We are a part of a multiethnic network that has 12 sovereign churches using our building. They are immigrant/refugee congregations. Over the past several years, we have seen them form into a body of believers resourcing each other, encouraging each other, and blessing the former “white” church with their presence. Although racism has been displayed, the network’s unity has been the key to being able to challenge existing power structures.
We white Christians often breeze over the problems of bringing Jews and Gentiles together in one church—like all it takes is a little love and tolerance. Is it a matter of creating a “new” culture out of two or three native cultures? I don’t think so. The process has to be a slow, open-minded learning process with an open exchange of cultural ideas leading toward a deeper understanding. Further, I think that because we in the white church have developed attitudes of superiority, the largest changes in perception might well have to come from white people willing to give up some of that
privilege in order to learn.
I went to a majority white church to heal and be fed spiritually at a different level, but I still often feel like I don’t quite fit in. I still praise God with clapping and shouting “Hallelujah,” but it feels lonely, even discouraging, when you’re the only one. I’m always glad when our Indian ministry partner visits, because him being up front encouraging an interactive and responsive worship experience makes me feel less alone.1
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