Unless someone's isolation has included no radio, television, or internet access, it is impossible not to be aware of the unrest around our country in response to the actions of a group of police officers against a person who had been detained. Those actions led to a death. The protests and even some of the riots are like an exploding powder keg whose fuse was lit by that action. What is happening is more than outrage at one incident but a outpouring of a frustration that has been simmering under a thin layer of peaceful coexistence.
I know that for many in the church, the frustration felt by minorities is an academic acknowledgement at best. I don't mean this as a criticism only to point out that unless a person has felt the humiliation of being targeted by authorities because of the color of their skin, the reality of such an experience remains an intellectual recognition. However, the lens of racial bias is not limited to one skin tone. Sometimes, it is also expressed in comments that communicate a preconceived notion of what is normal in the context of racial relationships. Allow me to give an example of such expectations. One of the biggest blessings and privileges that I have experienced is being called to pastor SLCC. Our church, although diversified, has a history in which the majority of the congregation is Caucasian. Because of this fact, I have experienced comments by people that were white, black, brown, and even Asian which communicated surprise that such a congregation would call a Hispanic to be their pastor. There were even comments by other pastors that conveyed the assumption that SLCC had called me to start a Hispanic outreach, but not to actually be the pastor. I recall a conversation where I had to stifle a chuckle when an African-American gentleman said, "So you are the pastor here?" I said that I was, then he said, "but they are a white church, and you are Spanish, right?" I again said yes, and he finished with, "hmm, interesting?"
Expectations based on the lens of perceptions we look through. It is difficult to avoid looking at life through the perception lens of our life. And as long as we each see things through our individual lens, things will continue to look the same to us. It is only when we succeed in looking and responding to life through the lens of Christ, that significant change will occur. This means that even in these tumultuous times, the primary need is to share Christ. In Acts 1:8 His disciples, which includes us, were told to be His witnesses to all the corners of the earth. That begins with the first person we come into contact with today. Let us strive to communicate that the only real hope for change is in Christ. Let our zeal for Christ be superior to our feelings regarding what is happening around us.