I enjoyed a fantastic lunch today with Manuel Calderon, our Hispanic minister here at Legacy. We’re planning a bi-lingual worship assembly for next Sunday in an effort to better integrate our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters into our church family at-large. And it’s facsinating to me that the barriers between us—the Anglos and the Hispanics—have much more to do with culture than with language.
They all speak English!
Granted, some communicate in English better than others. But of the 35-40 members of our “Spanish-speaking” congregation, only one or two speak exclusively Spanish. It’s not the language that divides us as much as it is our different cultures, our different socio-economic situations, our different “classes,” our different colors, our different backgrounds. We are increasingly speaking the same language, yet our Hispanic brothers and sisters remain segregated from the Anglos in our Christian churches.
You know, “segregation” is an ugly, ugly word in the history of this country. We have argued and revolted and debated and fought and bled and died to eradicate segregation in our larger society. And we’re still fighting. Because it’s such an awful word. It’s such a horrible distortion of what it is we claim to stand for.
But ‘segregation” seems to be perfectly OK in our Christian settings. And I don’t think we can be perfectly OK with that.
We have black congregations and white congregations and nobody seems to care. We have white congregations with 30 Hispanics meeting by themselves in a back room and nobody seems to care. For some reason it’s approved as OK. It’s brushed aside as “the way things are” or simply ignored as “the way it’s always been.” It’s excused as “the way they want it.”
Is it the way Christ Jesus wants it?
The early church was scandalous in the ways it welcomed all classes, all cultures, all genders, all languages and dialects into its fellowship. We’ve managed to avoid that scandal by segregating ourselves. The early church had to work through many difficulties, had to learn how to sacrifice and serve and look out for the needs of others as they welcomed all comers. We’ve avoided that hardship and the lessons and the spiritual growth that come with it by keeping to ourselves.
As church leaders, we should never wet our fingers and stick them up in the air to see which way the wind’s blowing. We should attempt to change the wind!
I don’t know about you, but Colossians 3:11 means something to me.
“Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Galatians 3:28 sounds like truth to me.
“Their is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
We pray for Christian unity. We long for the day when all our differences are ultimately rendered meaningless. We anticipate that great banquet when all the nations and languages and tribes and peoples are gathered around our Lord’s table. We yearn for the realization of the perfect union we share in Christ Jesus.
I think if we’re praying for something, we ought to be working for it too. I think if we see something as God’s eternal will, we ought to be doing something about it.
We’re trying at Legacy. We’re trying. We’re not perfect. We’re not moving nearly quickly enough. It’s messy. It’s hard. But we’re trying.
What about sexual segregation? Is there anything wrong with a woman leading a prayer? Or reading a passage? Or teaching a class of men and women? What about serving Holy Communion?
Yes, yes. I know, I know. You’re right. One thing at a time, brother. One thing at a time. Remember? Leonard matriculates down the field, one yard at a time.
65 Toss Power Trap might go big…. Very nice sermon today
I think our gas bill is going to start going up. My wife had the pleasure of being at Legacy this past Sunday. I think she is going to start commuting. She came back home so fired up. You hit her with the truth over and over again, and she loved it. As do all Christians when they are confronted with the truth. She was so proud of the bold way you spoke from God’s word. She said she noticed a few uncomfortable faces around her, but obviously that’s a good thing. Just wanted to encourage you and let you know that you have a new fan.
Just don’t say anything negative about Marion Barber III in your Cowboys rants or she might chagne her mind 😉 Great job, keep speaking the truth!
I’m scratching my head a little, bit. What is “Rob’s Dad” right about? Is it a rhetorical question suggesting the “Pandora’s Box” theory of boundary expansion, or does it seek a literal response to whether or not women can take an active role in public worship?
Great post man! Two thoughts, I would think part of the reason Paul was writing there is no Jew or Greek, slave nor free, male nor female was because the church was segregating itself out in those ways. Isn’t he making the point that God sees us all as equal and we are all the same to Him, maybe that is what you were writing, and I misunderstood.
Second, I suppose when you are also worried about the threat of persecution and your growth in numbers is out of control you tend to overlook race, language, gender, etc. because you are so on fire for God and the ways that He is working. It seems that we have made things too easy and we overlook sometimes the powerful things that God is doing and miss the doors that He is opening up. We gotta think bigger than just a “country club”.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Call me Phil. Phil Pozderac. Or Flozell Adams. I’ve been drawn offsides. Nobody’s fault but mine.
I say “You’re right” to the idea that, yes, these kinds of things certainly need to be discussed. And, yes, when they are discussed, this very context would be a good place to start. We do need to seriously wrestle with the inspired Word of God and what it shows us as far as how to live in a community of faith with one another and with our Lord. Yes, we do need to understand very clearly why we allow women to do things in most CofC worship settings but not in others. Yes, we do need to prayerfully study why we draw hard and fast lines in some places and seemingly give no thought to whether there are any lines or not in other places.
Yes. The literal response to whether or not women can take active roles in public worship is “Yes!” A resounding “Yes!” I pray there’s not a man OR woman in any Christian assembly at Legacy who’s not there to actively participate in the singing, the praying, the studying, the reflecting, the encouraging, the growing, and the communing that takes place.
As for leadership roles and leadership positions for women….yes. You’re right. It needs further study. It needs further discussion. It needs wisdom and patience and understanding. It needs loving dialogue. It needs attention. It needs theological reflection. It needs to be wrestled. Yes. You’re right.
But now is not the time. And this forum is certainly not the place.
Legacy’s elders and ministers are fully committed to the Holy Word of our Father. And that means continually studying and constantly learning and changing and maturing and growing. We’re all committed to it. At every possible level.
But still…one thing at a time.
Grew up in a east texas congregation located downtown that back in the joybus days started s bus program that thrived. Problem was that some of the kid’s parents started coming. Suddenly, the kids caused too many problems and it was shut down. As someone once said, isn’t it time we put away childish things.
Pardon me while I choke down this plate of vegetables. I hate to put the brakes on a great (and overdue) dialogue about barriers coming down. As Ken B. implies, it is far too easy to find reasons for not coming together than to overcome the biases that inhere when we focus on superficial differences. I believe the backlash against multiculturalism and so-called Diversity Initiatives from conservatives can result in self-justified classism. Can we waive the blood-stained banner of Christ at the same time we wave our country’s flag? Yes, but we must make sure we know which takes precedence. All this being said, I believe it unwise to equate “sexual segregation” with racial or cultural segregation. Certain forms of gender segregation are surely unlawful and un-Christlike. But not all are. It was Paul who penned just about everything said on the matter, and he was able to recognize a distinction that crossed the span of time-that is to say it wasn’t rooted in the culture of the day.
How about wrestling ( resisting) the Devil and not wrestling with the Scripture? I believe that the roles exemplified in the Bible are just as Spirit breathed as the rest of the words. The legalist of the previous generation sought spiritual exactness. They were not wrong for that. Their mistake was the practice of teaching in some unloving ways. The rabid reaction to that legalism has been to push everything aside, question everything, putting feelings over facts without careful regard to what the Bible says. Some of our so-called sister congregations have exemplified provable non-scriptual behavior based on the feeling produced rather than the fact violated.
This was covered in the Bible and referred to as “grievous wolves … not sparing the flock”
How many things do you have to change in the Church of Christ before it isn’t the Church of Christ anymore?