I’m really excited to end this blog series with what we are talking about today. It has been a privilege over the last month or so to learn so much more about the church family that we call the Church of the Nazarene, and I hope that through this blog you’ve learned a little bit as well.
The reason that this blog series and our General Assembly has excited me so much over the past month is because our church took huge steps to look more like HIS church. (Matt 16:18) Not only that, but the delegation at General Assembly took the opportunity to respond to issues that are relevant right now in this cultural moment to make the church more like the hands and feet of Jesus.
One of these was addressed in the first blog of this series regarding human sexuality. But another resolution was passed at this assembly that addressed a serious cultural issue not only in our country right now but around the world: discrimination and racism.
I know that this is a touchy subject… but here is the bottom line: In this cultural moment with mindsets from the Alt-Right and neo-racist movements making a name for themselves in the media and political environments, it is of utmost importance that the Global Church take a stand and to seek out racial reconciliation. This resolution takes a hard stance against racism and any form of racial discrimination. I know that I’m not able to adequately articulate what the resolution says, so I’m just going to quote directly what was added:
“Therefore, we renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings. We lament the legacy of every form of racism throughout the world, and we seek to confront that legacy through repentance, reconciliation, and biblical justice. We seek to repent of every behavior in which we have been overtly or covertly complicit with the sin of racism, both past and present; and in confession and lament we seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
Further, we acknowledge that there is no reconciliation apart from human struggle to stand against and to overcome all personal, institutional and structural prejudice responsible for racial and ethnic humiliation and oppression. We call upon Nazarenes everywhere to identify and seek to remove acts and structures of prejudice, to facilitate occasions for seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, and to take action toward empowering those who have been marginalized.”
In the world today, we as Christians MUST take a strong and decisive stance against racism. We are called by God to show the love of Christ in this world that is becoming increasingly divided, and that means that we must take a strong stance against discrimination.
One of the most important parts of this resolution is that it calls the Church to start working towards reconciliation, peace and justice. It doesn’t say that we are to wait for others to begin this process of reconciliation, it calls us to act immediately. Take a look of the very last sentence of the statement. It is a clear calling for us to not only recognize that this is a major issue in our cities, towns, and even churches, but it is a clear calling for us to do something about it.
The ultimate thing that this amendment addresses is passivity. And when I look deep in my heart and examine my own life, I realize that I am as guilty as anyone else. It has become too easy for me to say to myself “That’s an issue for someone else to take care of.” But God doesn’t call us to be passive, He calls us to work and to move and to be His hands and feet.
My prayer is that this amendment doesn’t stop at just words, but the Church of the Nazarene steps up and does something about this issue. Not only that, but I pray that Greenbrier Nazarene isn’t passive, but instead we are doing the work that God calls us to do, and to seek out peace and justice in the community of Greenbrier.
Hunter, Creative Arts Pastor