becoming a multiracial church, part 5

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1 Response

  1. Anthony Barr-Jeffrey says:

    DJ,

    Hi. Scott Coil of the Vine just hipped me to your site. Thanks for dealing with this topic on your blog. It has brought a few things to mind. (Disclaimer: I’m a mid 30, African-american by ethnicity, multicultural by culture, stay at home Dad, who is married to a caucasian woman, grew up in black pentacostal church but has recently joined a Catholic church, and have been working and training in the field of intercultural relations for nearly a decade)

    1) If I may be so bold to ask, what the heck is the Emergent church? What is it emerging from and what is it emerging into?

    2) Of course the emergent church is mostly white. Churches are segregated, their Gen X and Y kids got disgruntled and are trying a few new things mixed with few old things. There is not enough common relationship between Black and White churches to even think there would necessarily be parallel processes.

    3) Black congregations are a pillar in a somewhat collectivist (at least on paper) group of people in a mostly individualist (at least on paper) country. Collectivism inherently has a protectionist mechanism that keeps the group in tact. Veering from the norm is not supported. Black congregations, like White congregations have their theology and their culture so wrapped up in each other that they Black youth question theology at the cost of cultural rejection and White youth question theology so freely that it’s almost par for the course (PROTESTantism has European roots). The middle ground is virtually unexplored. For crying out loud, black kids can’t do hip-hop in their churches without and as soon as a white kid picks up a guitar yesterday and he feels he’s ready to write an entirely new tome of worship songs and to join the “modern worship” movement– contemporary service and all. It’s cultural to a degree that has barely been scratched. Not saying it’s all wrong or right just mostly unexplored and a desperate point of prayer for all Christians. Without the Lord’s inspiration and insight, predominantly Black congregations will not change because they don’t realize that protectivism is a core value in their community and it’s in their theology. White congregations won’t change because people older folks haven’t experienced spirit-let cultural tranformation enough to connected with and nurture the young folks enough to build a foundational community place that would seem familiar on any level to culturally-identified Black christians.

    3) Having people who look different in a church doesn’t make it multicultural, just multi-ethnic. Just take a look at President Bush’s selections. He has people of every shade working for him and that’s because nearly all of them (save Colin Powell) tow the same socio-culturo-economic pary line he does. He apparently thinks he’s doing something strategically special but has in fact missed something important (and why wouldn’t he, what self-respecting conservative president would actually hire someone who wouldn’t tow his line). This isn’t a commentary on them or the President, it’s a commentary on where this country is at on these issues.

    Just some thoughts.