Using Racial Privilege to Promote the Kingdom of God!
As most of you know, I have believe the three main topics of prayer for the restoration of the United States, are:
1. The plight of the North American Indian (Innocent bloodshed and broken covenants with host peoples)
Today, I got to thinking about using racial privilege to promote the kingdom of God.
Where we deliberately seek to promote equality among the races, wherever possible.
You know, the children’s song: ‘Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight”
How about: Re 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
God gave the different languages, peoples and nations. Somehow, as ministers of reconciliation, we need to bring the culture of heaven, to the cultures and countries of earth, while humbly learning from how God visits each people group in His love, leaving their language, and cultural distinctives intact…Jesus did not come to destroy or replace culture and countries, rather, to redeem them…Yet, the love and culture of heaven, supersedes every earthly culture.
We have a God given responsibility to love, to overcome evil with good, and to build the kingdom of God, and I believe that as God promotes and prospers us, we must use our position to glorify Jesus, and stop injustice….
Lu 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Traditionally, we think of white oppression, and other races mistreated, but this is not always the case:
In 1874 Rev. John McIntosh, son of Chilly, went as a Baptist missionary to the wild tribes of the SouthWest (of Oklahoma). He found them very bitter against the white man and determined to continue fighting, but they welcomed him cordially as another Indian, invited him to eat at their teepees, and even listened to their warning about the white man’s strength. He preached to a strange congregation gathered from a great spreading camp in the valley of the Washita. Painted warriors with scalps of white people hanging from their belts, blanketed women with crying babies fastened to their backs all sat on the short prairie grass crisped by the August sun and listened to their first sermon. From that time to this, the Creeks have never ceased their missionary work among the southwestern tribes – Angie Debo “The Road to Disappearance – The History of the Creek Indians”
I saw this video about using white privilege to promote equality, and I like it.
Taking this thought to the next level, let me tell you a story:
Several years ago, when I owned and operated a carpentry company, we had developed an informal policy in our company where we realized that sometimes, people could not afford our services. There were cases of single moms, or seniors, that urgently needed critical work done on their houses, that they honestly had no money to have done. For these special cases, we had placed a white board up on the office wall, and we would write the person’s name upon the board. If we had time and money, or perhaps some materials left over from another job, we would go ahead and schedule these projects into our week, with no charge to the person.
Well, word of this began to leak out, and I was often called by pastors who knew of critical needs in the community, that perhaps I might be able to help out with.
Sometimes I could help, other times we were simply either too busy with paid work, or we we stretched financially, that we simply had nothing to give.
Such is the nature of construction.
Well, I received a call from a previous client, about a story that seemed to be too horrible to be true, but unfortunately, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
When we experienced our ice storm some years ago here in Tulsa, Oklahoma,(2007) many large trees fell, causing much damage to whatever they fell upon.
In this case, a limb had taken the electric meter off of Mrs. Linda Salter’s home, where her and her husband were living in, in their retirement. Seems that a contractor had rewired the broken meter incorrectly installing it, and her house caught fire in the night, while her and her husband slept. They narrowly escaped the fire with their lives, but they were admitted to the hospital for lung damage from smoke inhalation. Mr. Salter died from this several weeks later, and Mrs. Salter, was paralyzed from the waist down.
When her household insurance paid her for the damage, she employed a contractor to rebuild her house (which had severe damage from the fire), but the contractor took her money, and ran off with it and got drunk, leaving her without a home.
So, I met her and her daughter up there, and I was overwhelmed with the amount of work needing done, and the heartbreak of the situation.
I called up pastor Dean Heath, of Tulsa Dream Center, and God began to work.
Because of our charitable purposes, we had organized a Christian contractors breakfast, that served as both a weekly Bible study, and a practical hiring hall for one of the cities prison reintegration programs, and it was an action packed breakfast each week, where sometimes as many as 50 contractors would attend, to hear God’s Word, and to put guys to work.
It was a good couple of years.
