Archive for August, 2013

I Have a Dream, Too.

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Today is the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I used to write a Bible study column for a Christian motorcycle newsletter and wrote once on the subject of race. Today’s anniversary reminded me of that subject and I decided to dig it up and post it here. Thank you for reading.

Keeping the Faith
by Michael Leffew

I am a “child of the 60’s”, the “peace and love” generation. We were going to be the generation to change the world and change it for the better. One of the things we were going to fix was racism. Racism and prejudice would have no place in our brave, new world.
I remember segregation. I remember “Whites Only” signs at public places. Even though the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional in 1954, it was 1964 before I had a class that was not all white. Anyone who remembers these things must admit that we have, indeed, come a long way from those times, but we’ve still got a way to go, and anyone who looks at it truthfully will have to admit that, also. Maybe my grandchildren’s generation will finally be the ones to put this behind them and go forth to that time when, as Dr. King put it, they can “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Let’s hope so.
OK, this is a Bible study column, so let’s see what the Word has to say about this subject. To start with, we are ALL (according to the Bible) descended from Adam and Eve (Gen 3:20), and, further, descended from Noah (He and his family were all that survived the flood Gen 8:23) and of “one blood” (Acts 17:26) so it follows that we are all related, hence all of the same “race”. What “race” was Adam? The Bible doesn’t say, but the Hebrew root word that is translated “Adam” is the same word that later is translated “Edom” and means “red”. Doesn’t sound like he was a “white” man does it? I hate to shake your beliefs but Jesus was probably not “white” either. But, whatever color someone is, the Bible says there is only one race, so “racism” itself is a ridiculous idea.
Genesis 6:9 says that Noah was “perfect in his generations”. Some, even some so-called religious leaders, have used this to say he was “racially pure”. According to the story of the ark, Noah’s father Lamech and grandfather, Methuselah, were alive at the time Noah entered the ark. If “perfect in his generations” meant racially pure, and this “racial purity” was the reason that he was spared when the rest of the “racially mixed” people of the world were destroyed, explain how his grandfather and father could be racially mixed and he be pure. Yet, they were destroyed in the flood along with the rest of creation. (Methuselah died the day of the flood, but the point is this: if they were “racially pure” and this was the criteria for being spared, why were they not spared? And if they were not “pure” how could the younger generation, Noah, be “pure”?)
There are many verses that have been used over the years to justify a position against “mixing races” that when examined will prove to be not about racial mixing at all, but about mixing believers and nonbelievers. Exodus 34:10-16 and Deuteronomy 7:1-6 both prohibit the Israelite’s mixing with the peoples that were in the land before them, but they are clearly for religious, not racial reasons. In the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 6:14 commands us not to be unequally yoked, but again, this is talking about believers being yoked with unbelievers.
Moses was one of the greatest heroes of the Bible, so important that at the transfiguration he appeared with Elijah and Jesus. Moses, according to the Bible, married a black woman. That’s right, she was an Ethiopian, an African. Another Ethiopian, this time the Ethiopian eunuch, was one of the first converts to Christianity when Phillip (Acts 8:26-40) baptized him on the road.
Jesus’ parable about the good Samaritan is a study in how we are to act toward others (Luke 10:30-37). Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well is his example of how to treat others. His disciples would not have even talked with this woman, she was, one, a woman and, two, a Samaritan, both of which, they felt, put her “below” them (John 4:9-42). Jesus, however, did not treat her as if she were an inferior.
There are many more examples in the Bible concerning this topic, but the bottom line is we are all created in God’s image and to somehow consider someone inferior because of how He created them is to insult God!
What does the Word say about how we are to treat one another in regards to “race”? 1 Samuel 16:7 says God looks at the heart while man looks at the outward appearance. We should try to be more like God. And, finally this, Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Vaya con Dios
Michael Leffew

Scriptural References:
Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.(italics added)
Gen 7:23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. (Italics added)
Ex 34:10 Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD , will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD , whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
15 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
Leviticus 19:18…. thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Luke 10:30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
John 4:9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Acts 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;