Jesus Was Not A White American

verses

Luke 12:48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

2 Corinthians 9:8  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

consider

Friendly reminder. Jesus was a Middle-Eastern Jew. America did not exist when he was born nor when he died and rose again. We’ll save the rest of the history stuff for another day when my history geek husband has some time to organize it for us.

So, even though ‘white Jesus’ is ubiquitous, he is not quite accurate. And though there is historical baggage attached to that image as well, it is not uncommon for cultures to depict Jesus in a way that is relatable to them. This is one of the reasons I am highlighting nativity scenes from different cultures throughout the series (many of them from this beautiful post). I love seeing what other perspectives evoke with their visualizations of Christ’s birth.

Jesus doesn’t care that you’re from the United States of America. He doesn’t care what color you are. If we think anything about us gives us a better set of credentials in God’s kingdom, we are sorely mistaken. He loves you because you are created in the image of God. As a follower of Christ, you have dual citizenship: You are a citizen of earth and a citizen of heaven.

Our race is a non-issue to God, but it is an issue in our country. And it would help if we white Americans would come to terms with our whiteness.

– White is a race, too. I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t think about this as a young person. I thought race was what you were if you were not white. Because almost everything around me was white. I’m pretty sure, when I started filling out forms, white/caucasian wasn’t even listed under race. But there is no reason for white to be a default setting.

– Race as a division of skin color was introduced to justify slavery. Previously, it had been used more broadly like words such as ‘type’ or ‘kind’. So, classifying and assigning different values to white and black-skinned people is not part of God’s creative work; it was the work of white people. (Again, more on that history another day.)

– White people in this country have privilege without asking for it or seeking it out. I am not going to use this space to make the case for the existence of white privilege. So, if you do not believe it exists (or even if you do!), I would suggest taking a look at resources such as Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. And I would invite us all to virtually participate in this exercise on understanding privilege together.

– There isn’t anything wrong with being white. Problems arise when we don’t acknowledge who we are and what we have. Let’s put aside the word ‘privilege’ and call it abundance. Like in Luke 12:48. We are all created equal, but different. And then life brings and takes away different things. All of us are called to give and to do for others. And those who have more, are called to give and do more. If we think there won’t be any left for us, then we are not believing God’s promises nor trusting in His provision for us. 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

ponder

How might God be calling you to give our of your abundance regarding issues of race and establishing gospel community?

Of the 50 items starting on page 2 of Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, how many did you circle? How does that make you feel? What does that make you think about?

pray

Lord, thank you for the abundance of your blessings in our lives. Help us not be ashamed of what we’ve been given, and convict us when we hold onto something that you would have us give away. Teach us to give with joyful hearts. Jesus, helps us know you as both God and man, and help us see your teaching, not through white American eyes, but with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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