July 30, 2020
In Acho’s latest conversation he sat down with White pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church of New York City. The central question was why is the American church so divided? Lentz compared the Christian church to a dirty house. You intend to clean, but once you start looking you find dirt everywhere and become overwhelmed. While you may clean some areas, others are too hard, and you ignore them. When you have a guest, you clean the visible areas, but you always have that one room that becomes a repository for things you do not want to deal with. That is what we have been doing with racism for decades in the American church.
If this is true, what can we do? Lentz says you need to start where you are at. Start with family, friends, and your own place of worship. Be willing to point out racism and work to change it. The goal of every Christian is to be like Jesus. Jesus was always where the hurting people were. In the Beatitudes Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” not “blessed are the peacekeepers.” We are called to make peace, and that means we need to be willing to find trouble.
There are pastors who claim, “It is not about race, it is about grace. It is not about skin, it is about sin.” Acho equates this to DENIAL: Don’t Even Know I Am Lying. You cannot address a problem if you do not even know it exists. After an argument over whether White Privilege exists, Lentz said this to the other. If I am wrong about Privilege, I will have spent my life letting others get the first shot and looking out for their needs. If you are wrong, what have you lost? To coin a phrase, “What can it hurt?”
THOUGHTS: Acho closed with the analogy of the Good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite both passed the bleeding man on the other side of the road thinking, “What will happen to me if I stop?” The Samaritan instead stopped thinking, “What will happen to him if I do not?” Each of us can reach people who others cannot. King’s “most segregated hour in America” is a good place to start your own uncomfortable conversations. Change is coming and it starts with you.