Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Multicultural Ministry

Multicultural Ministry is the name of a fairly new book written by David Anderson, pastor of Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland. In chapter 10, he uses a term I found interesting and helpful as I think about being committed to racial reconciliation and to the mestizo / multicultural nature of what the church could look like if we allowed the love of Christ to dominate our lives, versus allowing sin and our cultural norms to do so.

The phrase is 'gracism'. He defines racism as speaking, acting, or thinking negatively about someone based solely on his or her race, while grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God. When we extend kindness and forgiveness towards others even when it is unmerited, we in turn extend grace to one another. He goes on to merge the negative of racism, and the positive of grace to define 'gracism' as the positive extension of favor towards others based on race.

So, in my commitment to reconciliation (authentic Christ-following) I go out of my way to love those that are different from me (hard work) and to include / not exclude others because they are different from me.

I am particularly burdened that the Church, the hands and feet of Christ on the earth, be fully committed to this kind of gracism! With the changing of our national and world-wide demographics if we do not 'get with the program' of becoming more multicultural, I doubt we will have much of relevance to say to an increasingly diverse population.

Anyway. This little phrase challenged me to be creative in my thinking about racial reconciliation and multiculturalism.


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