Christ Crucified and Racial Solidarity

I’d like to share the video of the master’s thesis presentation of a friend of mine, Nic Don Stanton-Roark at Anderson University School of Theology. He addresses “Politics and Eucharist,” explaining why the Church’s celebration of the eucharist is a political act beyond secular understandings of politics as statecraft. It establishes a distinct community with different organizing principles than the state.

Further, following Nic’s work has contributed more than anything else toward shifting my understanding of race relations in America. That and reading Ruby K. Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Gradually, I came to see how deeply entrenched racial tension is as it is lived out over the generations. It’s not that all white people consciously hate all black people. It is true, however, that being white meant our parents and grandparents benefited in certain ways whereas being black meant that that person’s parents and grandparents were harmed in certain ways. Our status and means are handed down to us from our parents. My grandparents who went to college on the GI Bill and received a home loan handed more to my own parents than the black family could who was quietly denied home loans because of their race during the Jim Crow period.  These are hard things to realize, but they are true and there is a reason the ghettos formed in inner cities.

Racism is not at all inconsequential or a relic of history, and it’s something that Christians ought to care about because we believe that all human beings are made in the Image of God and be treated as beloved children of God.

Nic’s thesis discusses the political implications of the crucifixion of Jesus as both a state execution and a mob lynching. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to say the least, and I think it’s one of the best reasons I’ve heard articulated for why Christians ought to be inherently suspicious of the state, and also why racial solidarity is a key issue for Christians. (Not to say that the state never does anything good; we are rightly grateful for roads, basic civil order, enforceable contracts, etc. We must admit though that governments can and do abuse their power and do so quite frequently.)

Watch. Consider. Thoughts?

Nic is on Twitter

All four videos  are at this link and also below.


9 thoughts on “Christ Crucified and Racial Solidarity

  1. Two big points not covered: 1) Christ begins the transition from theocratic politics to democratic politics, that is, to a situation where Church and State become separated since, especially, Christ is King of a heavenly kingdom, not of the earthly Jewish kingdom. 2) St. Paul sets up the philosophy that the Church relies upon the State as its servant and guardian so that the Church can exist and operate in peace; we should pray for the health of the State so that the Church can prosper.

  2. Our Constitution does serve the Church through the granting and protecting of our freedom of religion as a primary principle of our national identity.

    • I absolutely agree with all your comments. In practice though, things get harder. Some of the recent Obamacare rulings are pretty clear that freedom of religion means what the government wants it to mean, not what we want it to mean. I posted a good video a few months ago called “The Perils of Religious LIberty” by Yuval Levin. He is Jewish and conservative and writes for First Things, and does an good job clearly outlining that mere religious toleration isn’t the freedom to actively live a set of values that differ from the norm.

      That said, I think fruitful coexistence and real religious freedom are both realistic.

      • Yes, with separation of Church and State, people are free to be religionless, and liberal government officials like Obama are afraid to invoke God publicly and officially, and by his example, the religionless become bolder, and by his example, the religionless multiply, and those with religion become threatened because we are not the majority anymore.

      • True. To be fair, we have sometimes squandered our majority privileges. But ultimately yes, freedom of conscience is not the same as freedom of religion

  3. Freedom of Religion allows Christ to shine through in the midst of multiple religions in spite of the reality of division which this freedom supports. Freedom of religion, ultimately becomes a weapon against division and for unity since the freedom enable Christ’s truth to “bubble up” everywhere.

  4. The more people seek unity in the USA, the more they will seek the Eucharist since one of Its goals is unity, one body in Christ. We are all destined for that unity, whether on earth or afterward.

  5. Hey sweetie–I am really enjoying the posts, even if I can’t comprehend all the nuances all the time, like in references, but I sure do get the concepts…well most of them, probably! Anyway, it seems to me that this is healing work that you are doing and that’s awes beyond words. Thanks for all you are doing.

    love, dad

    p.s. do you have any of Ms. Holbrook’s cards left to share…?

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