Well, one of the builders in the group, a man named Tim Walterbach, met up there with pastor Dean, and as God would have it, when we met up there, it was pouring rain. To be looking at a widow, in a wheelchair, under an umbrella, under scotched rafters, with rain pouring in, was a sight I will not soon forget.
Tim looked at me with fire in his eyes, and said: “This is insane! We have to do something! Are you in?” looking piercingly at Dean and I. We both said ‘YES!’, and it was Game ON!
That was early in the week, and our breakfast was Thursday, so we blew up cell phones, and asked every contractor we could to come out that week for a special meeting.
That Thursday, we had a full house over there at Talley’s road house, and for the first time, we actually had a black contractor, and a black reporter from the Eagle, Tulsa’s black newspaper.
I was asked to speak, and it was powerful.
I said to this bunch of rough, hard-working men:
“Well, I am grateful that we actually have a couple of black brothers with us today, and I got to thinking about what we are fixing to do here. I guess I might as well bring up the ‘R’ word, and talk about racism here in our town. Never really noticed that in mid-town, where most of us make our living, that all the wealthy clients seem to employ only white crews, and that we have been making a good living there, simply because we are white. Now, we have been coming over here for awhile, and I know the waitress well enough to think that we could probably get her to bring us a basin, and maybe we need to wash our brother’s feet, as a sign of humility and repentance. Now, that might be a good thing, and we all might tear up a bit, and leave her feeling like we had a good Christian fellowship at breakfast, but I got to thinking a little more about what we are thinking about doing. By now, most of you know the story about Mrs. Salter, how her house burned down, her husband was killed, and a crooked contractor ran off with her insurance money.
Now, if the same thing happened to any of our mothers, there would be no question about what we would do here, we would all pitch in and rebuild her house, and do what we had to do, to make it happen. But Linda is black. She also loves Jesus, and is a mother.
As I have visited with her, I met a young man in her neighborhood, and he made the statement: “White boy, you don’t know how it is here. I got three choices in life: Selling dope, grabbing a pistol and demanding your money, or, sarcastically, ‘Would you like fries with that?”.
Now, Mrs. Salter has two sons, who I happen to know are incarcerated.
Yet, I got to thinking about it, that even were they on the street, because of racism, they might only be making $8-10/hour, while we have been making $35-75/hour in midtown. Even if her sons wanted to rebuild her house, they could not afford it.
Now, we could have a foot washing, but I think if justice is going to be served, we need to rebuild her house, like we would for any of our mothers in this place.
Well, David Anderson, of American Marble and Granite jumped up, and threw over $1000 on the , table, and said” ‘I’m in, here’s a start, and I’ll supply and install all the granite.’
Within 5 mins, we had raised right at $100,000.00 in pledges, of money, materials or labor, to rebuild her house.
Well, then Victory Christian Center got involved! Pastor Dean had let pastor Paul Daugherty know what was going on, and as the work progressed, Ryan Stafford showed up many times with teams of Bible school students, pastor Paul recruited young adults from the 3-D program, and the press got wind of it.
Then Jesus got even more involved. Her house was rebuilt, beautiful crown moldings, granite, wood floors, landscaping, and wheelchair ramps both in the front door, and out the back.
Yet, some of those Bible school students, the IMT’s, gathered around Mrs. Salter one day, and laid hands upon her, and prayed for the Lord to heal her. HE DID! While everyone watched, she got out of her wheelchair, and is walking fine today!
Using racial privilege, to promote the kingdom of God!
Over the years I have seen this dynamic work the opposite way too. A black contractor, had me ride around with him for several weeks to his jobs among his primarily black clientel, and I quickly saw the huge cultural differences between my white upbringing and the black community here. Had I not been with my black brother, no one would have allowed me into their homes, or perhaps I was simply to blind to see the needs before…
The gospel is good news, and perhaps as a black brother or sister you can be the bridge builder, the minister of reconciliation, the ambassador of God’s love and grace to allow white or latino Christians to work in your community, bringing God’s Word, or compassionate aid (food, afterschool programs for children, aid to seniors, etc). Jesus commands us to GO into all the world and bring the good news, sometimes all we are required to do is be a ‘door-opener’ for the kingdom of God!
