Author Topic: Solidarity and Unity  (Read 2494 times)

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Solidarity and Unity
« on: October 12, 2020, 07:01:39 PM »
This is the text (it might be slightly different due to the stages of minor editing, so please excuse any typos) of an article I wrote for the current issue of Forum Letter. Subscribers to the electronic version have read it already, but the print edition is still coming in the mail. It has gotten a lot of positive feedback from readers so far, so I thought I would put it here along with an invitation to subscribe to the Forum package or otherwise support the alpb financially.

Solidarity and Unity

“If you were recruiting for a white supremacist cause on a Sunday morning, you’d likely have more success hanging out in the parking lot of an average white Christian church—evangelical Protestant, mainline Protestant, or Catholic—than approaching whites sitting out services at the local coffee shop.”
That rather startling suggestion comes from Robert B. Jones in his book White Too Long. His harsh but unmistakable thesis is that practicing Christians (of any kind) are more racist than non-Christians or non-practicing Christians. Jones reaches this conclusion by examining responses to various survey questions. For example, one of the statistics that, for Jones, demonstrates the racism endemic among Christians is that “nearly two thirds of white Christians over all [Catholic, Evangelical, Mainline] said that killings of African-American men by the police are isolated incidents rather than part of a broader pattern of mistreatment.” For Jones, that is a sign that the racist view is more common than the non-racist view among white Christians. But is it fair to assume that thinking the police are not systemically racist is itself a racist thing to think?

I have a more plausible explanation for the survey responses. Maybe the worldview promulgated by critical race theory and the larger social justice movement in the United States is not compatible with Christianity, and maybe most Christians instinctively know that. Maybe Jones is simply assuming his conclusions in deciding how and where he will apply the label “racist.”

One need only examine a secular counterpart to this survey to realize that people react to competing narratives almost viscerally. For example, at the first NFL game of the season this year, the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs linked arms at midfield for a “moment of unity” on the issue of racism. The stadium announcer asked the mostly empty stadium (due to the pandemic restriction) to observe a moment of silence. But the intended moment of silence featured a loud chorus of boos from the few thousand fans in attendance. After the game, superstar player J.J. Watt expressed confusion that anyone would be booing a moment of unity to end racism. Well, it could be that many of the fans were racists opposed to expressions of racial unity. Or, it could be that the fans instinctively sensed an alien narrative at work.

What I think the fans understood is that the national anthem, for which many NFL players routinely kneel in protest, is itself supposed to be the moment of unity before the game. That’s why the tradition got started and the only reason to perpetuate it. The bitter rivals on the field, the competing fan bases, the furious coaches and the blind referees might not have anything else in common, but they have their nation in common. The only reason to have a separate moment of unity on the field this year in addition to the anthem was to endorse the idea that the national anthem doesn’t unite Americans. Holding an additional moment of unity only endorses the outlook of those who kneel for the anthem. Two competing moments of unity are actually just one larger moment of disunity. People booing the moment of unity were not expressing racism. They were rejecting the idea that the American flag and our national anthem actually represent ongoing systemic racism. 

Bringing it back from the secular realm to the church, at the heart of the matter for Christians dealing with race issue is the concept of solidarity. By solidarity I mean a sense of personal connection, loyalty, and allegiance to the interests of a larger group. What is your order of loyalties and allegiances? And where in that list do you actually have solidarity with, or owe any particular loyalty and allegiance to people of your same race?

In Scripture we find God calling us to have solidarity in several ways. We have solidarity with creation as distinct from God, with all of humanity as distinct from the rest of creation, with the people of God as opposed to unbelievers and those who are perishing, and with our parents, spouses, and children as opposed to strangers. Our main loyalty is to God to the people of God. All other allegiances, even of close family, must defer to that central loyalty. If they will not, we must dissolve our solidarity with them. In other words, in certain circumstances Christians properly make distinctions based on the solidarity to which they are called. I am right to treat my parents with greater care and attention than I give to all people generally and equally. I am right in some cases to treat fellow believers differently than I treat unbelievers. But am I ever called to treat fellow white people differently than I treat others? No. Not ever. 

