Sermon illustrations


Race and Idolatry

What the early Christians did not have to deal with to the same extent that we do today is how race has become an idol. On both sides of the racial divide, so much is twisted by the social constructs we’ve formed and cling to about race. . . . We’ve made a sport of pointing out racism, when what we should be doing is focusing our prayers and actions toward creating congregations that proclaim Christ’s lordship over his entire church.

“Harder Than Anyone Can Imagine,” a Christianity Today forum responding to the book edited by Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim, United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). Christianity Today, April 2005, 41.

Racial Justice and our Global Witness

The most serious thing [concerning the credibility of our global witness] is the image around the world that evangelicals are soft on racial injustice. . . . One sign and wonder, biblically speaking, that alone can prove the power of the gospel is that of reconciliation. . . . [Hindus and Muslims] cannot duplicate the miracle of black and white together, of racial injustice being swept away by the power of the gospel. . . . Our credibility is at stake.

“Evangelicals and Racism: The Lausanne II Press Conference,” Transformation, January 1990, 29.

To Look White 

Many minorities actually try to change their appearance to look more light-skinned or white. Eliza Noh, assistant professor of Asian American studies at California State University of Fullerton describes how her sister got plastic surgery to make her eyes and nose appear more European-looking because she thought her own appearance as a minority was “ugly.” There is a boom for plastic surgery in China and Korea, where some clinics perform as many as one hundred procedures a day to reshape eyelids, noses, and faces. Dr. Kim Byung-Gun says, “They always tell me they don’t like their faces…the Chinese and Korean patients tell me that they want to have faces like Americans. The idea of beauty is more westernized recently. That means the Asian people want to have a little less Asian, more westernized appearance. They don’t like big cheekbones or small eyes. They want to have big, bright eyes with slender, nice facial bones.

Taken from The Minority Experience by Adrian Pei. ©2018 by Adrian Pei.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com


Martin Luther King, responding to criticism from Southern White Pastors with respect to Civil Rights Activism:

Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; . . . when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she’s told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; . . . when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “Nigger,” your middle name becomes “Boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; . . . when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

Martin Luther King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/frequentdocs/birmingham.pdf.

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