Sunday, April 20, 2008

Celebration vs. Suffering

Last night was the 5th annual Vision Nehemiah Celebration banquet. It was a wonderful time to share together in what God is doing through Vision Nehemiah. I was given a few minutes to share the progress of the P.U.R.S.U.E. program that I am leading.

The guest speaker for the evening was Soong-Chan Rah. Rah is currently assistant professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park University. In a short time, Rah spoke a very powerful message about developing leaders. He shared with us that it is projected that by the year 2050 all of the US population will be minorities and their will be no one majority group. He talked about the importance of an emerging leadership in the church that truly represents the diversity of the church. I think that he was saying that ethnic minorities need to be allowed a voice in greater evangelicalism. I couldn't agree more.

Another thing that he talked about is two theologies that need each other. One is a theology of celebration that is largely represented in the western church especially by whites. The other is a theology of suffering that is much more global and is also representative of many minority groups in the US. He shared that need for both to hear from each other and to each learn from and complete each other. Unfortunately what happens to often is a theology of celebration tells a theology of suffering that it needs to conform to it.

In a sense, if you don't play by our rules, then we don't let you get a say in the church. That is why most college theology professors are white. Most evangelical books are written by whites. Most evangelical conference speakers are white. Because those in control just don't relate to the voices of these "others".

The church in America as a whole has not seen the value of learning from a theology of suffering and as a result our theology is often lacking.

So I ask you, do you see this too? What can be done to open doors to these leading voices that need to be heard? Will a time come when more ethnic minorities will teach in our seminaries and have their writings published?


jesse curtis said...

Hey (i got a blog!). I find it interesting that many white Americans literally feel threatened by those statistics (minorities by 2050). There will probably be significant push back against minorities in the coming decades and some conflict. The question is whether the church will be a part of this push back or be fighting against it.

KG said...

I hope that the church is a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. As white evangelicals, we need to lead the way by getting out of the way. We need to be allowing others to own the spotlight so that their voices can be heard.