I first pastored in a racially violent area. I had my cheek broken, ear damaged and suffered abuse for being a minority, though not nearly as much as an Oriental brother. Sometimes I walked a tight rope through racial divisions in church, a demorilising experience and something I didn’t always succeed at, but no matter what I never agreed with racial separation.
Today it is normal to see various ethnic groups, interracial couples and mixed race people in churches. I know one congregation where the mixed race kids outnumber the black and the white children! Both gospel choirs and soft rock worship teams are interracial with blacks, whites, Asians, Orientals and a glowing variance of mixed race folk. Church life in 2015 is mixed race and multiracial. Just as it should be. Wonderful!
I’m very saddened to discover the black church manifesto. If a ‘black church’ versus ‘white church’ culture grips it will hurt interracial congregations and victimise anyone who isn’t a neat fit. When I preached in Cape Town decades ago there were white areas, black areas and ‘the coloured’ area, because the inevitable result of apartheid is that ‘the coloureds’ don’t fit. Forced to choose between being black or white where do mixed race people, interracial couples, Malaysians, Orientals, Asians, Latinos, Arabs… and all the others fit? The coloured church?
In the 1950s many black West Indians felt so ostracised they set up their own churches. There was a lot of hurt. Hurt is hurt and it is real, but hurting others is hardly the answer! A multi racial church is not easy, I know, but a ‘white church’ and ‘black church’ apartheid division will alienate mixed race children, interracial couples and ethnic people who don’t fit neatly into either. White and black church manifestos we do not need!