I came across some YouTube videos today entitled “Black Church vs. White Church.” These were rather cute as parodies, and they relied heavily of stereotypes. Fair enough they were intended as comedy. But it is sad that many still think in such terms as “Black” or “White” church.
I have written before that I come from a mixed religious tradition, with my Irish fore-bearers doing the unthinkable by entering into a Catholic/Protestant marriage. While very rare at the time, it nonetheless set the stage of my life. This idea of being a religious “outsider” didn’t really come home to me though. I was who I was, and my faith was my own. Later when I was in the forces, I on several occasions worshiped at Japanese churches. Yes, I was dependent of translations, and some practices were alien to my own tradition (such as worship in the round rather than facing forward towards an altar or pulpit). I felt “at home” all the same, as I was in the presence of God’s people.
This “at home-ness,” was also seen when I went to university. I had a work study job on campus and worked for a man whose “Sunday Job” was as the pulpit minister at a “Black” church. Because of our friendship, and not having a “church home,” I began worshiping with his congregation, and for a while mine was the only “White” family at the church. This gradually changed (but sadly was resisted by some of the older members). Again, I will say fair enough, I and my light skinned fellows were reaping what “our fathers” had sown. The church in question was in the Tennessee/Mississippi border area – enough said. But through it all, I saw brothers and sisters.
Okay, there are differences between worship styles, but these are not fundamental differences in the gospel. I have worshiped “High” church, and “Low” church. I have experienced and appreciated the liturgical and the “free moving” of the Spirit.
What I am saying is simple, we need to look beyond tradition, race, and any diversionary influence and come together as people of God. Galatians 3:27-29 reminds us, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Friends whether it is “Praise the Lord” (while jumping and clapping) or solemnly muttering “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” It is all Christ’s church and His body.
Just something to think about.