How long, O Lord? The continual injustice of people of colour within the Western world causes me a great deal of pain. The issue isn’t new, and I fear I’m going to have to write another blog sometime in the future addressing the same topic. The question is: which minority is next?
As a Black man, I can understand the hurt my Asian brothers and sisters are currently going through and it’s all too familiar. Just as I did for when the Black Lives Matter movement occurred in 2020, I looked to the leaders of Christian networks in the UK for a statement, an article or something. The silence is deafening. The common theme I’ve witnessed is that often the Evangelical Church wants people of colour but not our culture or what makes us distinct. They want to have diverse faces but not our voices. They want us to be seen but not heard. Our voices can only be heard if we’re not complaining or raising a concern, almost a ‘Yes Master’ relationship. We’re quick to be labelled a ‘not so flattering adjective’ such as difficult, aggressive and problematic when we do speak out.
Many will say these are exaggerated points, so I simply ask, when was the last time a national leader addressed a diversity issue when it wasn’t the topic of the day? It was well publicised that Asian hate crime in the UK has risen by 300% in first quarter of 2020, yet it’s taken a horrific attack in the US for us to even begin to address this matter. Dr Peng Wang, a lecturer at the University of Southampton, was a victim of a racist attack earlier this year where the story was reported on both the BBC News and ITV News yet there wasn’t an outcry for what happened. Does justice only matter when the victim looks like you? When you can relate to it?
To truly be a diverse Church, we need to listen and learn from our brothers and sisters who’s experience of life is not the same as ours. Lament when they lament, rejoice with one another and remember we’re all siblings in Christ. (See Romans 12:15-16) We must speak out on behalf of one another and not take the stance of silence as that indicates an indifferent attitude. Lastly, although it feels uncomfortable initially, we are to seek fellowship with people that vary from us. We can be confident that God will build His Church and deepen our joy.
The times are trying. Just as you think progress is being made, another atrocity occurs. We have to keep focused on the promise that Jesus will come back, and justice will prevail. Until then, we’ll have to continue His work.
At The Globe Church, steps are being taken to implement change. We’re listening and learning and I’m optimistic that the future of Globe will reflect this. The hiring of Mike, having myself part of the team and relationships formed with other ethnically diverse churches is a step in the right direction. We’ve still got a long way to go. Please be patient as frustrating as it sounds (I remind myself this almost daily). It’s going to be tough and we’re going to make mistakes. Maybe I’m naive but I honestly believe we can be a church that reflects the early churches in Acts where our differences shouldn’t be a barrier but something to be cherished.
I’ve benefitted greatly from the SOLA and the AACL networks. They have an abundance of articles and two podcasts addressing a variety of subjects ranging from Asian American matters to theology. I strongly recommend them.
If you’re interested in wanting to acquire more resources from a diverse range of people, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9 NIV)
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:15-16 NIV)
 Kate Ng, ‘Chinese Groups in UK Are Being Taught How to Handle Covid Hate Crimes after Brutal Attack on Lecturer’ <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-racism-chinese-hate-crimes-b1811881.html>.