Main, Opinion, z36
Comment 1

White Privilege Christians

Oakland Protest Photo: Jaegar Moore/Flickr/Creative Commons

Oakland Protest Photo: Jaegar Moore/Flickr/Creative Commons

I was offended recently by a newspaper article from a local feminist Rosemary Westwood. She talked about white Christians like me and our privilege, and how we need to adjust our thinking, as we are “forced to listen.”

White Christian culture is declining and losing influence, and people are resentful as they lose their position. There is a popular idea that Christianity is the religion of white privilege, and it will die, as the surrounding support system erodes and gives way to something new.

A news video shows a race riot on Milwaukee with people stopping traffic and “beating all the white people.”

I am offended but Rosemary Westwood is correct.

I’m offended because most of the people I know are not privileged, we have to work for everything, and we always settle for less. I think that makes us working class, and most people do not want to be us. We have to make our own luck and build our own success, and then we have to pay our taxes, and the mortgage.

All the attention is on the few VIPs who seem to have it all, and yes, many of them are white. I think a lot of immigration to western countries is inspired by Hollywood, and the perfect lives of movie stars. As you read this, you know how you struggle with your life, just like all my friends.

No one looks at us and thinks “privilege.”

So join me in being offended; but Rosemary Westwood is correct. The world is changing. Your slice of the pie will be thin when it gets to you.

There are two ways of looking at the world, and both are correct, but the first one ends in frustration. We can look back at grievances, which leads us to blame and judge, and act out in anger. The world is full of historical grievances, and people are right to be angry.

That’s why we have the IRA, and Black Lives Matter, and the Communist Revolution.

But the big problem with history is that we can never change it. We can rage at injustice, but we can’t go back and make it right. Burning down the neighborhood will not change the words in history books; the grievances will live on.

We have another perspective; we can look to the future, where we can make a difference, but then we have to drop the blame and say “it’s not my fault, but it is my responsibility.” Someone took the Founder of my religion and nailed Him to a cross, and laughed while He died, but He prayed “Father forgive them.”

Jesus forgave and released the past, and sent His followers out to make something new. Christians should never fight for the best deck chairs as the old ship sinks.

White privilege is a bubble, and it will burst when governments can’t borrow enough money to cover our outrageous expenses. The university where I worked costs the taxpayers one billion dollars a year, and we have four universities. American universities live on student loan money paid as tuition.

I think that bubble has already burst.

Also, Christianity is not white. Next Sunday, more Christians will worship Jesus in China, than in the USA, and the same trend is true in Africa and Latin America. The followers of Jesus bypassed the centers of money and power while the world was looking at the important people; just like in the first century.

My Pentecostal church resemble the General Assembly of the United Nations; my brothers and sisters, with their different languages, and clothes, and skin colors.

Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15).

One subtlety we might miss is the Greek preposition for “As you go …” or “Going into …” After we are set free from the prison of the past, we will go out and hustle, and make new things. While we are doing that, we should also make new disciples for Jesus. Our privilege must be shared.

So do some western Christians have “feelings of those who sense a slipping grip on power?” Yes.

But God promised something new: “forget all that, it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18 and 19)

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