Making Churches Multi Racial and Cross Cultural Will Not Work.

Reportedly, there are some multi racial/cultural Christian churches in the U. S. and the number is growing.  Yet, to predict this will be a vast new experience that sweeps the country seems unlikely.

It will not work for this reason:  It assumes the faith is based on ”The Word” and all that is required is for different kinds of people to worship together.

The truth is the faith is not based on The Word, but the culture interpreting it.  Thus, what the truth of the faith is to any particular individual depends on the person’s culture.

For example, a white Southern Baptist might see today’s religious issues as abortion and gay marriage.  A black Baptist would see the great religious issue of our time as social justice.

I’ve read the Republican Party is running into the same problem trying to crack into the hipanic and black voting blocks.  Republican leaders see their party as owning the “family values” political franchise which means anti gay marriage and abortion.

What they are running into is the black/hispanic view “family values” mean equal opportunity for their families.

That religious values come from a culture, not from some sovereign source, can be seen in the may images in art of Jesus.  Jesus’ race is the same as the people who display it, black, white and brown.

The message of Jesus changes in the same way from one cultural heritage to another.  They won’t worship together until they share a common culture.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/churches-in-america-fall-short-when-it-comes-to-multicultural-congregations-94834/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/fla-church-plant-joins-fight-to-end-most-segregated-hour-in-christian-america-94175/

 

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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19 Responses to Making Churches Multi Racial and Cross Cultural Will Not Work.

  1. Wolfy32 says:

    You’re right Jon and this is my major complaint of religion of today… Mostly organized religion of today. and it’s the same issues that Jesus had with the pharaohs and pharisees. IT’s too organized, too political, too let’s just get our numbers up and make more money.

    Jesus didn’t have a need or a desire for churches… He wanted people to believe in a God that is tangible. I don’t know whether Jesus lived as a prophet, that had special abilities, whether his divinity is divine, or whether, about his claims to fame are real. However, what the bible and much of christianity is about is lost in today’s church’s. They would rather argue about what is political and unsolvable than focus on a belief in God. I can’t imagine if it spent its time doing what Jesus claimed he did what church’s could accomplish today with their vast resources.

    Instead of million dollar buildings and entertainment centers, go out on the streets build housing for the homeless, buy quality food (none of this expired generic junk) for the poor and starving and take care of the sick and mentally ill…

    Hit the bars and listen, truly listen to people’s problems, Take the millions of dollars it takes to run these churchs and go out in the community and actually make a difference… The greatest sin that we have on earth… Is not the political issues Church’s create. The greatest sin is simply sitting in a Pew on Saturday night or sunday morning.

    I think God is ashamed of churches of today. Given the free will mandate, he allows it all to go on as though this is all good.. When really, it’s church’s trying to feel like they are making a difference in the world.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Wolfy; Your; “When really, it’s church’s trying to feel like they are making a difference in the world”. Not only many churches, but their members on an individual basis. There is one word that defines it all, and that word is PIETISM. Not all church groups are infected with it, but many if not most are. I suspect your past experiences with churches you were in were of that sort, and it soured you on it, and I can see why. Become part of the solution.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Wolfy; Pietism is manifested in many ways. Some subtle, others more obvious. Pietism affects both churches and the secular world. Get to know it, study it, where it starts, and how it spreads. Get to know the subject well, then you will know how to combat it. Then get involved with all humbleness. Like alcohol, it is “cunning baffeling, and powerfull. Watch yourself in your struggle against it.

  2. Wolfy32 says:

    Thanks. I think. Heh. Yes, I agree it is pietism:

    1.Devoutly religious.
    2.Making a hypocritical display of virtue.

    Yes, I agree it’s that. Some how not being allowed in a movie theater until the age of 18 for religious reasons, is going to save me from hell. (To see any movies…)

    It is baffling. The guest speakers brought in were brought in to make people feel guilty for their existence, and feel “under the spirit” for how bad of people they are…

    That if you didn’t feel guilty or bad about yourself, there was something wrong with you, the spirit of God wasn’t touching you and you weren’t feeling the appropriate feelings. You needed to be on your knees begging God mercy and forgiveness for whatever it is we’ve done wrong by existing. Every sunday, if you weren’t responding to alter calls or on your knees balling your eyes out for how bad of people we are.. Then obviously we weren’t of God. As a child growing up in it, I felt guilty for not feeling guilty. And eventually started to believe that somehow I was a mistake, that I didn’t belong here, that my life was a sin, and I should be dead not alive because I didn’t deserve to be alive…. My first thoughts of suicide for being unworthy of life were at the age of 10. And lived with that torment until I was 20 and got help. Not saying that was the only reason, but, yes, piety has a way of brainwashing people and/or completely confusing children to the point of totally being lost in confusion.

    I believe in simple acts of kindness. Listening to others problems, offering support, giving blindly to others that need it and just being there for people. Kindness can be shown in a million ways, and giving can be done in so many ways.. I’d rather be giving of myself than sitting in a pew feeling guilty for my existence..
    I’m not saying I’m perfect, nor I am free of hypcocrasy. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone. I’m just saying. Church piety is so sad when so much more could be done to build up lives instead of tear them down.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Wolfy; Just an after thought. A few years ago I had a meeting with a recovering alcoholic. He told me that when he was drinking and at a party, he thought everyone else there was drunk like him. After he sobered up, he realized it was only him or a couple others that was. Certainly not everyone. He was so into himself that he couldn’t objectively observe the others. Pietism is much like that. A pietist, (name your choice) thinks all others are like him/her, when in reality, there are those who aren’t. Whooda thunk it.

