Tonight my Grace Community Church basketball team fell to 0-5, despite my 9 points and 5 fouls. But that is not the point of this post. Rather, the point is that I am grieved again by the segregation of the Church here in Greensboro (and beyond). Each night I watch church teams play against each other, and thus far, ours is the only non-homogeneous team (we have one black college student on ours). It's the white church teams and black church teams, and as I sat on the couch and thought about this, I was sorrowful. My city is separated along clear racial lines, and even the Church has not overcome them yet. Where is the witness to the power of God in this area, when the Greensboro Police Department Chief resigned this week because he was keeping tabs on the black police officers on our squad (an internal racial profiling unit)?
Some would say that the Church shouldn't bother with pointedly seeking reconciliation in terms of it leading to integrated congregations (if it happens, that is fine, but if it doesn't that is OK). Their rationale is that it's most important to reach the Lost and it's easier for whites to reach Lost whites and Hispanics to reach Lost Hispanics, and so on. So we should have churches in which people feel more comfortable and safe, so that they can meet the Lord better (and that means monoculturally, usually). Also, honestly, it's hard learn to worship in new ways and to let other cultures come forth to join whatever we are used to. The vision of reconciliation in this model, then, is that we try to be friends with Christians of other races by attending events or concerts or pastors forums together. Yet this model does not lend itself to relationships that get "real" (and thus messy), and so we don't have to work through issues and love each other in hard places, which is part of reconciliation. Reconciliation is not just "getting along."
I cannot square the "separate but reconciled" model with Scripture, which tells us that Christ has reconciled the races by the Cross (Ephesians 2:14-22). It says that Christ has destroyed the dividing wall of hostility. That Christ's purpose was to make one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile both of them to God (which seems to say that the horizontal work of the cross was as important as the vertical aspect). When Christians live and worship separated by race, we are living in "unreality". We are living as though His work was not effective and finished, and that our sin and fear is more powerful than His life in us.
We need to grieve this together and ask God to do a new work in us.