At the age of ten I moved from Toronto Canada to a small town in South Carolina. There I remember boarding a bus one day. As a kid I immediately ran to the very back seat of the bus to enjoy my ride. No sooner did I sit down when the bus driver sternly announced to me, “This bus is not moving until you move forward!” I had no idea why I had to do that, but I obediently followed his order. Later I learned about the race situation and how blacks sat toward the back and whites toward the front, something I could not understand. By the way, racial prejudice was not only in the South. I have seen it in all parts of America.
Echoes of Eden
During my high school years in Los Angeles our church young people often drove to Watts to a large black church on Sunday nights after our evening service to enjoy the music of their wonderful choir. The program, Echoes of Eden, was broadcast throughout the area. I was entranced by the beautiful music. I could have listened to it by the hours. Their distinctive harmony and rhythm is unmatched by white people. I’ll never forget how they sang their theme song, “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me.”
Hatred or preference?
Because of our somewhat segregated society I have never had much chance to get close to black people, but I have never felt that they are inferior to white people. Through my years as a pastor I have pastored mostly in rural areas where there were not many blacks; however, whenever I have met blacks I have invited them to our church where they were well received. I think for the most part, blacks prefer to worship in their own churches with it’s distinctive music and style of preaching and whites prefer their churches. With godly blacks and whites, it not a matter of racial hatred; but purely preference. Personally, I would be pleased for our congregation to reflect the racial mix of the community. One thing is for sure, in Heaven the racial mix will be a beautiful, holy bouquet of all the races and nationalities of the world rejoicing with music and praise beyond our comprehension.
Our daughter just adored little black babies. On some occasions she did baby-sitting for a black couple and she loved it. When she was a teenager I remember preaching a sermon on the race issue. In that sermon I said that I would far rather have my daughter marry a godly black man than an ungodly white man. I don’t have a problem with the intermarriage of blacks and whites. Marriage has its problems of adjusting to one another. Some of these problems may be intensified in an interracial marriage, but if a couple loves one another and if they will work through potential problems during their courtship, they can have a good marriage. I’m not promoting or opposing interracial marriages. I’m just saying such a marriage can work if it is built on Christ.
I wish some blacks were not so hung up on being known as African-Americans. Most American blacks have never even been to Africa. Why not just be known as an American? I was born in Peru, the son of an American father and a Canadian mother. I do not think of myself as a Peruvian-American. or a Peruvian-Canadian-American. How silly that would be. None of us like to see anyone get preferential treatment in school or in the business world because of their race or nationality. Minorities make it more difficult to be accepted when they push for special treatment. When my boys were teens and looking for work I believe there were times when they were rejected for jobs because of racial quotas and they were not the right color. That did not seem fair. Equality is right. Preferential treatment because of race or color is wrong.
It is my observation that throughout America wherever I have lived I have seen most blacks and whites accept one another cordially in their neighborhoods. If a person is clean and friendly, I have no problem with him as a neighbor, regardless of his color. If he is dirty and noisy and disrespectful, I want to be as far away as possible from him, regardless of his color. The point I make is that his color is irrelevant.
Civil Rights Movement
I am not one for marching in the streets for any cause, but I think the Civil Rights Movement was badly overdue in America. I’m glad for brave blacks and whites who fought the battle for equality fifty years ago.
None of us whites are slave holders and none of the blacks in America are or were slaves. Why don’t we all just put the race issue to rest once and for all and start living as proud Americans.
One in Christ
The Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:28 shows the difference that Christ makes in our lives when we are truly born again. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Revelation 5:9 the Apostle John describes the great throng of redeemed saints in Heaven “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people group and nation.” No truly born again Christian, black, white, Asian, Spanish, or Native American has any business being a segregationist. If he is, he is a shame to the cause of Christ.