A word from Dr. Thompson
You can never predict what will be a watershed moment in a national discourse. The recent deadly clash in Charlottesville exposed raw nerves on many fronts, the obvious one being race. I will make the usual disclaimers that racism is evil, and hate groups of any kind have no place in our country which is governed by a delicate balance of law and ideas, and the Kingdom of God which is governed by our Lord Jesus Christ. That said I want to share a seemingly unrelated scenario, tie it together with Charlottesville, and close with a statement concerning our churches.
In the early 20th century many churches openly supported the eugenics movement. This is a well-documented fact you can research and one of which I as a Kingdom citizen am personally ashamed. The word transliterated from the Greek means "good race" or more literally "good genes." It was introduced at a time when society was starting to accept science as a shaper of social mores and directions. The term fell into disuse during the Nazi era when they openly attempted to create a super race of "Übermenschen." Part of it was crude genetic breeding; the other part was the diminution and destruction of "inferior" races. In Mein Kampf (yes, I've read it) Hitler openly declared which groups he considered "inferior"--pretty much anyone not of Aryan lineage, but he singled out Jews as the scapegoats of humanity deserving nothing less than annihilation. Our country struggled against the Nazis and their allies at a cost of money, blood, and lives to insure such arrogance and hatred of others did not dominate this world.
Why mention this? Fast forward to today: what was exposed at Charlottesville? Does the last paragraph sound chillingly familiar? I am all for excellence, merit, and talent being nurtured and sought. But at what price? This is one of many threads at the heart of our civil and political discourse today (what little is left), whether we should be inclusive of all regardless of their lot in life, or whether we should seek a survival of the fittest, the richest, the most powerful. How to maintain a constant improvement of our society with these forces properly mixed is a difficult question indeed. Many would caricature Democrats as the former and Republicans as the latter. In Charlottesville a simmering, "under the radar" movement erupted into the public's conscience as those who give raw expressions to those ideas of the previous paragraph.
Every culture, race, and nationality thinks their culture, race, or nation should be the norm for all others. If you look all through the Gospels, Jesus time and again points out to the Jews that they were chosen of God not because of their inherent specialness but because God wanted them to be a channel of His grace, that through them the Peace of God would come in the form of a Messiah, His Son Jesus Christ. Time and again Christ asked "Who is my neighbor?" and made Samaritans the protagonist of parables, and talked about discipling ALL nations. Paul follows that up often in his epistles showing that in Christ there is no distinction of race or socio-economic status but what matters is: are you/they in Christ or not (Gal. 3.28, Col. 3.11)? When you speak to your congregations and SS classes this Sunday, please address this present national abscessed sore. We as churches and His ambassadors cannot stay silent on the sidelines. Our nation is becoming more polarized by the hour. We need healing, we need love, we need forgiveness----we need Jesus. Let's find ways to constructively not just preach the gospel but show that gospel to others. Some can go demonstrate at some picket line of protest, but we can all go out of our way to speak a word of redemptive love to someone we know has suffered because of their skin color, their lack of education, their bad life decisions--the list is endless as are the opportunities. (Col. 1.28, 3x Paul says EVERY person) Biblical faith and favoritism are mutually exclusive. (James 2.1)