Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights movement that changed our nation. Now, we see men of all races, colors, and creeds endowed with the rights that belong to any free man. We see the realization of much of the dream of Dr. King.
Yet, I am concerned about the state of our county. While we have equality, we do not have multiculturalism. America is no longer a melting pot, but a salad, with your ideas and my ideas, which never have to blend. It is a mix of separate but “equal” facilities for each individual. Horrifyingly, the place it is worst, is in the Church.
Dr. King said 55 years ago, “the most segregated time in America is Sunday morning at 11:00 am.” As I look across our region, not much has changed. Sunday morning is a divided puzzle of cultural separatists. We are not the unified Body of Christ, but instead have become the splintered slivers of what might be called a church.
In a brief search, I saw the names of 60 churches in our county. Discouragingly, I can count on one hand the number of those churches that are truly multicultural. We splinter into our cells of division that grow to about 30-50, soon finding ourselves stagnated by our lack of differentiation. I’m not referring to just black and white segregation, but because of our racism, religion, and prejudice, we are all unable to come together to reach the community around us.
The church has become a social club where we spend time with people of similar cultures and traditions, instead of the community hub God designed it to be. In the book of Acts, the church at Antioch was in a city that was divided into 4 quadrants based on ethnicity. There were the Africans, Greeks, Syrians, and Jews. However, within that church and the church’s leadership, you can find all four groups cooperating as a cohesive unit. They became the connecting EKKLESIA (or governing body) for their city! America was founded as a place of religious freedom, a melting pot of social and spiritual diversity. Yet, in what should be a non-segregated nation the church segregates more than the one at Antioch, which is our pattern of a new testament church!
Why must equality disappear within the walls of the heart of this nation?
God never intended us to be separate. Jesus didn’t start a Black church, a White church, and a denominational church. He redeemed us all into One Body. In Ephesians 2:14-22 we read, Christ has broken down the enmity between our flesh and made of us ONE NEW MAN! In Jesus, God re-united the HUMAN race! He fully intends us to come together racially and denominationally as ONE multicultural body of believers. In no way, am I condemning your denomination or culture. I want to celebrate your culture. However, that celebration is impossible, if we continually isolate ourselves from one another.
We don’t have to despise our heritage and our culture to fulfill Christ’s goal, yet we cannot let our culture isolate us. It should be the foundational soil for growing who God designed us to be. As we grow out of the soil of our heritage and culture, let us grow into the glorious sunlight of brotherhood and cooperation. I need you all! And you need me! I need what God put on the inside of you. I need the revelation He brought with each denomination. We don’t have to agree on everything. We must lay aside our differences in style, and take on the culture of the Kingdom of God. A culture not based on the color of our skin or our denomination, but on the nature of the spirit that makes us one.
Dr. King had a God given dream. We the Church should have the same dream. It is a dream of a unified, yet culturally diverse, Body of Christ. It’s a dream of a church that is not squabbling over petty theological differences, but instead is a unified front advancing the Kingdom of God. When that dream comes true, and it will, we will hear our territory say “Free at last, Free at last, Thank GOD ALMIGHTY, We are Free at Last!”
~Apostle David Coker