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10.30.2005    |    Skin deep
Monica Bhide, an author of cookbooks, writes in today's Washington Post of racism she's been a victim of.

Ms. Bhide is coy to the point of annoyance as to her ethnicity (she is Indian), but she is clear on the fact that she has brown skin. And that some ignorant Americans have seen her skin color and assumed she was an enemy -- an Arab. Getting past the fact that many Arabs hate, in no particular order, Americans, Christians, Jews, and Hindus, it ought never surprise when ignorant people act ignorantly. Many Arabs are ignorant in this regard, or are fed heinous propaganda and make the worse error of believing it. But this gives us no liberty to return the favor.

Those of us who are pleased to call ourselves Christians (far too-well pleased, if you ask me...) should know that we all sin, and ignorant prejudice is but a small consequence of our fallen nature. Thus, no one should be surprised at the racist ignorance shown by some. The miracle is that there isn't more of this, given that we are at war with Islamic extremists, including many Arabs.

To expect more is to have an unrealistic view of human nature, to assume that we can actually internalize and live the message that Paul gave to the Galatians (3:28):
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
No, skin color isn't mentioned. Doesn't need to be; the message that we are all one is universal.

What of those not Christian? Well, we are also taught by Jesus that all people are our neighbors, even those pesky Samaritans. For amplification: at the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, the Samaritans were a sect of Judaism considered weird and unclean by the mainliners who ran things at the Temple in Jerusalem. Sort of like the dalit of today's India. Samaritans, like dalit, were, literally, "untouchable" by those who considered themselves superior.

Ms. Bhide, Welcome to the United States, an allegedly Christian nation. Well, some of us. We're trying, in both senses of that word. Most of us mean no harm, and don't really care what color your skin is. If you think that the ignoramuses who reviled you are typical, you are wrong.


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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.