Consider just 1 Timothy 5:8. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Here St. Paul sees solidarity and distinctions in matter of Church and family as basic aspects of the faith. But can anyone imagine any him writing a similar verse on the concept of race? St. Paul’s “If you can’t decide whether to provide for your family, you ain’t Christian,” is a far cry from, “If you can’t decide whom to vote for, you ain’t black.” Family is a Christian category rightly calling for solidarity from its members. Blackness and whiteness are not Christian categories and can only deceitfully call for solidarity from their members.   

The idea of having solidarity with your race in the modern sense of the word is not Christian or Scriptural. Not only is it an injustice to presume someone else must have solidarity with people of their apparent race, but no Christian, black or white, even has a genuine call to solidarity with his or her race. There is no such thing as a race-traitor because allegiance to one’s race is a bogus idea in the first place, and it has always had disastrous consequences. White Christians wrongly sought to retrofit the secular idea of race to their worldview in order to justify and make sense of the colonial world and slavery. But any Christian of a prior or later era can see that peculiar eisegesis for exactly what it was.

What we’re left with today is competing worldviews featuring markedly different ideas about the role of racial solidarity. The Christian worldview rejects the idea that anyone has or should have any particular solidarity with anyone else based on race. We’re rightfully ashamed that there was day when race-loyalty was prized and race-traitors reviled. If someone calls me a traitor to my race, I know I am dealing with a non-Christian or very confused Christian. I owe my loyalty to God, the Christian Church, humanity in general, my family in particular, and my wider secular authority. But I have no solidarity with and owe no loyalty to my fellow white people.

The main competing worldview, one with roots in Marx and expressed especially via group identity politics, insists on race-loyalty as a valid survival mechanism of oppressed people. Race becomes an ideology. “Real” black people (or Hispanics or other group) act in solidarity with their race in order to advance the collective interests of their racial group. Those individuals who do not act in concert with the group therefore lose their racial identity. When couched in terms of lifting up the oppressed this worldview can sound very Christian. But it nevertheless rests on the un-Christian presupposition that individuals have a Christian responsibility to show solidarity with their racial group.

The Marxist revolutionary roots of the issue come further into focus when considers that most critical race theorists would agree with me that I owe no loyalty to white people as a group. But they would disagree if I said black people owe no loyalty to black people as a group. That’s because white people are the oppressors and black people are the oppressed. Group-identity politics defines racism in such a way that people in the in-group (the majority, the powerful) are almost by definition racist, while people in the out-group (the minority, the oppressed) cannot possibly be racist no matter how they might hate people of other races. It is about the balance of power between competing groups.

At issue is really group identity and oppression, not race. This is where it gets murky because Christians are called to take up the cause of the oppressed. And everyone agrees that black people have been shamefully oppressed in American history. Slavery, obviously, but also segregation, redlining, and other forms of discrimination necessitated black solidarity for survival. The abolition of those injustices ought to dissolve such solidarity. This is where the competing worldviews come most into conflict.

Christians seek to dissolve racial solidarity among individuals of any color. Such solidarity is based on an irrelevant distinction. I want for people of color the same thing I have for myself—a complete freedom from any sense of solidarity with my race in favor of solidarity based on more important things like allegiance to Christ, or family, or nation. But the social justice movement based in Marx seeks not to dissolve racial solidarity (at least among people of color) but to strengthen it and bring it into clearer conflict.

The central question, then, becomes not whether there is a history of official, inexcusable racism (there is) but whether the current system, having jettisoned every vestige of such formal, official racism nonetheless remains systemically racist with racial prejudice embedded in its very DNA. The Christian worldview would say that racism persists in individual sinners. There may be cops who are racist, but the police as a group or as a concept are not inherently racist. Thus, Christians understandably and apart from any racism see police brutality in terms of the sins of the officer, not the system. Hence isolated incidents, not a broader pattern.

