Monday, August 10, 2009

Your Highest Concern: the Gospel or America?

by David Morris

Responses to last week’s message have been varied, from conviction to questions to slight disagreement. One recurring question has been: Is it fair to link racism to a dislike of Spanish becoming a prominent language in our valley and nation? Can’t we just dislike a system that is failing to help people integrate into American culture?

It seems to me that we often cloak our preference for our own culture and ethnicity, including language, behind concern for “America.” As believers, our identity is not in America, or black, or white, or rich, or poor. So it seems counter-Gospel to me that challenges to those distinctions should bother us. Our highest concern is the progress of the Gospel, not the language on our billboards. What I’m arguing is that helping people integrate into the American culture is a sub-Christian activity. Maybe that’s fine for political systems or social programs, but how does that fit into God’s plan for the Church? We need our Hispanic neighbors to become Christian, not American.

When it comes to global missionaries, we expect them to surrender English as their primary language, American food for their new culture’s, the kind of houses we have, etc. But for us to give up our claim to having “our” language predominant, or to fear our big houses “losing value” because certain ethnicities begin moving in, or to see our schools start to become integrated–that seems to run across the American Christian grain. However, since we are all missionaries (Matt. 10), shouldn’t we be just as quick to surrender our preferences, language, and surroundings? And if we are not willing, could it be because we value our own ethnicity or culture over the Gospel?

I realize there are complexities in how ethnicities relate to one another. But Scripture emphasizes a level playing field, one great similarity among us all: sin-sickness and Gospel need. We can undermine our Gospel efforts if our concern is maintaining ethnic or even American distinctions. The Kingdom demands our every effort. The nations have come to America and our valley, and as stewards we must be faithful to make disciples of them all. How can we effectively do that if we resent their language and impact on our society?

2 Comments:

Blogger Garth Gaddy said...

Last week's sermon on racism, this weeks's on favoritism plus this most recent post on "Your Highest Concern:..." have been a complete and convicting look into my heart on this subject. It's why believers (like me) need to be continually fed and equipped, to root out my wicked ways. Thanks!

Mon Aug 10, 10:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Jared said...

You nailed it with this post. Thanks Dmo.

Tue Aug 11, 10:36:00 AM PDT  

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