I went to a retreat at the church today. We came up with lots of ideas for how we could use our ministry teams to engage young people and young families.
We also heard our main speaker describe someone as “an Oriental.” This term has not been acceptable at any time during this century. So we sound not just like a church with mostly white people in it, but white people who have so little contact or concern with non-white people that we don’t even know our terminology is seriously out of date.
As we continued talking about being welcoming, I saw that a survey in our church had turned up a 2.55 out of 5 on the question of whether we have enough ethnic diversity. We have perhaps 1 or 2 percent non-white members. I said 1 on that, so there must have been people who chose 3 out of 5. For them, 1 or 2 percent seems like the appropriate ratio.
Then I remembered all the casual racism I’ve encountered at the church. Last workshop I attended I discovered that “racial ethnic” is the official term for African-Americans in our denomination. How weird is that?
My kids grew up singing “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.” The pastor pointed out pictures of children saying, “Here’s a little black boy. Here’s a little Chinese girl. And here’s a regular American girl.”
There’s a lot of casual racism. It’s not acceptable. I don’t know what to do about it, but it’s not acceptable at my church.