Thursday, April 23, 2015

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus OR do we have TOKES?

Back in the early days of the Civil Rights movement we had a word.  TOKEN or as it became.. Toke.

A Toke was a person of a different race included in an advertisement, a play, a movie, a presentation, anything... to show how inclusive we all are.  It was a sham.. but it made people feel better.  Yet those of us on the front lines knew better.  TOKES.

Of course when we would talk of this in private, my black friends would say to me, "At least the brother has a job, toke or not". We would laugh.. but we all believed that those days would end in our lifetime. Those were during the Halcyon years before MLK was murdered.  We were optimists. Now most of us are old.  Some of us are gone. Many of us are just watching the passing parade.  It never came to pass.

TV still has tokes, black, white and Asian.  Not often is there portrayal of how it really is.

The place where tokenism is most expressed today is in the church.  We have BLACK churches, we have WHITE churches. We have Hispanic churches.  We have Korean churches.  If there is a language problem, I get that.  I wouldn't preach well in a Spanish or Korean church.

Yet, I not the multitude of conferences, special services, special events put on by various organizations.   They are either mostly all white, or all black.  Last I looked we pretty much spoke the same language.  Why is that?  Why are there no BLACK preachers in White Churches.  Why are there no White preachers in Black Churches.  OH sure, I can point to a few of each.. but it's few and far between.  We are self segregating worse than ever.

It's not that we aren't welcome in each other's venue.. we just don't.  Crusaders where I frequent, is still 95% black.  Very seldom does a white man grace the platform.

Lord of Life where I attend many Sundays is 99% white and if we have a Black speaker he is a nice man who hasn't been inside a black congregation for 30 years. Black in skin only.

IF we are ever going to bridge the cultural divide we need to run towards the division that keeps us from fulfilling what Paul talked about. We might not be Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female, But even if we are one in Christ Jesus we are divided clearly along color lines.  The most segregated you can imagine.

Every black pastor I know would love to invite more white people to be part of the celebration. Every white pastor I know would love to have more black people to come in.  But we don't.  And because we self segregate we don't.

It's NOT completely cultural. Some black pastors yell and talk so fast so that most white people have no idea what is being said, and white people drone on and on so that for many the main benefit of the sermon is a nap.

Then there's the music.  Black congregations are enthusiastic, participate, sing out, pray.. (frankly I love this a lot).  White congregations give their music leader about 13 minutes to bring down the anointing or you're fired.  

Sure there are exemptions.  I know many.. but we MUST bridge this gap or we have to tear that Galatian passage out of our Bibles.

We must run to stop this.  Let's do so by inviting those who are different to minister. IF you point to a handful of white ministers who preach in your conferences but sound exactly like most black ministers, that's token, fake diversity.  When the Tokes in the old days showed up as Black in a white surrounding, they acted fully white. Exactly like happens in the church (one way or the other).

IF a white congregation brings in a black minister to speak who sounds like any white boy.. we don't have diversity we have a TOKEN.

I don't know if this is prophetic or not, but it was on my heart since early this morning.. and I offer it to you.

So who will run to the battle?

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