Continuing our journey through the wokefication of World Vision, we have another clip from Dr. Efrem Smith, the Co-lead Pastor of Bayside Church Midtown in Sacramento, explaining that, after he had a “second conversion” into the religion of “racial reconciliation” he began to see things for how they are, and Jesus for who he is. It is for this reason that the gospel of Christ demands the elimination of “disparities.” Taken from Session 10 of the ‘May We Be One’ course which is being taught to thousands of pastors and tens of thousands of people:
I grew up in the African-American church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Still have high regard for the African-American church, deeply connected to the African-American church. Believe in the need for thriving, flourishing, missional, reproducing African-American churches. It’s needed.
And at the same time, I was gripped as a teenager when I rode my bike past a Methodist church in my neighborhood. It was having an outreach event called the Soul Liberation Festival…I heard a message by a guy named John Perkins preaching on reconciliation…I found myself at the altar. I was already a Christian. I’d been baptized. But I had a second conversion in that moment, a calling to racial reconciliation and righteousness. That’s where my journey began. This passion that the church, whenever possible, would look as much like heaven as it can.
In response to that, commenter Matthew Shepherd points out in the combox: “The moment you need to hit the brakes and reevaluate your beliefs is when you begin a sentence, “I had a second conversion to…fill in the blank.” If you’re elevating your calling to the status of conversion your view of calling isn’t biblical.”
…The multiethnic church can’t simply just be about diversity. The multiethnic church, in order to be a reconciling church, also must deal with disparities. As I became a youth pastor in Minneapolis and eventually a church planter of a multiethnic church, our church was diverse, but I realized that in the city where I was pastoring, there were disparities. Chasms. Gaps that existed by race, class, and place.
In areas of home ownership, in areas of economic net worth, in areas of education, of high school graduation, of going on to college and graduating, when it came to issues of incarceration, there were these disparities that existed. These gaps that existed by race.
But sometimes it was not just about race. It was about place. Where you lived, your zip code. And it was about class. Where you were in the economic categories, statuses, in our nation.
And so the multiethnic church, it can’t just be about, ‘Oh, look how diverse we are. ♫Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in his sight♫’ It also has to be: is the church willing to stand in the gaps, to bridge the gaps, to address the disparities that exist? So my life journey went from this passion and heart for diversity to also a church that is missional enough to deal with disparities. That’s what Jesus did.
Jesus stepped into the disparities and the gaps that existed between Jew and Gentile. Jesus stepped into the gaps that existed in the gender structure. That’s why he would stand between stones and a woman caught in adultery, getting ready to receive the death penalty but yet the guy was nowhere to be found. People that didn’t want to be touched by a woman with a disease.
And so Jesus steps into the disparities. Jesus doesn’t just develop diversity, Jesus stepped into the disparities, the gaps between the slave and the free, the incarcerated and the empowered, male and female, Jew and Gentile.
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