Harder than Anyone Can Imagine
Noel Castellanos is the founder and president of the Latino Leadership Foundation, and was founding pastor of La Villita Community Church in inner-city Chicago.
Bill Hybels is senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the most influential congregations in the United States.
Soong-Chan Rah is senior pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, a multiethnic, urban-ministry-focused church reaching postmoderns in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Frank Reid is senior pastor of the historic Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore.
CT editor at large Edward Gilbreath and managing editor Mark Galli moderated the discussion.
The main argument of United by Faith is that Christian churches, "when possible," should be multiracial. What is your gut-level reaction to that assertion?
Reid: I think it is valid and necessary. The challenge is similar to the moment in Galatians 2, when Peter and Paul clash on fellowshipping with Gentiles. What the early Christians did not have to deal with to the same extent that we do today is how race has become an idol. On both sides of the racial divide, so much is twisted by the social constructs we've formed and cling to about race.
Castellanos: God has made clear that in Christ we're all one. There is no Greek, no Jew, no Gentile, no male or female. But from my experiences, both inside and outside the church, multicultural fellowship is a lot harder to achieve than anybody can ever imagine.
When I first went into full-time ministry in a majority white organization, I naïvely embraced the theology that in Christ we're oneand that even though we were in a Mexican community, we could be one with our Caucasian brothers and sisters and anybody else. ...