I’ve put this off for some time because discussions of the racialized Church that I have been involved in have devolved along the lines of Emerson’s conclusion in Divided by Faith: Caucasians can never understand any other race because of the blinders of their “dominant” position in the world. I don’t believe that to be correct and, for now, we’ll leave it to another day. I’m going to start a new series discussing the ideas in David Anderson’s new book Gracism: The Art of Inclusion. Anderson is the Pastor of Bridgeway Community and the author of two other highly recommended volumes, Letters Across the Divide and Multicultural Ministry. In his latest work, David offers an encouraging way of bridging ethnic and racial divides within the Church that works around the analogy of the body that Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 12. Anderson expands on the idea that every member of the body needs every other member and that none are to be minimized or excluded. Especially applicable to the overall theme are verses 22 and 23:
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.
What separates David’s thinking about race is that he views racial problems as being equal opportunity. All people, regardless of skin color, can be racist because it is a sin, not just skin, problem and because of this endemic sin, everyone can also be a victim of this evil. He says “There must be an answer to dotism [racism & bigotry of all types] that doesn’t leave people feeling left out, judged and discriminated against. … There must be a theological response to racism in the culture and racial segregation in the church. Right? There is–its’s gracism.”