What would racial healing in a city look like? Why is racial healing even necessary? Aren’t we years beyond the pain between black and white? Important questions. Maybe more than we have any idea.
Healing takes time. Not only that, but it’s hard for wounds to heal without attention to them. If a wound is not cleaned, dressed and bandaged, it will persist unhealed. There’s been very little cleaning, dressing and bandaging of racial wounds in America. The Church itself hopes for a moment of repentance and forgiveness, and then let’s move on. Right?
The urban cores of American cities are rife with pain. Sure, there are many good things happening, but in the shadow of most of the good things people’s lives are torn up, and neighborhoods are blighted. Young fathers are missing, young mothers are fending, and many children are raising themselves.
What does this have to do with racial healing? Lots. Decades of de facto segregation, generational poverty and racial fear and ignorance have helped cause devastated family systems. I would argue that the call of the Scriptures to defend the cause of the fatherless, the widow and the orphan is a call to what’s real in America’s most at risk metropolitan neighborhoods. Measurable involvement by the whole Church of Jesus Christ toward solutions would in time lead to racial healing across the nation. Healed wounds don’t hurt anymore.
Racial healing would involve joining the work, the pain, the healing process with our very life energy and strategies as the Church. Racial healing would look like health, life and wholeness for people in the urban cores of America. This would lead to racial healing in America’s deepest divide, the black/white fracture.
I know everyone in the core is not African-American. I know that all the issues there are not racial. But many of them are. Just look at Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati for starters. Much of the uphill challenge in these city centers is found in the lives of people of color living in historically segregated communities.
So here’s the opportunity: What if instead of avoiding the issue, we studied it, prayed into it, built intentionally Christ-centered cross-racial friendships and congregations, rolled up our sleeves and got to work?
I’m reminded of Isaiah 65:20-22 and what a Kingdom city might look like: “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years…. They will build their houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit…. For as the days of a tree so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will enjoy the work of their hands.”
original post: April 4, 2013