In addition to pastoring a church and writing, I teach Sociology at a community college in Nashville. Every semester I teach a unit on race and ethnicity. It is something I am extremely passionate about. Nashville is a multi-cultural city and the community college where I teach as a large international student body. One of my more recent classes had 30 students, and out of those 30 students were 13 different countries and ethnicities. It makes for interesting dialogue.
The text book I use in my class defines race as a “socially constructed concept.” In other words, there is only one race, the human race, all the differences and categories we place people in are based on society’s preconceived ideas of what is important and not important. In actuality, there are more biological differences within the different races then there are between the different races. Thus, the only reason race is an issue is because people have made it an issue. God only made one race, and He made us all in his image.
This reason I bring this up is because Randall House Publications has written a Bible Study titled, “Racism: The Bible and the Church.” They are offering this study as a free download, and it is excellent. (Click here, or on the title, for the free download.) In a press release, the CEO of Randall House, Ron Hunter, says, “…the Bible has a good deal to say about the sin of racism,” and I could not agree more.
The Bible Study is well organized and easy to follow. In it they define race as being one race, the human race, all present in Adam at Creation. The Bible Study also looks at where all the different languages and cultures came from and deals with some misunderstandings in Scripture that have lead others to believe that God was guilty of racism. A very strong part of the Bible Study is discussing what the Bible means by being “unequally yoked.” Near the end of the lesson are some great questions that should lead to some interesting conversations. At times, the conversations may be difficult, but they are necessary.
At the end of the Bible Study is a challenge for all of us to make our churches more representative of the communities in which we live.
I believe this Bible Study is the first step in our denomination healing and reconciling from the events of the last several days. And the first step is always the most important. I also believe this Bible Study to be good and relevant, regardless of your denominational affiliation.
Thank you Randall House Publications. Well done!
(Side Note: It has been an interesting several days. It is amazing how the decisions of one group of people affects us all. But in spite of it all, God is still Sovereign, and He knows what He is doing. I am thankful for the events of the past week. They have brought some issues to light that need to be discussed and I am encouraged by the steps that have been taken by the local association in Kentucky, our National Offices, our Executive Secretary, and Randall House Publications. At times progress is slow and messy, but it is progress none-the-less, and for that I am thankful. A special “thank-you” to all of you who have contacted me and encouraged me. I am forever grateful. A special “thank-you” as well, to those who contacted me and criticized me. I am grateful for you as well because “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” – Prov. 27:17.
One last thing I want you to know. I am deeply committed to keeping this conversation going for the betterment of us all.
Thanks for taking the time to read what I have to say.)