Today’s topic is tough and it may push some buttons. I ask that each of you take this topic and the content that is discussed with an open mind and an open spirit.
As I write this, there are protests happening in Charlottesville, VA. Let’s set this up by saying something that may be provocative for some of you: the United States is not Post-Racial. We have a serious problem and here is your proof. White Supremacists, KKK members, and neo-nazis have flooded the town of Charlottesville with torches, clubs, guns, gas, and other weapons to protest. What are they protesting? The removal of a Confederate General statue and the renaming of the park it was placed in. Let’s take a second and let that sink in.
There’s a story in the Bible that speaks volumes. You can find it in Acts 8:26-40, and it is still applicable today. If you have never used a bible before or if you want to quickly access the story to read for yourself, I have a link in my “resources” at the bottom of this article. I suggest to read it before reading forward.
Philip was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. He spent three years following Jesus and went through the pain of his death with the other disciples, and he was one of the founders of the early church. Needless to say, this man knew his stuff and is a huge part of the Christian story.
To give a brief telling of the bible story, Philip is traveling and preaching the Gospel and all of a sudden, Philip is told by God to “Go South down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza”. As Phill is traveling, he sees an Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot and hears him reading from the book of Isaiah. Phill approaches him, tells him what he is reading, and the man decides to get baptized and follow the teachings of Jesus.
If you’ve read the last article that I wrote on the flood, you’d know that I enjoy stepping back and looking at the big picture. Let’s look at what a eunuch is. A eunuch is defined as “a man who has been castrated”. Pretty straightforward. Deuteronomy 23:1 says “If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut-off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.”. That seems pretty straightforward too. So let’s piece this together. A black man with no testicles that served in a political role experienced God, was baptized, and was invited into the Kingdom of God. What does that say?
This statement is very clear. The passionate love of God is for every person. The man in this story was considered dirty and unable to be invited into the presence of God, yet Philip is convicted by the Holy Spirit to speak with him, baptized him, and preach the Gospel to him. A black man with no “man parts” is seen as equal with everyone else. A black man who had surgery to remove his “man parts” was seen as equal. This sounds quite progressive. This sounds very modern. Or is it?
This Ethiopian man is undoubtedly black, as Ethiopians are. So what does this story have to do with what’s going on? Well, a black man was seen as equal and invited into the kingdom of God. Now what? Well, if God sees everyone the same, why are we still stuck on racism and why do we exclude people who seem “different” to us. We are all the same. Black, white, gay, straight, Asian, Hispanic, trans, bi, queer, questioning, and everyone in-between. Why are we still so stuck on excluding people? Why do we strive to have war and violently rage against others who don’t fit into our personal box? We are staring into the face of evil in America. This evil is manifesting itself in racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, nationalism, and the terrible amounts of inequality. We can no longer stand here and watch evil take the lives of people. Let us all stand with our brothers and sisters, humans alike, and love one another. We have one life. Let’s fight for the oppressed and lets fight for the equality of everyone. Let’s stand up for the black lives that are being objectified. Let’s stand up and eliminate racism. Let’s stand up and fight our modern-day Jim Crowe. Let’s fight against those who stand in the name of God and exclude humanity. It’s a hard fight, but in the end, it’s worth it.