It Sucks To Be A Racist (Sexist, Classist) In The Kingdom Of God

One of my favorite lines from Sunday’s sermon (while reading from Revelation 6.9) was this: “It sucks to be a racist in the Kingdom of God.”

I saw an endless sea of people – every variety and type, every race, every background, every class, a beautiful representation of God’s creative diversity—standing before the Lamb of God. —Revelation 6.9

Earlier in the week, as I was going through our church Bible reading plan, I noticed something special in Acts chapter 6…

Things weren’t all wonderful in the early days of the church. A complaint was rising to the surface over racism, classism, and perhaps even some sexism. The Hebrew-speaking widows were being well taken care of through the church’s food distribution program, but the Greek-speaking widows were ignored and left to fend for themselves.

That’s not the special part. That’s the world we live in. Status quo. The way things work (in all their disfunction).

The special part is how their complaint was heard. It wasn’t heard as trivial or stupid or reverse racism or an exaggeration or excuse to be lazy or some kind of personal attack.

It was heard. And the apostles responded. They corrected the problem. They ensured that EVERYONE would be provided for.

That is special!

When I read these verses in Acts chapter 6, it reminded me of something else I’ve read – a blog post by Christena Cleveland titled, “Privilege Says.” Here are some of my favorite lines from that post…

christena cleveland bw

Privilege says I’ll only listen to oppressed voices if they offer practical solutions to the problems that they describe.

Privilege says learn my language, my customs, and my worship style — so we can all enjoy unity.

Privilege says the world’s problems would be solved if everybody were just like me.

Privilege says I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

Privilege says why are the oppressed always talking about oppression? Why can’t we all just get along?

Privilege says I’ll only listen to oppressed voices if they describe their negative experiences in a super hopeful way and I leave feeling super hopeful.

Privilege says that reverse racism is real.

Privilege says people who disagree with me are angry.

Privilege says I would listen to oppressed people but they see everything from their unique cultural viewpoint. I, on the other hand, can see the big picture.

Privilege says your perspective is important, just not as important as mine.

Privilege says my culture naturally embodies more of the characteristics of Jesus.

Privilege says I’d definitely follow a poor/female/person of color leader. I just never have.

Privilege says this is the land of equal opportunity.

Privilege says I’m not privileged.

privilege fish-cartoon-580

Being privileged is not a crime. But how privilege hears and responds to the oppressed, the forgotten, the overlooked, and the underprivileged – this is where crimes often happen.

It is the privileged role of those with privilege to HEAR THE COMPLAINTS and CORRECT THE PROBLEMS – to do something special.

sexism what_do_women_want_472695

You might also enjoy these posts:

Where Streams Flow Uphill: This Upside Down Kingdom

Will We Go The World’s Way Or Another Way?

A Contrast Of Kingdoms

Whiteboard Session: What Is The Kingdom Of God?

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

5 Comments to It Sucks To Be A Racist (Sexist, Classist) In The Kingdom Of God

  1. You already know I’m having a hard time with this. By declaring that the privileged don’t think they are….well, that boxes me into a corner. That seems like a handy trap. That’s not a corner I recognize. Call me average, middle-aged, employed, single parent, nurse, believer………I know those labels. I know divorced, sister, daughter, leader, and ultimate frisbee mom. I don’t know priviledge. How would anyone decide if they suffered from this malady? Who gets to place (yikes…major typing problems. :( )

    that label? Those
    who have decided they arr underprivileged

    • Btw….am I helping make your point? I have a major reaction to this topic and I’m not giving up! I think this subject is so very subjective it has to be addressed differently. Can a person evolve from privilege to be……what? Are you forever stuck with a label and assumptions if you are not sufficiently underprivileged? It is a super ugly word that needs to be retired. ….except for a credit card commercial.

      • I typically resist labels too – so I think I understand your reaction (I’m usually the one reacting). Interesting question you ask… can a person evolve from privilege to – what? Are you forever stuck with the label and assumptions, etc.

        For whatever reason, I don’t react to the privilege label. I think it’s from spending my life with one foot on either side of the fence. I’m no country club boy and I don’t feel like I was fed with a silver spoon. But then I am also among the top 5% of the world’s wealthiest (and most privileged). Anyway, it makes sense to me.

        I really don’t mean it as a guilt trip or way of sticking people in a class system. My goal is to point out the responsibility that comes with privil,,,, whatever you want to call it (health, education, stability, blessing, favor, luck, wealth, opportunity, etc).

        I sat with a guy named George from Kenya on Sunday night – he kept telling me how incredible America is. It was actually good for me to hear – because I don’t usually think that way. But this guy knows what it’s like to not have all the options and possibilities and opportunities.

        At this point, I’m just rambling. Funny – I feel as passionately about the fact that I’m privileged and have a responsibility because of it as you do about not wanting the label. Maybe we need a mediator ;)

        • I see that I am blessed and responsible be a blessing to others. I know that God has given me a huge responsibility to love and lead my staff.
          I object the application of negative labels ….and I definitely feel very negative about “privilege.” Go ahead and embrace it, but I am your sister so I can put my fingers in my ears and tell you to stay on your own half of the back seat. Don’t cross the line….I’ll tell.

  2. You guys are so fun- I loved the dialogue! :) Both intelligent and smart people. Proud to be related to you both.

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