As I type this, a certain emotion is rising in me. That emotion is frustration, probably leaning more toward anger. The root cause of my frustration is ethnocentrism and racism. More specifically, their presence in the church. Before I go on to tell you exactly why I am so frustrated, I think it would be worthy to have clear definitions of each.
Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one’s own culture. Ethnocentrism often entails the belief that one’s own race or ethnic group is the most important and/or that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups. Within this ideology, individuals will judge other groups in relation to their own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and sub-divisions serve to define each ethnicity and unique cultural identity.
Racism, by its simplest definition, is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. People with racist beliefs might hate certain groups of people according to their racial groups.
Surprisingly, these are very similar in nature. The only difference listed is racism has hatred for other races.
Now that definitions have been provided, I will share with you why I am feeling the way I am. I feel this way due to several conversations I’ve had with people, who happen to be black and professing Christians, about the Presidential election and my stance against Barack Obama.
And because of my stance, on two separate occasions, my race and my “love” for my race has been called into question. Both instances were due to misunderstood comments I made about slavery, the history of the Republican Party and about how many ignorant votes are going to be cast for Obama by blacks simply because he’s black. By ignorant I mean people who are casting their votes for Obama without the slightest knowledge of his policies.
For the record, their comments toward me didn’t frustrate me. Highly sensitive issues like politics tend to draw out comments rooted in emotionalism rather than objectivity, so I can overlook that. However, what frustrates me is their attitude toward race concerning the election. Those attitudes are ethnocentric and racist. Need we be reminded of the horrendous fruits of these 2 sins? (i.e. Rwanda, slavery, Black Power, The Holocaust, etc.)
So it boils down to this : Is it right for professing Christians to be ethnocentric or racist?
The answer should seem obvious, but many believers are oblivious to either or both of these issues or are trying to justify these feelings.
Without going into unnecessary detail, the implications of ethnocentrism and racism does nothing to promote the true gospel. In fact, they are stumbling blocks to revealing the character of God and obeying the Great Commission.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…
God has created all tribes, tongues, people and nations and as His diverse “man” (human race) created His image (Gen. 1:26-27), by virtue, all of humanity deserves to be treated with dignity. But even more so as redeemed sinners from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Rev. 5:9) and part of a new race (Eph.2:14), we are to put away preferential or exclusionary attitudes in every aspect of our lives, even in the voting booth.
If you’re voting for or not voting for a particular candidate based on his skin color, you’re exhibiting traits of ethnocentrism or racism. Does any part of your life reflect ethnocentrism or racism? Does that point to the truth, beauty and love of Jesus Christ?
Grace & Peace,