The Marxist worldview, on the other hand, depends on seeing the evil not in the individual but in the system of oppression represented by the individual agent of the ruling power. Thus, it makes sense for people with this worldview to think that anyone who denies ubiquitous, ongoing, systemic racism in America is a racist and part of the system needing to be overthrown. It has to be a pattern. It is has to be systemic. That’s the only way the overhaul of the system can be justified in the absence of any overtly racist policy or law. And make no mistake, it is the whole “system” that needs overthrowing. When you watch race protests, note how often capitalism, private property, patriarchy, and law enforcement in the abstract are treated as the real enemies. Yet, this is the worldview Jones takes for granted when he labels so many Christian racists.

In the wake of the George Floyd killing and the resulting social turmoil, a group of LCMS clergy is seeking signatures for an online petition labelled A Call for Racial Justice Reform in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It currently has nearly 7,000 signatures. I have not signed it for two reasons. It includes declaring “an intent to, by God’s grace, dismantle the systems of racism within our congregations, communities, and church body.” I do not believe we have any systems of racism in our congregation or church body. By adopting that terminology, we wrench the conversation onto the foundations of a worldview I do not accept.

More importantly, the petition insists on treating black LCMS clergy as a separate group with a special solidarity that ought to be reinforced in and by the LCMS rather than dissolved. When I interact with a black pastor, I am interacting with him based on our common faith and common humanity. I am not additionally interacting with blackness as a concept or black Lutherans as an identity group. The call to empower black voices within the LCMS assumes the LCMS has a responsibility to cultivate two separate cultures within it (equitably) based on skin color. We have no such responsibility from God, and I think taking on such a responsibility militates against the responsibility we actually do have from God to dissolve rather than reinforce all false solidarities.
I fully realize that my failure to sign this petition will be considered offensive by many. They might not think I am a racist, but they will think I am misguided for not listening, not honoring other voices, not taking people’s lived experience seriously, and denying the legacy of racism in the LCMS and the United States. That it not my intent at all. I am glad to work together with LCMS clergy, black and white.

The fans were not necessarily racist for booing the NFL’s moment of silence. They instinctively saw through it as an endorsement, by clear intent and design, of a worldview alien to their own. So also Christians answering the survey about police violence are not racist for seeing isolated incidents rather than a systemic pattern. They a sense an alien, non-Christian worldview behind the question and the expected answer. They are expressing solidarity with the Christian worldview that invites everyone in but rejects any demands for solidarity based on race.             



peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2020, 12:43:19 PM »
I cut and pasted this post from Marie Meyer from a duplicate thread.

The October  Forum Letter article, Solidarity and Unity, prompts questions related to Luther's understanding of the Two Kingdoms and the reality that members of the One Holy Catholic Church are saints and sinners.

In the kingdom of the Left God's original intent for all human relationship laws are necessary to address barriers that sinful humans build and maintain.  Absent the laws that gradually broke down some of the walls separated slaves and freemen as well as whites and blacks slavery might well still exist in the USA.  Written zoning laws exist to promote equal access to housing, but residual systemic racist perpetuates white only areas in our country.  No law can change the biblical truth that "solidarity"among all humans does NOT come naturally to any of us. Divisions among races, between nations and within nations between rich and poor are systemic.  In the Kingdom of the Left the Christian worldview includes working for laws that promotes justice for all...that breaks down all natural systemic barriers to "solidarity"

Int the Kingdom on the Right, unity is God's work.  Here God begins God's work of unity among all members of the One Holy Body of Christ with the circumcision of our hearts.  Here the Christian worldview acknowledges our need to be turned from self to God so that God can do God's work of recreating us in heart, mind, spirit and will.  The dismantling of racism within the LCMS begins with recognition that we are saints and sinners.  This is the biblical worldview we dare not deny.