  3. entech says:

    I know someone who tells me that they used to be so devout it hurt, would be down by the river preaching and cajoling every Sunday afternoon, really so arrogant and better than every one that he just had to tell them.
    A long British tradition that has carried over to Australia and New Zealand is “speakers corner”, fascinating what the free speech idea can throw up; great example in London 1939 Oswald Mosley was defended by the police against an angry mob because of his pro-German pro-Nazi speeches on one day, war was declared and he was arrested and interned the next.
    Back to my acquaintance he says looking back on his days of shouting and screaming at the unfaithful brings him shame and sorrow because now he has discovered the message of the true scripture, now he is humble and perfect and can just sit back and quietly point out others errors.

    I have to tell him that both versions of himself were/are wrong, that due to the possible interpretations his scriptures are just as likely to be wrong as right. Worth considering that even if we could get a perfectly egalitarian congregation the basic interpretation could still be wrong.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Egalitarian in the sense that no one is perfect. No, not one.

    • entech says:

      Egalitarian in the sense that everyone has an equal chance of being wrong.

      One unbelief, hundreds of different beliefs, each one could be wrong which means hundreds to one against the unbelief position being the wrong one.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        You know as well as I, that a slick philosophical mathematician could play with those numbers, and turn them around back at you, in the order of the odds of you being right, as one in several hundred. There is a reliable approach to that, but that isn’t my style. so I won’t bother. Smilie face.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      I think you have said something like that before. As long as you can convince yourself, go for it.

  4. Wanna B Sure says:

    Years ago, I had an employee of mine tell me that at one time he was arrogant, self centered, and was a much better man than anyone around. He then told me that he eventually got over that, and he turned out to be a really nice guy. I started to laugh, thinking he was joking, but then I realized he was serious. I simply said “well, good for you”, and walked away. We were not talking about religion. Pietism is everywhere. Just think of the politicians running for office. Only fishermen are excused as they are expected to lie and brag.

  5. Avatar of realist realist says:

    I am always amazed at how many different Lutheran churches there are; the Christian churches are even worse. And these churches were all started by a relatively homogenous group of people. Enter groups of people with different cultures and you get what we have: lots of churches less than 50 members. But the bottom line for me is I don’t care. Let people do what they want as long as they don’t try to get the rest of us to live by their dictates.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      @4;45; “started by a relatively homogenous group of people”. Well they look alike–kind of, but not necessarily. Language was the big divider, as was culture. Bring lutefisk to a German Christmas supper, someone would be worse than insulted. (This is most certainly true). Saw that with my own eyes at the tender age of 4. So the Swedes spoke Swedish, the Norwegians spoke Norwegian, the Germans spoke German, (both dialects), as did the Finns. They naturally could not understand each other, and traditions, (small t) developed in their practice . The form of liturgy stayed the same however, so also did the Lectionary. As time went by those pioneers organized around their language, and spread out. Haugie from Norway introduced pietism into the scandenavians. There were mergers, and splits, then more mergers. Geography was big factor, Established internal polity, ( not necessarily theology) was the biggest factor. Unless you consider a synod with the number of congregations under 100 any significant, there are actually fewer than one may think. Four actually would be the number of significance. The divisions remain primarily along the ethenic lines of the pioneers that brought Lutheranism with them from the Old Country. Even though they all speak English now. Today when a specific church celebrates an anniversary, say a 125-150th, they may yet have it in their old language, for the sake of nostalgia, the senior members, or to recognize those who came before. With all this, they all still use the same catechisms, and the Augsburg Confession, at the least. You may like to call it division. It would be more accurate to call it variation. If you hear a heated argument from the house next door, it would be more honerable and wise not to butt in in matters that are not of your concern or business.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Bottom line; If you want strawberry Jello or Raspberry Jello served at your funeral, choose carefully. It’s all red, but it has a different flavor. Banannas optional.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        The early pioneers didn’t have such a wide selection. Jello wasn’t invented yet. If you like lime Jello, the Mormons are the largest user of lime Jello. As they used to say before a duel; “Gentlemen, choose your Jello”. ( Metaphorically speaking.) Smilie face.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Should have added to the “same catechisms, and the Augsburg Confession”; They all subscribe to the historical Creeds, and use the same format in the liturgy. When one drifts away from the creedal feature, that’s when inovation, and real seperation starts. The “It’s deeds not creeds” people that have in general become the “New Evangelicals”. There were a few of them at the time of the reformation, (Anabaptists), but grew into significance in the 1800′s. Many of which you see on TV today.

      • entech says:

        Is lutefish the one that is banned on all airlines?

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Only if melter butter isn’t poured over it. (about half a pound). It does help keep your sinuses clear, and that is a good thing in the air. The Swedes prefer white sauce. If you microwave it, it doesn’t smell quite so bad.

  6. Michael Ross says:

    “However, what the bible and much of christianity is about is lost in today’s church’s. They would rather argue about what is political and unsolvable than focus on a belief in God. I can’t imagine if it spent its time doing what Jesus claimed he did what church’s could accomplish today with their vast resources.”

    “I think God is ashamed of churches of today. Given the free will mandate, he allows it all to go on as though this is all good.. When really, it’s church’s trying to feel like they are making a difference in the world”

    Thankfully Christ is more patient with His Church than you or I.

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