heard a lot of hopeful white people talk about how the postmodern
transition will open the door to a new multi-cultural and
multi-voiced approach to ministry. Our churches would integrate and
accept people from all backgrounds and cultures. Since postmodernism
attempts to breakdown single authoritarian voice, the churches in a
postmodern culture would reflect the diversity of the world we live
I attend these “postmodern” conferences, when I visit the
churches, I still see a church that looks like the modern one
before. It still looks like ME, hardly diverse. The church
discussion on postmodernism appears to be predominantly centered on
the Anglo-American perspective. I have yet to see much integration.
the reason is we have subtly limited the postmodern discussion to
the concerns of a white America. Our so-called religious experts all
respond to the needs of a white world. And so, our church
demographic still reflects this consumer mindset. We market to Anglo
needs. We get Anglos. Our leadership must be multi-ethnic, if we
hope to have a multi-ethnic representation of the Body of Christ at
worship. We must be intentional about integration or shut up. This
integration requires sacrifice.
you be willing to give up your trendy acoustic praise songs, if it
marginalized the listening preference of another ethnicity? Would
you change your “style” to accommodate the culture of another?
Would you take your entire church membership and merge with another
congregation (pre-dominantly of another ethnic group) in order to
honor the diversity and unity of our Triune God? Would you do it
even if it made you uncomfortable or if your attendance went down?
We are not willing to share with other churches, because it ruins
our personal ambitions. Yet, many churches cannot even get far
enough to fail---they have not even opened discussion with churches
different from them. Same theology. Same social status. Same race.
The American Church has decided who their neighbors really
months ago, I met with a pastor from a predominately black church.
Their congregation had a vision for a one day event, which would
unite the churches in our city. All races. All denominations. I told
the pastor my church would join in this vision. I stood before their
church to tell them how excited we were to be part of this event.
Their pastor issued similar invitations to all the other pastors in
day arrived and no one else came. I was there. The worship was
incredible, but no one else came. The speakers were amazing, but no
one else came. The Spirit of God dwelled with us, but no one else
do minorities speak of racial healing, and the whites do so
seemingly only out of guilt? This “white guilt” is a hot
sociology topic in universities today. Guilt does not motivate a
revolution. It makes us only sympathetic spectators. We feel bad,
but rarely do we believe we should be part of the process. Racism is
seen as an act of hatred, not indifference. How did I resolve my own
white guilt? My first year in college I joined the NAACP. As long as
the world is fallen, racial reconciliation is an ongoing process.
some churches have made incredible progress in the area of racial
reconciliation. I believe Promise Keepers was correct in stating it
as one of their seven core commitments. I am not writing to those
churches. I am writing to the churches that desire to minister to
this generation, but have taken no consideration on how to make
said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you
love one another.” It is easy to live and love in a community that
reflects our own goals, background, and experience. Even the pagans
do that. We must live in community and worship within a dimension
that reflects concern and love for people of all backgrounds and
experiences. This love will honor our Father and be the witness to
an unbelieving generation.
age 23 [http://monkhouse.org/david]
is a contributing editor for Next-Wave. He recently graduated
from Texas A&M University at Commerce with a degree in
English and Philosophy. David has enrolled to Fuller
Theological Seminary's distance learning program. David was
raised in the Methodist tradition. Although currently, he is a
community pastor at Axxess, an
emerging congregation within Pantego Bible Church. In his
"spare time," David is a high school English
teacher. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.