As sinners, recognizing the truth about ourselves is difficult and painful.  Within our thinking there is a cognitive dissonance. Rather than recognizing the reality of existing walls that perpetuate natural systemic division among us we rationalize that they do not exist. We either deny the truth of systemic divisions or confront the truth about ourselves and thus open our hearts to God's work of creating unity within the One Holy Catholic Church, including the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Marie Meyer

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 12:51:56 PM »
A main point of the article was that God calls us saints and sinners to have some kinds of solidarity but not others. Our race is not one of the categories to which He calls us to have solidarity. Christianity seeks to build up solidarity in the ways God calls us to have it (humanity, church, family, secular authority, creation) but seeks to dissolve false solidarities (class, race, etc.). The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity. 

mariemeyer

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4219
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 05:06:50 PM »
A main point of the article was that God calls us saints and sinners to have some kinds of solidarity but not others. Our race is not one of the categories to which He calls us to have solidarity. Christianity seeks to build up solidarity in the ways God calls us to have it (humanity, church, family, secular authority, creation) but seeks to dissolve false solidarities (class, race, etc.). The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity.

What is meant by the "term" solidarity in the Kingdom of the Right.  I am not familiar with a biblical use of the term where God calls us to relate to all who are citizens of the Kingdom of God?   

I also welcome clarification on the meaning of "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left.   With whom does God call me to have "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left?  With whom am I not to have "solidarity?"

What is the solidarity I, as a Christian, have with members of  the Kingdom of the Left?

I find it difficult to understand the sentence...."The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity."  To which kingdom does this refer?

Marie Meyer


peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2020, 07:58:17 PM »
A main point of the article was that God calls us saints and sinners to have some kinds of solidarity but not others. Our race is not one of the categories to which He calls us to have solidarity. Christianity seeks to build up solidarity in the ways God calls us to have it (humanity, church, family, secular authority, creation) but seeks to dissolve false solidarities (class, race, etc.). The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity.

What is meant by the "term" solidarity in the Kingdom of the Right.  I am not familiar with a biblical use of the term where God calls us to relate to all who are citizens of the Kingdom of God?   

I also welcome clarification on the meaning of "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left.   With whom does God call me to have "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left?  With whom am I not to have "solidarity?"

What is the solidarity I, as a Christian, have with members of  the Kingdom of the Left?

I find it difficult to understand the sentence...."The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity."  To which kingdom does this refer?

Marie Meyer
I think those questions are spelled out fairly clearly in the article. Scripturally, every Christian has a call from God to have solidarity with humanity, with the Church as a subset of that, with one's own family/household as a separate subset of humanity, and with one's legitimate government. In no case, be it in the Right or Left hand kingdom, does a Christian ever have a call to have solidarity with his or her race.

mariemeyer

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4219
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2020, 02:16:03 PM »
A main point of the article was that God calls us saints and sinners to have some kinds of solidarity but not others. Our race is not one of the categories to which He calls us to have solidarity. Christianity seeks to build up solidarity in the ways God calls us to have it (humanity, church, family, secular authority, creation) but seeks to dissolve false solidarities (class, race, etc.). The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity.

What is meant by the "term" solidarity in the Kingdom of the Right.  I am not familiar with a biblical use of the term where God calls us to relate to all who are citizens of the Kingdom of God?   

I also welcome clarification on the meaning of "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left.   With whom does God call me to have "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left?  With whom am I not to have "solidarity?"

What is the solidarity I, as a Christian, have with members of  the Kingdom of the Left?

I find it difficult to understand the sentence...."The call for racial justice reform calls upon the church not to dissolve the false solidarity we sinners might have with members of our own race, but seeks rather to reinforce such solidarity."  To which kingdom does this refer?

Marie Meyer
I think those questions are spelled out fairly clearly in the article. Scripturally, every Christian has a call from God to have solidarity with humanity, with the Church as a subset of that, with one's own family/household as a separate subset of humanity, and with one's legitimate government. In no case, be it in the Right or Left hand kingdom, does a Christian ever have a call to have solidarity with his or her race.

Perhaps I do not understand the meaning of "solidarity" in the Kingdom of the Left or the Kingdom of the Right.  I may not be following all news reports, but I have not read of Christians being told that they are to have "solidarity" with his or her race.  My acquaintance of the term "solidarity" is that it became a public term in 1848.   

Where does the Scriptures state that every Christian has a call from God to have "solidarity" with humanity.

According to Luther's understanding of the two Kingdoms,  the Church is not a subset of humanity in the same way that governments belong to the Kingdom of the Left.  From my perspective the article leans in the direction of reason and philosophical thought rather than a Biblical Lutheran understanding of relationships in the two Kingdoms.

