Inside Evangelicalism—On Being Black and Tired… Yet Hopeful

The problem of the color line remains.


The Color Line

In his classic work The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Dubois addresses the biggest problem in America, writing, “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.”

Dubois’ words ring truer today than ever before. The color line painfully remains. Even in evangelicalism.

I have written about the color divide in evangelical spaces before. In fact, many people of color now cringe when you mention the term ‘evangelical.’ Why is that? Are these communities gospel-adverse? To borrow from the Apostle Paul, “Certainly not!”

When it comes to minority angst surrounding the term ‘evangelical,’ it’s not a definition problem, but an identity problem.

Today, the historical meaning of the term ‘evangelical’ has given way to a political one.

And I fear the political atmosphere over the past two years has re-traced the color line. There’s been some spiritual redistricting going on in Christendom, and it’s not pretty.

On Being Black

For a black man who is intent on pursuing racial reconciliation, what I am seeing hurts. Deeply. I grew up in the black church, firmly entrenched in a culture of gifted orators and melodious music. I attended two of the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country. I earned my undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and a law degree from Howard University School of Law—which produced the lawyers who argued the historic school desegregation case. I went on to practice law in Detroit, Michigan—a city with the highest percentage of African-American residents.

For a long time, I was a minority living a ‘majority’ experience in America—surrounding ...

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