One of the first steps in the journey toward Beloved Community is to take our own experience of baptism seriously by following Jesus as he walks wet into the world.
Each of the synoptic Gospel writers is clear in telling us that after Jesus’ own baptism, his first order of business was to resist evil and to speak truth. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus went into the wilderness to wrestle with principalities and powers of this world’s system and speak truth to them. We are told that after an exhausting spiritual battle, Jesus was ministered to by angels.
New Baptist Covenant is a movement of individuals and congregations who are building bridges toward Beloved Community by speaking truth about the artificial socio-political construct of race while dismantling policies, practices and perspectives which undergird the very real and harsh reality of racism in this country. Color and colorism relentlessly categorize and place people into castes in American culture while far too many Christians ignore the biblical claim that “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth” – Acts 17:26.
The racialization of persons in this country is horrendous and leads to disastrous consequences. Among other things, it has led to the near extinction of one people group, the enslavement of another, the diminishment and oppression of others and the “whiteization” of some nationalities. It has led to inequities in economics, education and health. It has fostered hate crimes, vigilantism, segregated and gated communities.
Perhaps most disconcerting for the church is that racialization run amuck has called into question the veracity of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the effectiveness of Christ’s church. Maybe Paul was wrong when he said that in Christ “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free.” (Galatians 3:28)
The Rev. Starlette Thomas believes that the church is called to proclaim a raceless gospel. She writes in her blog, “We need to take race to task theologically and really think about what it means to our faith. We need to ‘have a little talk with Jesus’ about race and the ways in which it malforms the body.”
The raceless gospel, Thomas proclaims, is not a naïve colorblindness but the deconstructing of the very ideology of a concept that is tearing us apart and pitting us against each other. How is it possible, she asks, to be baptized in Jesus’ name and not be delivered from these debilitating delineations?
New Baptist Covenant is pleased to be a sponsor of Rev. Starlette Thomas’ brand new podcast called “The Raceless Gospel” by Good Faith Media. We commend this series to you as we continue to work together building bridges toward Beloved Community. You may listen to the first episode and subscribe to the series at https://goodfaithmedia.org/the-raceless-gospel/.
Thank you for being on this journey with us. Walking wet into the world requires confronting the illusion of race, speaking truth about it, and dismantling racism that makes of our society a barren desert.