By Andy Hale
Advent felt like Lent this year. The tone and tenor of the 2020 experience felt like a fitting end to dawn ashes, sackcloth, and uncomfortable reflection.
Not only was 2020 a year highlighted with the deaths of nearly 2 million people from the COVID-19 virus, with almost 80 million more infected and countless feeling the brunt of job loss, but it was a year of painful conversations about our societal norms. For many, this was an eye-opening year, wherein they finally saw that racism, sexism, and xenophobia are still alive and thriving.
At the center of these painful conversations is the Church, which has played a pivotal role in propagating the myth of white Americano-European superiority. While many will wrestle with this fact as a reality, others might consider this as a mode of operation of the past.
While it is true that through imperialism, colonization, segregation, exploitation, and conquest, the Church has often continued stood silent or fanned the flame of white dominance through politics, land speculation, housing development, economic discrimination, and fear-mongering.
“Notwithstanding the critical importance of heaven and forgiveness, this shortsighted version of Christianity presented during the conquest of the Americas ignores the biblical value of justice and the social dimensions of Jesus’ redemption,” said Robert Chao Romero, on the CBF Podcast. “It thereby allowed for the genocide and dehumanization of native and African communities, and the presentation of a corrupt and distorted gospel.”
Romero is a Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies at UCLA. He is the author of a new book, Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy