“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his proper place and will stay in it.”
G Carter Woodsen, MisEducation of the Negro
This quote is taken from the creator of Black History Month, G Carter Woodsen. Carter understood that when you control a person’s history, you control his identity, and limit his capacity to dream and see beyond his confines. It’s a tragedy that the contributions and legacy of many Africans, have been erased, distorted, glossed over or forgotten. Black history is important for the very reason that any history is important. It shows where we have come from, and in some ways can point the path for the future.
With the recent events of the past year, the world is looking for guidance,a voice to speak to the growing divide in our country. The church cannot don its prophetic mantel when it often is the biggest culprit in breeding segregation and often more ignorant than the world in matters of race. If your church has more interaction with orphans, or churches in Africa, and not the African Americans 30 miles away, your church has a problem. If your church says it has an intention to be multicultural and does not reflect it in its staff, your church has a problem. If we refuse to worship together on Sundays, how can we live together the rest of the week. If your church has any desire at all to multicultural, multi-ethnic, it is critical that it understands the culture, language and history of the people it has been called to reach.
I thank God for the pastors who have cast vision and have prayed, labored, in creating multicultural communities of faith. The walk is not easy, scripture is clear in the challenges of creating a multicultural body of worship. The apostles realized that for them to be effective shepherds, they needed to administer and deal with the challenges of cross-cultural ministry.
The American church also has its own black history, one that has not been so pretty when it comes to dealing with issues of race. In fact one could say that the evangelical church, fundamentalist have been on the wrong side of history frequently when it has come down to civil rights, social justice and blended ministry. One of the main reasons is because we do not learn from history.
In honor of black history month, I will attempt to post a couple of blogs dealing with the issue of race, cross cultural ministry, and maybe cover a historical event or two. My hope is that we will all become a little more informed, a little more sensitive, and more enriched in the process.