In short, I do not follow how the Forum article concludes that racism is not systemic in the USA.  The issue goes beyond black and white citizens. Clearly observable differences exist in housing, education and heath care between races and other ethnic groups in our country.   

Marie Meyer

James

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1480
  • Guard Personal Information! Doxxing trolls present
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 03:17:54 PM »

In short, I do not follow how the Forum article concludes that racism is not systemic in the USA.
Mrs Meyer ... as we await Rev Speckhard’s response to your inquiry, could you help us understand how you apparently have arrived at your conclusion that systemic racism exists ... beginning with your definition of systemic racism. Thank you.
If necessary, there will be a peaceful transfer of power on Jan 20, 2021.

In the event election fraud is proven in the courts of our country, there will be an inauguration ceremony ... no transfer of power necessary.

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 03:43:57 PM »
I gave an operational definition of solidarity in the article: "By solidarity I mean a sense of personal connection, loyalty, and allegiance to the interests of a larger group."

It is easy to see in the Bible that God calls us to have solidarity with a larger group in some sense but not others. There is at least one example in the article, from 1 Tim. 5:8. We don't treat the household of faith the same as we treat people generally. But we don't treat people generally the same as we treat animals or plants. We don't treat our parents the same as we treat everyone else. In short, there are valid categories in which some people rightfully have a claim on me that not everyone has. But race is not one of them. White people do not have a claim on my allegiance that black people don't have. Thea idea that black clergy ought to have some sense of allegiance to other black clergy that they don't have with white clergy is counter-productive to the Church's mission of re-enforcing Biblical categories of solidarity and dissolving false solidarities.   


Norman Teigen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1616
  • I intend to persuade no one.
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2020, 11:53:22 AM »
Thanks for the invitation to read and participate.  I hope to respond with respect.  I must state that I have no standing in the discussion because I am not a member of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  The subject is Racism and the LCMS online petition 'A Call for Racial Justice Reform in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.'  You state that you will not sign this petition.

You argue  that there are "competing worldviews  featuring markedly different ideas about the role of racial solidarity....The main competing worldview, with roots in Marx and expressed especially via group identity politics, insists on race-loyalty as a valid survival mechanism of oppressed people.  Race becomes an ideology."   You deny that there are any "systems of racism in our congregation or church body."  Your denial is based on your belief that this is based on a "worldview" which you do not accept. You and the authors of the Petition are not in agreement.   

From a personal point of view I do not consider that I am a racist.  But I must recognize that I am a human.  I believe "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said 'Repent [Matt. 4:17] he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." I may not be a racist but some people think that there is a lot of racism going around and so I need to look into my heart and see if there is any racism there. It's not an easy thing to do.   Now, if humans must look inward in the spirit of repentance, so too must the Church because the church is made up of humans.

Stepping backward for a moment, I want to note you oppose "critical race theory and the larger social justice movement" as having Marxist roots.  I am familiar with President CFW Walther's refusal to condemn slavery as a sin.  Walther was opposed to a view of humanism,  naturalism, and abolitionism
 because it was based on faulty premises which denied Scripture.  Scripture was being denied by those he opposed because the Bible no where says that slavery is sin.  To say that slavery is sin, in his view, is to deny Scripture itself.   

The issue is not the basis of the theories presented, they are all human interpretations subject to varying conclusions, but they are human and not divine.   St. Paul noted the tensions facing Christians in Philippians 1:23 "I am hard pressed."  There is a betwixt and a between.  There is certainly and uncertainty. I do believe that secular matters can be considered truthful or true, wise or unwise and the application of the reason which God has given us is can work.

Do what you will.   Consider the possibility that the human concepts to which we all have within us may possibly be sinful.  A respect for the opinions of your fellow clergymen are also worthy of respect and consideration.
Norman Teigen

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2020, 12:22:46 PM »
From the article: The central question, then, becomes not whether there is a history of official, inexcusable racism (there is) but whether the current system, having jettisoned every vestige of such formal, official racism nonetheless remains systemically racist with racial prejudice embedded in its very DNA. The Christian worldview would say that racism persists in individual sinners. There may be cops who are racist, but the police as a group or as a concept are not inherently racist. Thus, Christians understandably and apart from any racism see police brutality in terms of the sins of the officer, not the system.

