Why Ethnic Reconciliation?

Normally, I write articles from the comfort of my study. today is a little different. I’ve been out and about all day and as I’ve been traveling, I have had a thought come to me that I don’t think I have ever actually addressed here on my page. So, here I am with a few minutes and a glass screen that fits in the palm of my hand.

Why is there a need for racial/ethnic reconciliation? What needs to be reconciled? 40 acres? A mule?

When I call for reconciliation, I am calling for something much greater than that. Reconciliation by definition refers to the idea of injustice. Another way to consider it is the following:

Reconciliation is needed when a person or people group has been wronged, and there is a need of restitution for the wrong doing so that both parties can thrive in unity.

Racial/Ethnic Reconciliation is not chiefly about ending racism or white supremacy though those things fall under its umbrella. Ethnic reconciliation is about recognizing the place a marginalized person or group has in the world due to their ethnicity and seeking to acknowledge, restore value, and ascribe dignity to them in the midst of a world that does not. When we consider the church, ethnic reconciliation is the pursuit of restoring dignity and value to people or people groups whom the world and even church itself has marginalized.

To elaborate: Due to centuries of majority culture prioritization, the church and culture have neglected to ascribe equal worth and value to minority people groups and their cultures. There are certain systems and ideologies in place within our society, culture, and church that undermine, hinder, and neglect the flourishing of these minority ethnic people groups. From socio-economic policies & bias’ to historical narratives and perceptions; certain ethnic people’s are not received as having equal standing or significance within our society and churches. Racial/ethnic reconciliation is the pursuit one takes to rightly acknowledge and restore a place of equality and acceptance other people groups should justly have within society and especially within the church.

Ethnic reconciliation is not something that should only be pursued by the majority culture towards the minority. living in a Genesis 3 world requires all of us to pursue unity along these lines. Ethnic Reconciliation also speaks to marginalized people who undervalue the positive role whites have had within society and culture as well. Racial reconciliation is the pursuit of ALL peoples to rightly value one another as fellow image bearers of God. It pursues the acknowledgement that we are all image bearers who have been endowed with differences that when recognized and appreciated glorify the creator for his creativity in molding beauty within diversity.

Some of the means in which this is accomplished are:

1. Incorporating the influences of minorities into the historical narratives where they have been cut out (read biographies about minorities and their impact on society and the world).

2. Seeking to ensure that economic & judicial structures are impartial in their application. In other words, those who pursue reconciliation are those who do all within their means to promote and defend the equality of others, especially if another is being mistreated due to ethnic, gender, or socio-economic differences.

3. Recognizing and affirming the legitimacy and value of other people group’s cultural dynamics that are different then your own and a willingness to engage with them and not just simply tolerate their existence.

Naturally, this goes both ways. Racial reconciliation is not a one-way street. It requires an openness and a willingness to share in community with people that are different than us. Though there is not a need for reconciliation any longer over issues such as slavery, we still deal with the implications of the centuries old practice. Though we do not live in a Jim Crow America, we are still dealing with the residual effects of the racialization of the era which was only a generation ago. We all must ask ourselves if we have loved others who are not like us. Are we seeking to reconcile with one another and allow our love for each other to overcome bias’ that cause us to undervalue another image bearer?

Ultimately, racial/ethnic reconciliation is the pursuit of love and the result of those who are abounding in love towards others who are not like them, especially the marginalized. Of course much more can be said about these issues but ethnic reconciliation cannot be spoken of without including these elements.

Ethnic Reconciliation is a complex and deep issue. Join me in my upcoming podcast series as I will seek to dive deep into these waters and expound on issues. A link to my podcast can be found below.

You can follow me on Twitter @KyleJamesHoward. Also, check out my podcast “Coram Deo Podcast” which focuses on issues concerning Biblical Counseling and Practical Theology. You can search for podcast on any major podcast catcher, listen on the web here, follow updates @CoramDeoPodcast, or just click the artwork below.

About Kyle James Howard

My name is Kyle, I am married to my “high-school sweetheart” and we have 3 children. I have a 7 year-old daughter (Hadassah), a 2 year-old son (Jonah), and 1 year old (Kesed). I am 32 years old and I am currently a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have an Associates degree in Biblical & Theological Studies, A B.S. in Biblical Counseling, and I am finishing up an Advanced M. Div in Historical Theology. Click on the "About Me" link at the top of my home page to read my full testimony.

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