Talks Church, Talks Social Issues

Color Blindness

You know, there really is nothing new in life

Everything is recycled from the past in one form or another. Hipsters, for example. I’ve been calling them “Hippies with student loans” for at least 5yrs, they positively reek of hippieness. I had an uncle who was a bonafide hippie, bell bottom jeans, long hair, sideburns, wire rimmed glasses, broken down car, rock music, a girlfriend who tried LSD. They morphed into Jesus People when Chuck Smith was baptizing hippies in the Pacific Ocean, we even went on a protest with them, carrying signs! At his wedding he wore a bell bottom suit and my aunt wore a Gunny Sak dress, she “froed” her hair, scattering little flowers in it. My uncle was a McGovern voter in 1972. McGovern, much like Sanders, was a grass roots, anti-war liberal who won the loyalty of students and young adults across the nation. Discontentment with the “Establishment” was a hallmark of his campaign.

Hipsters today are much the same. Thrift store clothes, indie music, long beards, shaved or weird hair, tattoos, piercings, funky glasses, eschewing suburban lives for urban neighborhoods, veganism for social reform, legal cannabis and political liberalism. Hippies were the original vegans, the lovers of commune living and bohemian clothes. They experimented with every drug and I believe they are largely behind the push to legalize marijuana today (they’ve been smoking it illegally for decades). We can credit them with pioneering advances in natural childbirth, dad’s in the delivery room, organic gardening and even homeschooling. But as I say, nothing is new… Maybe the next evolution of the trend has a new twist to it but scratch the surface and it’s the same ol’ same ol’.

On a recent car trip Bruce and I had time to talk about the startling number of police shootings of late. We lamented the passing of good men at the hands of vindictive killers. Asked ourselves why? How come? What’s going on in this country? Then Bruce, the keeper of all historic knowledge, reminded me of the race riots in the late 60’s. How the country also felt this way back then. How violence wasn’t the answer but a symptom of a deeper problem. So many episodes in our nation’s history have resulted in violence and the culture responds vehemently from every corner. Politicians use these episodes to get re-elected and retain their power base. The media uses them to garner ratings and keep the cash cow mooing, (you didn’t really think they were reporting news did you?). And religious leaders use them to shore up their interpretation of Scripture and predict the future of humanity.

The common man is left to try and make sense of it all

In today’s social media insanity we’re able to judge everything instantly. Little thought goes into our reactions, most are simply emotions, minus reason. We see more information about a given event than we can absorb. Saturation levels are reached in minutes rather than days. What comes out of our mouths is often rescinded as new information erupts. It’s a nightmare of blather that fuels any particular opinion whether true or not. Did a black teen deserve to be shot in the back while running from the police after stealing from a drug store and beating the owner while carrying a weapon? Who even knows?! But we have an opinion and we’re sticking to it and God forbid anyone ever discover the truth about the event, whichever side it lands on.

Our culture which has ingrained, generational predjuces aimed at all colors other than white, is incapable of sorting this problem out on it’s own. Yes we share a common humanity but it will always be defined by our skin color. I will never know the life experience of a Black person, even if they grew up right next door to me. They will always have a life tainted by the suspicion and predjuce of those who fear and hate. All the social media posts, late night rants and news pundit analysis won’t influence this flaw in our country. It’s a matter of people’s souls, minds and hearts. Those are things that can be governed and legislated on the outside but it takes a more profound or radical power to change their insides.

The one place I have truly known color blindness is in the church. And I don’t mean the kind of blindness that says “I don’t see color when I look at you”. That’s as bogus as a $2 bill. Of course we all see color! But color doesn’t define our regard for each other in the church, the one that Jesus died for. He is the head and all our colors make up his body. In the Church I can worship next to someone of an entirely different race and language and we are connected. I can embrace that person knowing that our love for Jesus is our commonality. I know that we are all children in God’s Kingdom and whatever our life experiences were and are we can share them freely. We know that our God is big enough to transcend them, making us complete in him. What happens to them also happens to me and it can be overcome as we live side by side and together. It’s a powerful association, one that has all the prevailing armies of Heaven at it’s disposal.

Unfortunately, I don’t think our culture is as open as it once was to the message of the Church. It may have something to do with how the Church has lived out its message to the culture. But I suspect it has more to do with the growing self involvement of the culture, including lowercase c, church culture. Me, mine and ours, is the common language of culture today. Get it for yourself, do it for yourself, get as much as you can, do anything you want, be anything you want, only you can make yourself happy, wealthy, God wants you to be happy, healthy, wealthy.

But I have hope

The greater the corruption of the culture, the greater the grace of God. As culture disintegrates, The Church grows stronger. It’s message is for all nations and languages and it draws all to it’s powerful ability to heal, restore, mend and fix broken lives in need of mercy and grace. As culture comes to the end of itself, accepting that legislation can’t begin to fix problems of the soul, The Church will become it’s answer. I pray for this, hope for this and believe and know it will one day happen.

Then we can all truly be color blind.

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