Jumbled reactions to “12 Years a Slave” movie (2)

25 11 2013

This movie is rated R, because, based on what I saw, slavery was in no way PG-13. Don’t take your kids to this one. Just try to live as if you got its message.
slave 2
My ideal follow-up would be to watch the movie with a blend of cultures and then have a frank discussion in a living room about the issues it raised. I would love to hear true feelings from black brothers and sisters (or would I?). I would love to hear that God is just and will do justly, not just in the end but now. I would love to see resolve to work together for equality, that there are concrete things we can do today to build mutual respect. But many people don’t want to discuss these things. Even some of my black friends don’t want to go back there, back to that subject.

So what should I do? Anything? I lead a ministry focused on calling the church to greater mission involvement in and beyond the USA. Many of the mission pastors I talk to say that real mission is in the 10-40 window. With satisfaction they say that such and such a percentage of their budget goes to missions, and they make sure I hear that it is to “real mission” overseas, you know, to the unreached!  Then I interact with church planters who are wanting to get that Sunday service or missional community going, to attract those “millennials” or those “nones” (who indicate they have no religion) who have given up on the church. Concerns of racism seem off the radar screen.

Oh, and then I go to a conference on multi-ethnic church and the folks there are talking about breaking the 20% minority barrier; then we’re multi-ethnic, they say. But it’s hard to keep people by talking about tough subjects –doesn’t help the attendance. Diversity, yes. Talk about power-holding? Uh, well…

But then my mind hearkens back to Jesus’ prayer in John 17 where He asked that all his disciples down through the ages be one, as He and the Father are one. And I cringe to think of the wrath of God at those white slavers; how in the fat did God restrain Himself from destroying the New World?  And I reflect on the Apostle Paul writing in First Corinthians 13 about the primacy of love, of thinking the best of others, and I shudder at the ability of the fleshly, selfish nature to obscure truth in order to sustain a lifestyle of ease. Oh friend, I die inside to consider how I may be doing the same today. O God, what am I excusing in myself, what sinful attitudes am I granting myself in the name of scriptures I choose to highlight over the grave of those I have quietly buried!




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