Like Nike says: Just Do it!
‘Father, I commit to stand against racism wherever I find it, and to use my position of racial privilege, to aggressively see Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, here, in the earth, in this generation, in Your name Lord Jesus, for Your glory, Amen!”
Today, as I surfed the internet looking for information to stand against the brutal ethnic rifts that currently exist in America, I found a version of ‘The Lords Prayer’ or ‘Our Father’ that was personalized as a prayer against racism. I have edited it, and ask that you would pray it with me:
A Prayer for Racial Reconciliation:
Our Father in heaven, in you all people of the earth find their true identity. You made us all equally in your image, as your children, and therefore as each other’s brother and sisters, as we receive our adoptive rights in Jesus!
Holy be your name and the honor you have bestowed on your united church, above our pride, allegiances, and all other identities and affiliations that tempt us to value ourselves above others and put you second. May our cultures be superseded by the culture of heaven and Your love and glory, may the revelation of the strength of Your covenant towards us through Jesus shed blood, become greater than any other earthly relationship we know.
Your kingdom come into your divided church and this broken world. Transform us into new creations who live in harmony, make righteous judgments, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts that long for your kingdom, and wills to truly seek it first, whatever the cost.
Your will be done on earth, as joyfully and wholeheartedly as it is in heaven. Oh God of the widow and orphan, the poor and distressed, bring forth your justice, for only you can perfectly judge, recompense and reunite this riven family of humanity.
Give us today our daily bread; where we hoard, make us generous; where we claim ownership, teach us to steward humbly; and when we worry, help us to trust you more boldly. Where we steal, help us to stop, and trust You for our provision. Where we have walked as inferiors, may we boldly embrace our callings a shatter man-made limitations or oppressions arrayed against us.
Forgive us our sins of unforgiveness, partiality, prejudice, and racism. Forgive us our bitterness, hatred, murder, cynicism, and judgementalism.
Forgive us the silence when we should speak out and the rash words when we should listen. Forgive us for our blindness regarding the needs and hurts of those you made our family, but whom we may oftentimes treat as enemies. Forgive us for the lies we’ve believed about others in your family. Forgive us for refusing to make right the wrongs and injustices we could address and for refusing to repent of our sin and seek peace. Forgive us for our lack of love. Forgive us for the times we have allowed our pain to lead us into sin and thinking that we are wrestling with flesh and blood instead of principalities and powers.
Help us forgive those who sin against us. Remind us how much you’ve forgiven us and how warmly and completely you welcome us in Jesus, no matter how deeply we’ve betrayed you. Help us to forgive. Help us to extend grace to those who have harmed and hurt us. Give us your supernatural forgiveness to forgive the unforgiveable. By faith in Your grace, we choose to forgive, no matter what it looks or feels like, trusting You to make wrongs right, for You are Holy and just! As we forgive, may we see You, Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, redeeming, restoring, healing, and replacing that which has been stolen, broken, forbidden.
Lead us not into temptations to stonewall, reject or let others suffer when we could stand with them or come to their aid. When we are tempted to avoid, help us to courageously engage. When we are tempted to lash out, help us to gently speak in love. When we are tempted to oppress, help us to humbly trust you for our provision, instead of the wealth our oppression generates.
Deliver us from evil — both from the evil that is within each of us and the forces of spiritual darkness that twist your good design for maximum hurt and harm. Deliver us from the personal evil of individuals and the collective evil of unjust systems and structures. Cause us to deliberately confront, dismantle and destroy evil infrastructures, and to build, in equality, impartial systems that empower rather than enslave people.
For yours is the kingdom in which all nations will one day be healed, all swords melted into plowshares and all tears wiped away for good. It is before you, that we will gather as a great multitude no one can count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before your throne and before the Lamb with palm branches in our hands.
Yours is the power that overcame death and the grave, and that overcomes sin in our hearts and the world.
Yours is the name Lord Jesus, by which we are heard and answered, the name above every name!
And yours is the glory for this coming and yet-to-come redemption and reunification, for ever and ever.
Some thoughts on How God Sees us: