Faith and Racism

racism cloudThere are only a few hard and fast rules in the life of faith. One of them is that you cannot be a person of faith and a racist. The two are mutually exclusive. You can be a person of faith who is working earnestly to eliminate the vestiges of racism in your life. The standard here is not perfection, the standard is progress. If you are in a church on Sunday while believing that some races are inferior to others, you are a hypocrite. Period. No exceptions. Your best course of action would be to skip church and spend your time getting education and attending workshops around racism and issues of diversity.

Some would argue that this kind of absolute statement is inappropriate because it will cause people to stop engaging in discussion. I beg to differ. There are some issues in which there is no middle ground. The majority of issues do have a number of valid viewpoints inherent in them, but some are so important that a middle ground simply doesn’t exist. We have allowed for a middle ground in issues of race in the hopes that people would come around, but in truth the middle ground has been used as a place to hide for far too long. Church leaders may be afraid that if they speak out on issues like racism they will lose members. The truth is that they never had those people to begin racism handswith.

Until we are willing to take a strong stand on issues that frankly cost people their lives every day, we aren’t people of faith. If we aren’t willing to make a meaningful commitment to our spiritual lives, then our spiritual lives have no meaning. If we aren’t willing to say to friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers, even strangers we encounter on the street or in the grocery store that racist attitude and action are not acceptable, then our faith is gossamer thin and more illusion than substance. If these statements bother you, it’s a pretty strong indication you have some work to do.

Unavailable Relationships

We all carry a certain amount of emotional baggage. Often that baggage impacts our relationships before they even start. How can that be?

If you find yourself attracted to person after person who, it turns out, is emotionally or otherwise unavailable, then c31cdbdfc67fa1e1c379ea4fa3a8f608any “relationship” you believe you are engaged in is doomed from the start. For example, if you are attracted to someone who is in a committed relationship then in point of fact you may not be attracted to them but rather to their relationship status. Why? Someone who is already in a relationship is in no position to decide to take their relationship with you to the next step. If you are still attracted to them the truth may be that you find them to be “safe” because they won’t ask you for a real commitment. Many people in these scenarios begin to panic when it looks like their committed boyfriend or girlfriend might leave their partner, to the point where suddenly they aren’t attracted to them any longer!

The same is true for people who are emotionally unavailable. If you are with someone who never tells you they care about you, or who never tells you anything of any depth about themselves, or who seems relatively disinterested in you, you may actually be attracted to their emotional unavailability. You may not be ready or able to be open to anyone else and so might unconsciously be looking for someone who is in the same boat. The problem is that when either you or the other person start to get healthier and actually want an emotionally intimate relationship, the other person is likely to run away.

In the end, if you are really looking for any kind of relationship at all, you would be best to start with someone who is available on all levels. That’s not asking a lot.