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April 01, 2009

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ryan

The church is in my understanding not segregated rather it's is separated. Segregated by definition means "by force" which is not true for our church goers at least in America. Regardless of semantics your issue is real and sad.

I am of 2.5% mainline protestant, that aspire to lead a strong multi-ethnic church. My understanding of the grand narrative of scripture persuades me to the conviction that God's passion for salvation and sanctification for all people should be witnessed in the church (Acts 1:8).

As to why the catholics lead the diversity with the 12% as you mention is likely due to their location. Many Evangelical churches and mainline protestants have left the urban centers and moved to suburbs to do mega -rich white church.

I appreciate your thoughts and works, keep up the good work.

Carl Hetler

One reason is idolatry- we make God in our own image. We think God looks like, talks like, eats like us and we reinforce that through with whom we gather.

ryan

I agree in part Carl, I think that's called ethnocentrism and it's often unintentional. People need an example to follow. I think there is too much hyperbole going on in this discussion.

I think to get at the answer we need to focus on the effects of the fall in Gen 3. Issues/ Doctrines related to total depravity. Furthermore to what extent should the church reflect or can the church reflect the kingdom of heaven.

This answer also depends on one eschatological views. Is the kingdom here and now? Or is kingdom only something for the future?

ryan

The church is segregated or separated for 3 reasons: Here is my first reason.

#1 The Bible leaves room for contextualization: Paul advocated a more integrated church then James did according to Acts 21:15-26. There were churches of all sorts. Some were comprised of predominately Jewish, other predominately Gentile and still others were mixed. As in the mission field, so are our churches free to contextualize the gospel message to fit the host culture. Paul said, to the Jew I was Jew, not to the Jew I was a Gentile, rather he identified himself with each particular ethnic group. He continually adjusted and contextualized his ministry, so why cant the church today?


ryan

3 Reasons I can think of is

- The Bible gives room for the church to contextualization
-The Kingdom of heaven is not fully restored on earth until after Jesus 2nd Return
- The sin of man will always leave the church short of what God desires

Will Martin

Here you go - a few reasons:

1. People care more about their kingdoms than God's Kingdom: they actually care much more about their slice of horizontal "culture" that they can control (church - scary!!! or nation) than they care about the Kingdom of God which they definitely cannot control.

You know - like the people who say the Bible is without error (and I do) and who seemingly sing songs to Jesus but who get raging angry when a Latino is in "their" country illegally. (whatever happened to "do not mistreat the alien in the land . . .)?

2. People are not admitting to themselves and each other "God we are hardwired as your enemies - I need you to free me." People in these churches are racists of both the passive and active sort and they basically depersonalize and are scared of those "people over there" (perhaps in large part precisely because they never have known any of "them" personally).

3. People in these churches are not really doing a lot of great biblical thinking (inductive studies notwithstanding) and therefore they're not even asking "Why doesn't the church look like heaven?"

4. It's easier to sit in the LAY-Z-BOY than to get up to exercise. Change does hurt (for a while) and makes lots of demands so people avoid it and keep on living a lie instead of embracing the truth found from Genesis to Revelation (all nations, every tribe, nation, etc.) and embarking on a radical adventure of discovering life as God has intended for it to be lived.

5. A lot of these people may be unregenerate - a lot of these people may not really know God (Matt. 7) and they are unknowingly using their religion to fight against His real purposes of redemption.

White, from the South, left the country for an extended period and was freed from this nonsense (by God's grace and the goodness of His people from other parts of the world)

Committed to the battle. . . or the love-fest! whatever you want to call it.

Nate

I think it is because white people typically hang out with white people and black people typically hang out with black people. It doesn't necessarily mean either group is racist...people just invite the people they are usually around to church and the so called segregation you are seeing is the result. I think care needs to be taken when emphasizing bringing more minorities into a church because I attended a church for a while where the goal was to bring new people to church...but if they were black it was a bonus. I don't believe it breaks God's heart at all to see people in church. Whether the church is all white, Hispanic, Korean, or whatever, I think God is thrilled to have bodies in the church. Something else I was just thinking. If I focus all of my time on asking a certain race of people to church isn't that racist? I only have so much time in my day. If I spend so much of that time targeting a specific race, that means I am spending that same amount of time being a racist by ignoring the other races. How about we all stop being racist by even worrying about this issue and love everybody.

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