I am currently reading Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Multidisciplinary Studies from a Pentecostal Perspective. It was sent to me as a review copy.
Renea Brathwaite’s chapter is incredibly insightful and powerful. He gives a historical perspective about Azusa Street and does so as an African American Pentecostal scholar. He retells the story of the racist Charles Parham and the spiritually hungry William Seymour, who was African American. Parham wouldn’t allow Seymour into his school, but Seymour welcomed Parham into his church.
Brathwaite chronicles the painful road from Azusa Street. What God birthed as truly a movement that did not notice race was turned right back into race after Azusa Street was over. The road back to reconciliation is far from complete.
One sentence stops me cold: Racial interaction is not racial reconciliation.
Let’s put this in a hard perspective with the case of Trayvon Martin. Wearing a hoodie does not make us as white people “one” with African Americans. Ranting on a blog doesn’t do it, either. It’s far more work than that.
What gets it done is the cross of Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit. We need Pentecost again. We need Azusa Street again. We need the mantle of William Seymour to rest on us one more time.