I'm sure there are racists in our congregations and church body. That is not the same thing as saying that a congregation or denomination is systemically racist. Racism is a sin that exists in human hearts. What "system of racism" might exist in a congregation of denomination apart from racism among the members? Certainly any rule or policy that treats people differently based on race, as were in place in a prior era in many places, would be a racist system. We don't have any of those.

I preach against racism with some regularity. I preach to people who are sinners, though, not to the church body in the abstract as a system. I also preach against, say, lust and pornography. I have no doubt that many people in our congregations and church body struggle with lust and pornography. But I do not commit to rooting out "systems of lust" in the congregation and denomination. I think the insistence that this is all systemic relies on treating people according to group identity rather than whatever is in their heart.

You are right to say that we all ought to be have an open mind and open heart about sins that may be lurking undetected behind the self-deception we sinners are so adept at. The light of the Law needs to shine especially where it is unwelcome. That isn't what the call for dismantling systems of racism really does. By calling systems racist without saying what is racist about them, people excuse themselves of the onerous task of having to accuse anyone of the sin of racism. Systems can't repent. People can. People repent when they are accused and come to believe they are guilty of some sin. But accusing people is hard. It is painful. It is easier just to say there is guilt in the abstract out there. Such guilt, though, can only be guilt by association or membership in a group identity. People who repent of such guilt are really only repenting of other people's sins, which is really an act of self-righteousness disguised as repentance. 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 04:08:43 PM by peter_speckhard »

mariemeyer

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4219
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 12:23:55 PM »
The latest Forum Letter contains assumptions that lead to questionable conclusions. The issue is whether or not there systemic racism exists within the LCMS.  within the LCMS. need for reform within the LCMS  Whether or not racism us systemic in the LCMS or in the USA is the underlying question.

The only biblical text mentioned in the article  to defend the claim that systematic racism does not exist in the LCMS or the USA is I Timothy 5:8, a text that is not applicable to the issue.  Paul here states that we are to take care of our relatives, especially those that live in our household. Thankfully, we live in a country that provides financial assistance to families with special needs children. Sadly, we also live in a country where it is not uncommon for adult children to devise ways to have the government provide for their elderly parents.

Back to racism:  Who in the LCMS is calling for "solidarity" between members of racial groups be they white, black, red, brown or yellow?  The Christian worldview is that we recognize all persons, regardless of race, as persons created in the image of God.  All belong to the category "human."  This is not the Marxist worldview where evil is seen in systems of oppression represented by an individual agent of power. My limited understanding of Marxist ideologies is that they are inclined to think in term of solidarity imposed by government leaders.

Such is is not the Christian world view where God would have His people, the Church of Jesus Christ, to regard all humans as persons whom God longs to claim as God's beloved sons and daughters.  God would call all members of the Evangelical Catholic Church to be God's co-workers in extending the Gospel.  God will they all who are the Church know and trust as God their Creator and Father, know and trust God the Son as true Redeemer and Brother, and know and trust God the Holy Spirit by whose power they are joined as ONE to the many persons who are the Church. 

The "real enemy" within the Kingdom of God is the concupiscence that still lurks in the heart of all Christians,  i.e. their inner directed thinking that creates walls of separation between races, economic groups, sexes etc.   Also lacking is the will to address walls that separate people in all forms of government, including democracies such as the United States of America .

Does racism exist in the LCMS?   If a poll were taken I suspect many black members of the LCMS would say we have not yet dealt with the reality of what they have experienced with the LCMS and our country. LCMS persons who have gone before us, including the Lutheran Human Relations Association, led the way in addressing the visible vestiges of racism within the LCMS.  I submit  a "Call for racial Reform in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, is an effort to call attention to areas that need still need reform. Personal willingness to gladly work with black and white clergy allows one to deny a reality that exists beyond personal experience.

