Stanley Rayfield's Black Jesus

Facing Down the Malignant Cancer of Racism

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Hate and racism are cancers. Their object is deformation and destruction. Those who incubate these diseases (in whatever stage) in their hearts deform the Image of God in themselves and destroy others made in that self-same Image. This violence against another—nation, sate, race, party, or person—in the name of God, religion, supremacy, difference, or fear is a malignant twisting of truth. Facing down the malignant cancer of racism is a major calling of Christians today.

The heart breaking, hate driven shootings in Buffalo, NY and a second shooting a day later in a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, CA that may have been racially motivated only highlight a deeper problem.

White Christians need to join our sisters and brothers of color in the battle against this unbiblical and unChrist-like hate. Like cancer, the more we deny or ignore it the more it spreads.

Living Against Racism

How To Face Down Racism

We must admit it exists even in our own lives and churches. We need to talk honestly about it. And we need to act against it, including praying for God to show us the beauty of his diverse creation of humans. Below is a prayer I wrote to help bring us into alignment with God in understanding diversity. 

Father, 

Help me 

See you in

A billion faces of humanity spilled from your artistic heart.

Intricate conceptions living on landscape harsh and grand.

Daubed with brilliant and eternal hints of you.

Each a single expression of your face,

Though even together not complete,

Fallen now like tarnished snow,

A vast gallery in need of everlasting grace.

Jesus,

Forgive me for closing my eyes

And heart to your delicious

Creation diversity.

Forgive my fear that casts out love

Of those different from me. 

Cleanse me and our world of this cancer.

Holy Spirit,

Give me eyes of wonder and compassion 

That see as worthy

 Of love.

The small and great, strong and weak,

Young and old, poor and rich,

Twisted and torn, them and us,

Because of your exquisite touch.

Let me see you

Even, yes, even in my enemy. 

AMEN

Max and Eugene

You can find an older version of this prayer here.

My blogs In the Face of Painful Racial Injustice, How Should You Respond? and A Prayer Against Violence: An Honest Conversation with God will be of further help.

5 thoughts on “Facing Down the Malignant Cancer of Racism”

  1. Georgie Ann Kettig

    having a “melting pot” society is not a simplistic situation in any possible way of looking at it,… more so even than “physical appearances”, I think that behaviors and attitudes create undercurrents of “friction and unpleasantness” that are very difficult for “human beings” to handle “in their own strength” to bring about “positive outcomes”,…

    where is our “source of unity”?,… the only possible unifying source that comes to my mind is “God”, but humans don’t even agree about that topic,… somehow “the individual” and “the collective” both need to desire “peace and acceptance”, and be willing to examine how that might become possible,… are there things that we can learn to “sacrifice”, “relinquish”, “give up” that would lead to the improved “common good”?,… how easy would this be for people to contemplate?,…

    can we identify the “obstacles” honestly?,… one little (honest) comment that I’ve been prone to making when the “racist” topic comes up, is “my goodness ~ I don’t even really ‘like’ a lot of the folks that look like me, based on the way that they’re acting!”,…

    I will say that the ongoing effort to be willing to “pay honest compliments” to people that I’m meeting or passing by, has been producing more friendly greetings and smiles than I’ve seen in a long time,… but maybe we’re all just “sick and tired” of the COVID restrictions and isolations, and are just more willing to “jump in the sandbox” together as a form of relief!,… “whatever works”!,… (-:

    1. Georgie Ann Kettig

      having been raised by parents who were very concerned about this “issue”, and who devoted their lives to trying to “be and do better”, both overtly and quietly, I’ve had a long time to contemplate our ongoing “societal situation”, as it “ebbs and flows” in this regard,… (btw, I am “old” now, myself!),…

      looking at an “individual picture”, I think any one of us can make our own efforts to be “friendly and open-minded”, as we engage with those around us,… and we can, of course, pray and join with those who do,…

      but as we do these things, I think we’re going to be noticing the “flow of the tide of human attitudes and opinions” that can be both unpredictable and complex in ways that go beyond the individual’s ability to accommodate and “meet all needs”,… at some point, we have our own personal values to defend and “be true to”, in the midst of many challenges,…

      we have to accept that “life can certainly be bigger than we are (as individuals)”, and that some “ideals” actually create conflicts that we’re unable to handle in ways that “make everyone happy”,… this is true even within families!,…

      my own focus in “living this life”, would be to be concerned with “doing it with integrity”, “honoring God”, and making my best efforts to “do and be” the best person that God has created me to be, honoring whatever talents and abilities He has given me,… and I would appreciate that others be encouraged to do the same things, with regard to their own lives,…

      of course, there will be all kinds of differences between us!,… but I don’t see a need for competition or envy,… if we learn to appreciate the “simple but blessed” gifts that God has provided for everyone, in simple living, we can become sharers and givers and partakers of many wonderful things,…

      above, I asked the question ~ “what could humans willingly contemplate ‘giving up’ that would/could bring more overall peace in our lives?”,… the “stumbling blocks” that I see, first and foremost, are the “attitudes” and “resentments” against one another, the “pride” and “accusations”,… if we look at God as the Great Provider, rather than looking at each other with automatic criticism and judgment, I think we could find a lot more happiness and peace and contentment, and would probably be more satisfied and blessed, than we can currently imagine,…

