What guides most of your life decisions? If you are a Christian, you'll likely say your faith guides the major considerations in your life unless you are both Christian and Black in America. For many Black Christians to answer that question honestly, may mean answering that racial considerations and our nation history of racial injustice have as much or more influence as faith principles in their lives.
Pamela G. Wilson
What guides most of your life decisions? If you are a Christian, you'll likely say your faith guides the major considerations in your life -“ unless you are both Christian and Black in America. For many Black Christians to answer that question honestly, may mean answering that racial considerations and our nation's history of racial injustice have as much or more influence as faith principles in their lives.While race influence is not unique to Black people, studies show that black people usually think about race more often than whites. In fact, in a national survey more than 50 percent of Black respondents said they think about race daily. Another survey, by Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, found that African Americans are 10 times more likely than whites to think about race "constantly-. It is particularly telling that committed Christian voters usually line up with conservative values and candidates. The glaring exception is found in black voters who, according to polls, place less importance on key Biblical issues, preferring instead socially liberal positions that are often at odds with the Bible. I wrote the book, Finding Soul Brothers: Dismantling Black Christian Racialism because I know it's easy to get entrenched in race-focused thinking. I used to think that way myself, but when I received Jesus Christ and came face to face with the power of the living God, something happened to me. I changed. I began to really believe I am "free indeed- through the power of Jesus Christ. I was no longer confined to a narrow view defined by skin color -“ no matter what others attempted to ascribe to me, no matter who tried to limit me. The Bible says that we should have the mind of Christ. That means we must break free of resentment. We cannot hold onto racial anger and still believe God's word. We know there is racial injustice. But we don't have to allow it to define us. We can instead believe the Bible passages that convey the following messages: we are more than conquerors, we can do all things through Christ, no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Those words should reshape our thinking about race, racial limitations, and racial divisions. As Christians we must promote unity - especially in the body of Christ. In Galatians 6:10 Paul wrote that we should be loyal to our faith. Jesus, Himself, said that faith not race should be the foundation of unity. Here's what he said in Matthew 12:49-50 when someone told him his mother and brothers were waiting for him. "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother...- He was serious about unity in the Church. We should be likewise. But today some Black Christians proudly proclaim the attributes of the "Black Church-. That's because Black has become a subset of American to such a degree that there is a Black version of almost every conceivable association, event, professional association, award show, publication, political committee, and, yes, even church. While there's nothing wrong with ethnic solidarity, there is something wrong with mechanical conformity to a racialized view of the world -“ particularly among Christians. The Bible says that Christians are to be unified. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.- Galatians 3:27-28. Pamela Wilson is an Atlanta-based journalist and public relations consultant. She is author of Finding Soul Brothers: Dismantling Black Christian Racialism. For more information go to http://findingsoulbrothers.com.