The issue within the LCMS is not about a balance of power between competing groups. It is about how group identity shapes our thinking. When members of any group, including the LCMS, have to confront the reality that their group may have to address an area that may need reform they experience cognitive dissonance.  They either re-examine the reality that they are part of any social, political, religious or family group that  needs reform or they back up the claim that they have no God given responsibility to break down barriers within a group to which they belong.

I submit the article "Solidarity and Unity" reflects the cognitive dissonance that exists within the LCMS by those who dismiss the claim that our synod needs the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit in addressing the racism that exists within the LCMS.  I subit we also need the power of the Holy Spirit to boldly address the racism that exists with in the LCMS. 

Marie Meyer                 


peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15992
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 12:36:13 PM »
Marie, the point of the 1 Timothy quote was to illustrate that there are ways Christians are called to have solidarity with subsets of humanity and subsets of the Church. Refusing to distinguish between one's family and people in general is un-Christian. That is, a Christian, as part of living the Christian faith, is called to have a kind solidarity (group membership/allegiance/loyalty/connection) with his family and household that he doesn't have with people or even Christians generally. Solidarity is not un-Christian. Solidarity based on race is. This point couldn't be more explicit in the article.

What conclusion do you find in the article that is questionable? 

James

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1480
  • Guard Personal Information! Doxxing trolls present
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 12:37:16 PM »
Please ... for the sake of further discussion, define systemic racism and provide concrete examples of its existence in the LCMS.

Thank you!

In short, I do not follow how the Forum article concludes that racism is not systemic in the USA.
Mrs Meyer ... as we await Rev Speckhard’s response to your inquiry, could you help us understand how you apparently have arrived at your conclusion that systemic racism exists ... beginning with your definition of systemic racism. Thank you.
If necessary, there will be a peaceful transfer of power on Jan 20, 2021.

In the event election fraud is proven in the courts of our country, there will be an inauguration ceremony ... no transfer of power necessary.

Mark Brown

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1138
  • Pastor, St. Mark Lutheran, West Henrietta, NY
    • View Profile
    • Saint Mark's Website
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2020, 03:43:12 PM »
Peter, that was a great article.  I don't really have anything to add.  That distinction between things we are called to find solidarity in, and things that are substitutes for that, was perfect.

mariemeyer

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4219
    • View Profile
Re: Solidarity and Unity
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2020, 02:25:53 PM »
Peter writes, "I do not believe we have any systems of racism in our congregation or church body.  By adopting that terminology, we wrench the conversation onto the foundation of a world view that I do not accept."

Peter and I differ in that I think racism, while not as extensive as it was prior to the sixties, continues to be systematic within the LCMS and our nation.  What I do not follow in his article is how my position wrenches the conversation onto the foundation of a world view he cannot accept.   

 I understand that the biblical world view for human relationships within the Kingdom of the Right is grounded in God’s relationship to all who acknowledge the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as their God and Lord. Thus, the relationship between black and white persons in the Kingdom of God originates in and is sustained by God's relationship to both. IOW, the biblical world view for human relationships within the Kingdom of God is that we are to relate to one another as God relates to each and all. 
 
Within the Kingdom of the Right relationships are not defined in terms of how the world defines rights, equality, or solidarity.   They are grounded in the nature of God and God’s relationship to all who in the Lord’s Prayer pray asking that they be God’s instruments in accomplishing God’s will for all creation.   

In the Kingdom of the Left, Christians are God’s instruments for justice, equality, rights and solidarity based on the common humanity of all persons. Although the term "solidarity" is not found in the Bible or in the Confessions I have included in the Kingdom of the Left.

The article states, "The call to empower black voices within the LCMS assumes the LCMS has a responsibility to cultivate two separate culture within it (equitably) based on color skin."  I submit the is a false assumption. There is no such thing as two cultures within the Kingdom of God. We are a people who cannot accomplish God will within the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom on the Left until we repent of natural instinct to create and sustain cultures based on anything other than God’s will for Creation. We, all of use, need the power of God the Holy Spirit to pray the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus and Luther teach is to pray.

Marie Meyer