, not biblical. What do you say to those who want their pastor to "stay in his or her lane" and just preach without addressing race?
  • I grew up in a traditional black baptist church, but I've attended a large 10,000+ predominately white mega church for 24 years and spent 14 years on staff at that church as well.
  • It's important to address God specifically creating colors and citing verses about God's specific intention.
  • Acts 2 offers an example of the early Church and how Christians came together and demonstrated how we should live in community and unity, even though we're different.
  • 1 Corinthians 12  talks about how we're all a part of the body and that each part is different.
  • Jesus' vision was that our unity would be our best testimony to a broken and unbelieving world.
  • Injustice isn't political. It's biblical. God cares about justice, both eternal and temporal.

What are some of the questions and conversations that Caucasians want to ask about race, but they are uncomfortable in doing so?
  • I was married for 26 years to a Caucasian man, so there were lots of years of conversations and questions about race. These conversations can be challenging, but they are so worth it!
  • Some are simple questions such as, "Do you prefer to be referred to as black or African-American?"
  • I also hear, "What are some of the stupid things that we shouldn't do or say?"
  • How do we begin friendships with people of different colors and cultures?
  • Didn't the Bible condemn black people in the Old Testament? 
  • Harder questions like include, "Why do African-Americans get upset about racism when they have high crime rates in their own community?"
  • Bottom line: Admitting our blind spots and being humble enough to acknowledge that our perspective maybe right, but without real conversation and lots of listening, that perspective is far from complete. 
  • Finding answers should include a willingness to develop a 360 perspective instead of relying on your 90 degree or 180 degree perspective. This means the willingness to actually talk to and get to know the answers from the people who are actually living in the midst of the situation that you're wondering about. 

We thought that being colorblind was a good thing, but now, we're being told that it's not. Why?
  • This is a well-meaning perspective that is wrongly attributed to 1 Samuel 16:7 which reads, "Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart." Yes, God prioritizes character and the condition of our soul, but that doesn't mean that He wasn't intentional about creating us to have many human colors and cultures.
  • The scriptures acknowledge color. God didn't create different colors and cultures for us to ignore them. 
  • We may want to think about our ability to connect over color as a test from God. A test reveals what we think and believe. If God's goal is for us to love and care about each other with His heart, loving people and wanting God's best for them is a life experience that we'll need to lean into.

Why are African Americans saying #blacklivesmatter? In God's eyes, we're all created equally, so why can't we stick with #alllivesmatter?
  • Yes, in God's eyes we are all created equally. However, in America, we haven't treated African-Americans equally. That's not on God, that's on our country.
  • There's a difference between the hashtag and the organization. It's like saying Kleenex. Not every tissue is called Kleenex brand, but it's the most familiar to us. #blacklivesmatter is one phrase that clarifies a crowd cry.

If someone wants to learn more about race, grace and the gospel, what are some practical next steps?
  • Willingness to see is the first step. If someone isn't willing to engage, then no one will be able to talk them into it.
  • Parents should have intentional conversations at their dinner table. Kids definitely talk about color and culture, so parents need to help kids process what they're learning from the world around them and make sure their kids are developing God's heart for all people. 
  • Neighborhood awarenes: When I visit a small group in certain neighborhoods, I have to be very aware of who sees me showing up, especially if I know that this neighborhood doesn't have many black visitors. Ahmaud Arbery was killed because that neighborhood clearly didn't have many black visitors. If that's your neighborhood, then you have to ask yourself why and is this healthy for everyone who is living in your neighborhood.
  • Pastors need to talk with African-American pastors in their community or in another city and ask about their congregations and ministry.
  • Churches should invite another church of a different color to serve the community together. Even with social distancing, church members can show up and clean up, paint, serve meals. Most importantly, people get to know each other while they serve.
  • Individuals should spend time listening and learning.
  • I have a page on my website, barbroose.com/graceproject, that has videos, blogs and recommended resources.

Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about helping women apply the truths of God’s Word to the practical realities and challenges they face in today’s culture, equipping them to win at life with strength and dignity. She enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and retreats across the country, as well as internationally. Barb is the author of four Bible studies (SurrenderedI’m Waiting, GodJoshuaBeautiful Already) and two books (Winning the Worry Battle, and Enough Already). She also writes a regular blog at BarbRoose.com and hosts the “Better Together” podcast. Previously Barb was executive director of Ministry at CedarCreek Church in Perrysburg, Ohio. Barb lives with her family in Toledo, Ohio.

For more information on Surrendered, visit Barb Roose’s online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), 
Twitter (barbroose), and 
Instagram (barbroose).

Learn How to Surrender Like Jesus.
Are you facing a problem in life that you just can't fix, no matter what you do? Perhaps you've heard the phrase "Let go and let God." But it's easier said than done. Is it possible that giving up on what you can't change is God's path to peace for your life? In this six-week Bible study of Jesus in the wilderness, Barb explores Jesus' time of testing and contrasts it with the Israelites' failures in the wilderness.
As you learn from Jesus' example, you'll discover six principles that will equip you to let God lead you to victory despite your circumstances as you deal with the problems and pain you are facing.

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