Race, A Topic Worth Talking About
By Trillia Newbell
My editors are constantly encouraging me to develop a catchy introduction that captures readers’ attention to encourage further reading. When I was thinking about writing about why writing on race and ethnicity can be difficult I literally thought I’d just skip the introduction and get to the facts. Why? Because writing about race is so incredibly hard. Some even question the need.
“We are in 2013 and surely we are all past the race issue,” I’ve heard. My short answer is no, we aren’t past these issues. As evidence I’d like to invite you to jump over to Christ and Pop Culture where I write about a recent conversation that I believe clearly displays the need for continued conversations. People are still quite unaware of the struggles of various members of our society. This, I believe, has great implications on the great commission which is ultimately why we at the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) continue to feature articles about these issues.
Ultimately it’s about the gospel. We want to proclaim the gospel. But there are other reasons why I take up the task to write about a topic like race and ethnicity. Really there are only two that are of any importance to me.
- God cares: The Word addresses race and ethnicity extensively. Genesis 1 through 11 seems to focus rather intently on developing creation and establishing cultures. We see God rebuking racism in Numbers. Head over to the New Testament and God establishes that the gospel is for all nations and on the last day all nations will be present worshipping Him. I am only scratching the surface of God’s Word. He cares deeply about all nations and tribes and tongues. This is a great motivator to write (and I would say for those who aren’t writing, to read).
- It’s important to Jesus: There are probably several verses I could draw our attention to but I can’t help but think of the most overused but oh-so rich verse in the Bible. John 3:16 is rich because it sums up the gospel and includes the profound words, “God so loved the world.” Jesus died for anyone, specifically for “whoever” believes in Him and places their faith and trust in the finished work on His cross. Jesus gave his life for the nations, for whoever believes!
I write because I am convinced it is important to God. I write and address these topics because until Christ’s return strife among nations and people will continue. Maybe in some small way writing will help advance understanding. Perhaps a catchy introduction will help you to read but I believe it is the gospel that will cause our hearts to be knit together in a way only God can do. RAAN features and will continue to feature articles related to a wide range of subjects including theology, current events, Bible study, and Christian living; yet we will also be faithful to address this difficult and often confusing topic.
I’d like to invite you to join the conversation. Do you believe we’ve moved past issues on race and ethnicity? Why or why not? How can we all learn to gain better understanding of each other? How do you think the gospel applies to this conversation?
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Trillia Newbell is a freelance journalist and writer. She writes on faith and family for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, and serves as the managing editor for Women of God Magazine. Her love and primary role is that of a wife and mother. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Thern and their two children. Follow her on twitter at @TrilliaNewbell.
5 thoughts on “Race, A Topic Worth Talking About”
I’m always a little wary when discussing matters of race for a couple of reasons:
1. As you mentioned above, it is rarely discussed with the gospel as its focus.
2. It causes many to “lay their religion down” and to only view the matter through the lens of their ethnic background.
However, I really appreciated your open invitation and I’d like to offer my thoughts. I pray that they are useful in this discussion.
I totally agree that ethnicity is still an important subject for us to tackle as believers. It is one of the most visible manifestations of sin in our nation. The only solution is the gospel. It needs to be preached and practiced. It convicts. It heals. It chastises. It comforts. The issue of ethnicity needs all of these things. Most importantly it saves. By imparting the new nature in us, one that loves others and looks upon the needs of others more highly than our own, it saves us from our prejudices. We can embrace people of all ethnic backgrounds and begin to love them as Christ loves us. We gain a compassion for the lost of any ethnicity and a bond with our Christian brothers who look nothing like us. That new-found love causes our actions to be different from the world. When reviled, we blessed. We persecuted, we endure it. We stand with our brothers in sisters in Christ no matter what the cost.
God’s plan is to save a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. We are all one in Christ. This is an important issue to God and we should use the weapon He has given us to gain victory in this struggle.
I have a lot more to say and a few more examples to give to illustrate my point but I need to get to work. I may come back and add more later on.
Thanks for writing this article and soliciting responses!
Thank you so much for your thoughts Jimmy. I find this really interesting and I can see where you are coming from. I think I would be one to throw the Gospel at it. I think that’s because I believe there’s power in the Gospel. There’s power to free us from our sinfulness, sinful habits, etc. I think I’d probably throw the Gospel at everything. But like James says faith without works is dead so there must be effort. Thanks for joining the conversation. Helpful dialogue.
Correction to previous post: Brian loritts said, we try to handle race problems differently than other issues.
In response to kern: I believe that Brian Loritts said it best when he explained that to claim throwing the Gospel at an issue as the only answer is a half truth. He goes on to explain that we only treat issues of racism this way; when it comes to drug addiction, we say yes of course the person needs the Gospel, but we try to get him into Christian counseling. How about let’s apply that logic to our political atmosphere: on most of our social media, the same Christians who would treat race as an issue that just needs the a gospel thrown at it, was not responding that way when it comes to homosexual marriage and abortion. Do you think that we should tell all the anti abortion activist and people and politicians who are fighting against abortion: look, stop trying to solve this problem politically; just give them the Gospel. No, but as Loritts explained, try to handle racism differently then we handle other issues. Lastly, i think another point he made was very provocative; he stated that born again believers had slaves; born again believers fought for segregation. So the idea of throwing the Gospel at something, without applying the implications of the a gospel to a problem is vain.
No, and we never will because of our sinful hearts. Only Jesus can replace prejiduce heart with a love your enemies kind of heart. Man can try all day along but all they are doing is serving their moral deity. The gospel is the only answer.