Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Speak Truth

Post by: Mike Orr

My last name is Orr. As a kid, one of my nicknames was naturally “Oreo”. Since those are delicious I had no problem with this nickname. They are apparently “milk’s favorite cookie” (according to the package), and I refuse to argue with milk. One day that nickname came up in the presence of one of my black friends. I was surprised by his reaction.

“Why’d they call you that?”, he asked with clear concern. I found that to him it was a derogatory name. Some of his friends used it to make fun of black people who acted like white people (whatever that means). Oreo cookies are dark on the outside and white on the inside. It was an insult. A slam. A way of telling someone they don't really belong. My friend was confused because I'm definitely white on the outside.

The truth is that, in every way that matters, everyone is the same on the inside. I learned something that day about how different our experiences can be, and how groups of people have differing expectations. But the Bible is clear, “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 CEB). 

Scholars believe this may be the earliest written statement of universal human equality and unity. God is serious about this.

When we fail to explicitly teach the truth that God loves everybody, every physical attribute, every subtle hue of skin, and every point of origin, we leave open the door for sinister false beliefs to creep in. And they do. The smallest cracks in our armor of love can allow hate to slip in. Any breach in our commitment to absolute equality allows the weeds of supremacy to flourish.

We can't simply trust that our young people won't be enticed by such thinking. Feeling special is important to all of us. Feeling special for the wrong reasons can be deadly. Is there any crack in your love-armor? Is there any breach in your commitment to equality? Do you explicitly state your love for all people, no matter how different from you they may appear? If not, you can trust that those who look up to you have noticed.

White supremacy is evil. Those who practice it are deceived and dangerous, and loved deeply by the God who created us all in our boundless and beautiful diversity. I don't know how to change the mind of a white supremacist, but I have some ideas about how to prevent people from moving in that direction. It starts with me, it starts with you. Ask God to help you love others the way God loves all people. Then be fearless in expressing the truth.

“In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.” - Galatians 3:28-29 (MSG)

This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other. - John 13:35 (CEB)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mike is the Director of Student Ministries at BUMC. He’s done ministry with students in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, and now Colorado. Mike recently finished his MDiv degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, and his passion is to lead kids of all ages toward adoption into the family of God. If he’s not hanging out with Middle School or High School students, you’ll probably find him on a bicycle or on skis. He makes killer chocolate chip cookies. Reach him at mike.orr@broomfieldumc.org

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