Why churches MUST take the lead in bridging cultural gaps

by Jun 6, 2008

Last week I commented on the state of interracial adoption in America. In a blog post at Touchstone Magazine, Russell Moore takes the issue even further:

I’m not surprised that a group of secular social workers believe racial identity is more important than familial love. The Scripture tells us we always, if left to ourselves, want to categorize ourselves “according to the flesh.” Whether it is the Athenians clinging to their myth of superior origins or Judaizers insisting on circumcision or Peter refusing to eat with pig-devouring Gentiles, we love to see ourselves first and foremost in fleshly categories — because it keeps us from seeing ourselves in Christ.

The gospel, though, drives us away from our identity in the flesh, and toward a new identity, indeed a new family, defined by the Spirit. This new family solidarity is much less visibly obvious; it’s not based on marks in the flesh or skin color or carefully kept genealogies. It’s based on a Spirit that blows invisibly where he wills, showing up in less visible characteristics such as peace, joy, love, righteousness, gentleness, kindness, self-control.

That’s why my heart is broken about the transracial adoption debate. It’s not just because some white kids could miss out on some godly black parents, or vice-versa. It’s because we’re, in part, to blame.

The family, after all, is constructed around another, deeper reality. It points to the church — that household of God in which Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers. I wonder what kind of witness we could have in this kind of racially polarized culture if our churches demonstrated the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?

What if our congregational households were not so divided: white Republican enclaves down the street from black Democratic ones, upper-crust suburban churches down the highway from blue-collar rural churches? What if we demonstrated with the makeup of our own churches that we believe in the unity of the Spirit, not the divisions of the flesh?