Tish Harrison Warren sets the framework of how Christians SHOULD handle history… and then exposes the horrible way in which we try to stay comfortable:
We’re struggling now as a society with how to tell the truth about how white supremacy has shaped our history and institutions. Several states have recently passed laws against teaching “critical race theory.” The imprecise language of these laws provides “cover for those who are not comfortable hearing or telling the truth about the history and state of race relations in the United States,” as Rashawn Ray and Alexandra Gibbons point out in a Brookings Institution paper.
First, distinguish between deconstruction and reform. The church is a Christ-made institution, but it is also a sinful institution. It always needs reform. If a person’s frustration with the church arises from the biblical vision of community, that’s not deconstruction. It’s calling the church back to the gospel.
There is a deep work of the Spirit that is being done… and we need to recognize it! Let us get our sails up and ask the wind of the Spirit to catch those sails and take us to new places.
What a sinful church needs is not deconstruction but deep construction. We have to forsake shallow critique to build a more faithful vision of the community of Jesus. But we cannot do it without holding to the deposit of faith we’ve received from the historic and global church. We cannot do it without the truth of Scripture. And we cannot do it without the Holy Spirit.
My greatest example of the magic of trivial conversation came from my late father. He was named “funniest-friendliest person” by the local newspaper in the small Texas county I was born in. Really. That’s a real award. My dad had friends across the political spectrum. He saw a person’s ability to find a moment of levity — a laugh about the Aggie vs. Longhorn rivalry — as more important than the person’s political affiliation. He saw the demonization of your political opponents as a character flaw, not a mark of purity or passion.
I am a Christian today not because it answers all my questions about the world or about our current suffering. It does not. And not because I think it is a nice, coherent moral order by which to live my life. And not because I grew up this way or have fond feelings about felt boards and hymn sings. And not because it motivates justice or helps me to know how to vote. I am a Christian because I believe in the Resurrection. If it isn’t true, to hell with it. (Tish Harrison Warren)