World’s Vision’s woke “May We Be One” seminar has ended. It concluded with Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Rev. Sandra Maria Van Opstal, and Dr. Efrem Smith offering their reflections on the past year and answering questions to what has been an absolute theological dumpster fire of a time.
The first half of their farewell concludes by addressing those who have been critical of their programming, slamming bloggers who have been less than thrilled at their progressive agenda. They concluded that anyone accusing them of smuggling in Critical Race Theory (CRT) doesn’t know what they are talking about, because CRT, “in its very specific application is a particular academic discipline. It’s actually a legal discipline that focuses on law schools and on legal precedents.” Because they view it as such a narrow concept, they say it’s impossible for CRT to be taught to children, much less from their mouths.
But of course, CRT reigned supreme, as can be seen in some of the sessions here, with their talk of white privilege and the white male gaze turning Asians as pets or threats and black women into sexual mammies.
To prove their point, how little Critical Race Theory has shaped their perspective, Dr. Efrem Smith explains the importance of “black folk” being in “affinity groups” with each other based on race and then gives some final words of advice while explaining what a racist place the church is.
Sometimes, especially if one group is not the dominant group, culturally, in a multi-ethnic setting, you may need affinity groups so that people can see themselves growing, thriving, and developing in a multi-ethnic context.
Sometimes in order to thrive and flourish and grow, you need some people, people that know your slang, they know your experience, they understand your background, they understand why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling about a certain circumstance, why you’re approaching it a certain way.
And we see in the Bible we see times where people are in affinity groups. And you know, sometimes we see a picture, we see a story of development. Amongst the Jews, we see a story of development amongst a particular Gentile group in the New Testament.
And there are other times when we see a very diverse story of flourishing and developing, and they’re both good, they’re both enriched. I mean, man, if I couldn’t be blessed by watching the affinity journey of Ruth and Naomi, and then at the same time, being blessed by the more multi-ethnic, multicultural story of Peter going to the house of Cornelius.
So whether it’s ethnic-specific, or it’s multi-ethnic, there is an opportunity for development. There are times, I love my multicultural, multi-ethnic church. I love it, I love it. And there are times when I need to be in an African American-specific experience. That’s right. And both are good. And in a multi-ethnic church, we should affirm the blessing of both.
Yeah, my closing word would be, do not go back to Egypt. Please do not go back to Egypt. There is a promised land experience for those that are committed to a church that looks like heaven. You know, ultimately it is eternity in the kingdom of God. But until such time as Jesus returns, there is this great, great opportunity to experience ministry more and more in the multi-ethnic, biblical-justice, transformative context.
And when I say don’t go back to Egypt, just so we’re clear, I’ll name what Egypt is. Egypt is the Christian Church in America, deeply rooted in the race structure, a sociological structure that says, based on the colour of your skin, your physical features, your slang, where you were born, we decide who’s fast, who’s slow, who’s smart, who’s dumb, who should be revered, who should be feared, who can clap on beat, and who shouldn’t bother.
And this is all based on the race structure. And whether we acknowledge it or not, the church in the United States was born in the soil of a structure that had already decided who was more human, and who was less human.
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