“At City Hope Fellowship we seek to be a diverse people saved by Jesus, centered on Jesus, and sent by Jesus to extend the hope and fellowship of God to our city.” You’ve probably heard our mission statement every time you’ve come to worship service on Sundays. But, what does this look like for us to pursue this? We exist in the already, not yet. The global church is a diverse people and we seek locally the city and kingdom to come which is beautifully reconciled.
“Revelation 7:9…In that heavenly congregation, we will finally see the culmination of God’s gathering a diverse people unified by faith in Christ. We will not all be white; we will not all be black. We will surround the throne of the Lamb as a redeemed picture of all the ethnic and cultural diversity God created. Our skin color will no longer be a source of pain or arrogant pride but will serve as a multihued reflection of God’s image. We will no longer be alienated by our earthly economic or social position. We will not clamor for power over one another. Our single focus will be worshipping God for eternity in sublime fellowship with each other and our creator…the revelation of the heavenly congregation provides a blueprint and a motivation to seek unity now.” (Jemar Tisby, 23)
Our vision as a church is that City Hope Fellowship is a multicultural worshiping community in Muncie, IN…a diverse people passionate about the hope found in Jesus. And we seek to share that good news through relational evangelism, radical acts of justice and mercy, and the multiplying of Gospel-centered churches. To truly fulfill our values, we must recognize the racial reality of our city, our country, and the history we have. We must all see this reality to cause us to shift as a church and explicitly become what we have been given a vision for.
We cannot become a multicultural or diverse church if we do not wrestle with our past. The past impinges on the present so, what we do not reckon with will invade our current relationships.
Our country was founded on the enslavement of Black people and in the genocide and violent subjugation of Native Americans. This systematic dehumanization set the tone for the rest of history as well as our social and racial relations. Racism has had its way within our systems and institutions as well as the church. It exists in our everyday relationships because race has been normalized. How we relate to one another socially and as racial groups is bonded with our racist origins.
As a church, we must aggressively seek to uproot racism in the church. Our God is a God of justice, he is near to the oppressed and the marginalized. He calls us to be a part of His kingdom coming to earth. He calls us to radical acts of justice in our community. Part of seeking justice is addressing privilege, prejudice, and racism as individuals and as a church and becoming anti-racist. Reconciliation and justice cannot come if we do not challenge the status quo and engage in meaningful anti-racist work. Jesus came to reconcile us to God and to one another. So how does this reconciliation happen?
“History and scripture teach us that there can be no reconciliation without repentance. There can be no repentance without confession. And there can be no confession without truth. The Color of Compromise is about telling the truth so that reconciliation-- robust, consistent, honest reconciliation- might occur across racial lines. Yet all too often, Christians, and Americans in general, try to circumvent the truth-telling process in their haste to arrive at reconciliation. This book tells the truth about racism in the American church in order to facilitate authentic human solidarity” (Tisby, 15)
The truth will set us free. But we must educate ourselves in order to dignify Black people and People of Color who have been and continue to be oppressed and marginalized. As God’s people, we must reflect Him by seeking justice in our city and our relationships. In order to restore dignity to people, we must unlearn the false teachings of history and understand the reality of the complicity and complacency of the church. White supremacy will continue to reign if we as a church do not take action.
This September we will begin our book study on The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby. The Color of Compromise is a historical survey that calls for repentance and action of the church. Tisby challenges American Christians to unlearn racist narratives and learn about how the church has been complicit with white supremacy. This book reveals how the American church has compromised what God’s word says about people, dignity, and equity. Tisby offers insight for understanding our history to inform how we deal with the present unjust and racist reality we live in.
We invite you to join us this fall as we discuss this book in our men’s group and women’s group. The men’s and women’s groups will meet separately on alternating weeks. The men’s group will meet first on Wednesday, September 4th and the women’s group will meet the week after on Wednesday, September 11th. There will be a sign-up sheet at church on Sunday. If you don’t get a chance to sign-up, feel free to contact Chris Mack, the men’s group leader (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Adriana Arthur, the women’s group leader (email@example.com), to let them know if you plan to attend or want more information. We look forward to discussing The Color of Compromise with you!
Check out Color of Compromise Here: https://www.thecolorofcompromise.com/
And purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Compromise-American-Churchs-Complicity/dp/0310597269/