    2. Thanks for both of your comments. You never remain on the surface. Unity in diversity is key and so hard. The melting pot only often conformed people and tolerance is a weak solution. Dignity bestowed because of God’s imbued worth in all of us is a stronger response. I hope you continue to receive dignity and to bestow it.

      1. Georgie Ann Kettig

        often we think of “God is Love” as being a basic principle that we (all God’s creatures) should be able to apply to help solve these “issues of conflict” that arise among us,… and sometimes it does seem to be powerful enough to help for awhile,… (and I am very grateful for those times of blessing, when they do come!),…

        but in reading your comment about “dignity”, I was reminded that “Love” is necessarily built upon a foundation of “respect”,… and issues of “right and wrong” and “law and order” become underlying principles and concepts that will support “respect”, if present, or undermine it, if absent and neglected,…

        I think that God shows us that this is so (in no uncertain terms), in His instructive Word, the Bible, by giving us “the Ten Commandments”, and many examples of human successes and failures,…

        basically, just “doing our own thing”, willy-nilly, without regard for the respectful foundation that God would have us co-operate and build, individually and together, is not really a recipe for finding “joy and happiness” and spontaneously creating successful enduring “Love”,…

        the problems that humans have, show us the work that we need to do, (I would say, first, on our own selves!), in order to be able to be respectful of God and Life and others, in such a way that we create a stronger and more unified foundation that we can then continue to build improvements on,…

        I think that “history” shows us a developmental “long road” where “patience and persistence” in well-doing are fundamental to overall enduring successes, where we each play a part, hopefully in harmony with a whole,… it’s “ok” to blend in and serve one another,… “humility” is a good and healthy thing,… it’s hard to have “bonding” without it,…

        too often, humans want to stop at “being right” ~ but “being right” and “self-righteous” at the same time doesn’t work,… this brings on the “issues” of pride, ego, self-will, opinions, etc ~ all of which Christ came to heal us and set us free from,…

        I’m reminded of Galatians 5:22,23 ~ the Fruit of the Spirit ~ “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

        incorporating a sense of “God-given dignity” with “humility and love for oneself and for others” would seem to be a good path to be walking on,… for a lifetime,… not really something we can do on our own, without God,… but I’m sure if we ask, He will help us,…

  2. Georgie Ann Kettig

    often we think of “God is Love” as being a basic principle that we (all God’s creatures) should be able to apply to help solve these “issues of conflict” that arise among us,… and sometimes it does seem to be powerful enough to help for awhile,… (and I am very grateful for those times of blessing, when they do come!),…

    but in reading your comment about “dignity”, I was reminded that “Love” is necessarily built upon a foundation of “respect”,… and issues of “right and wrong” and “law and order” become underlying principles and concepts that will support “respect”, if present, or undermine it, if absent and neglected,…

    I think that God shows us that this is so (in no uncertain terms), in His instructive Word, the Bible, by giving us “the Ten Commandments”, and many examples of human successes and failures,…

    basically, just “doing our own thing”, willy-nilly, without regard for the respectful foundation that God would have us co-operate with and build, individually and together, is not really a recipe for finding “joy and happiness” and spontaneously creating successful enduring “Love”,…

    the problems that humans have, show us the work that we need to do, (I would say, first, on our own selves!), in order to be able to be respectful of God and Life and others, in such a way that we create a stronger and more unified foundation that we can then continue to build improvements on,…

    I think that “history” shows us a developmental “long road” where “patience and persistence” in well-doing are fundamental to overall enduring successes, where we each play a part, hopefully in harmony with a whole,… it’s “ok” to blend in and serve one another,… “humility” is a good and healthy thing,… it’s hard to have “bonding” without it,…

    too often, humans want to stop at “being right” ~ but “being right” and “self-righteous” at the same time doesn’t work,… this brings on the “issues” of pride, ego, self-will, opinions, etc ~ all of which Christ came to heal us and set us free from,…

    I’m reminded of Galatians 5:22,23 ~ the Fruit of the Spirit ~ “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

    incorporating a sense of “God-given dignity” with “humility and love for oneself and for others” would seem to be a good path to be walking on,… for a lifetime,… not really something we can do on our own, without God,… but I’m sure if we ask, He will help us,…

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