Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Bridging the Great Divides
Week 2: Bridging the Racial Divide
- When you hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I have a dream….” speech, what thoughts come to your mind? If you were to describe your dream for our country, what would it be?
- Last week Pastor Dale spoke about Bridging the Spiritual Dividefrom Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Notice that God went first to bridge the spiritual divide between himself and humanity – even while we were still sinners. In every divided situation, someone has to go first, or the divide will never be bridged. Why is it difficult to be the one who goes first in bridging a divide?
- In today’s message, Pastor Dale spoke about Bridging the Racial Divide. Racism is the tension between “us” and “someone different from us.” Racism is any system that keeps a person or group of people in a lower position. Why do humans have a tendency toward division between us and people who are different from us?
Pastor Dale has been reading the book, Divided by Faith, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith to learn more about this issue, and also looking at Latasha Morrison’s web page: beabridgebridgebuilder.com. These are helpful resources for anyone interested in stretching their thinking on this topic.
- Read Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
What does this verse say about the issue of racism for us as Christians?
- Pastor Dale described the difference between our “Impulsive Will” and our “Reflective Will”.
Impulsive Will = A response that comes out of our first impulse in a tense situation
Reflective Will = A response that comes out of more reflection and understanding that no one is perfect and I make mistakes too.
How does it change the outcome and effects of a situation when we take time to reflect, instead of just letting our first impulse drive our response?
- Pastor Dale also described the difference between “Conscious Bias” and “Unconscious Bias”. All Christians should lay down “Conscious Bias” out of obedience to Christ. Why are our “Unconscious Biases” even more dangerous in many ways than our “Conscious Biases”?
- Read Galatians 3:23-29: Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
What thoughts and questions come to your mind, when you read these verses?
- According to this passage, what is required for a person to become a “child of God”?
- All of us who are children of God are part of one family – the family of God. How do you feel about being part of a family that includes people of other races as equally loved children of God?
- The groups of people listed in this passage were people for whom religious Jews of that day would have trouble offering respect and friendship. Gentiles, slaves and women were not considered equally valuable to God in that culture – even among the “religious”.In Romans 2:11, Paul wrote, “For God does not show favoritism.” What does this verse say about God and about the topic of racism?
- Throughout history, groups of Christians have sometimes mistakenly believed that God preferred their particular race or nationality over other races or nationalities. Why do you think we tend to think that way? Have you ever felt that way?
- In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus was asking His followers to be willing to bring the Gospel to people who are different from them.
Have you ever shared about Christ with people who are from a different culture or race than you? If so, tell us about your experience. If not, what steps could you take today to move in that direction?