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As someone over 50 years of age, I know a few things. One, I know that Jesus is the hope of real and lasting racial reconciliation. He will truly reconcile the races and all those things that divide us in the new heavens and new earth. Truly this truth keeps me going and helps rein in or tame my cynicism. Two, despite having an African-American president in the White House and other advances made along establishing and maintaining racial equality, we do not live in a post-racial society. Just consider the awful things said about Senator John McCain and his family after his son married an African-American woman. For example, someone said this, “No wonder McCain has crawled into bed with Obama…His son married a black girl! McCain is a RINO and a TRAITOR!” (See http://cocoafab.com/jack-mccain-marries-black-woman-john-mccain/). Just consider the shameless and cowardly vandalism against the statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese in Brooklyn, covering it with swastikas and racial slurs. Three, God has left the church (His contrast society, His redemptive agency) to move winsomely, courageously, and aggressively to make what will be true in the new heavens and new earth a reality on earth now; namely, God has left the church to narrow the racial divide that still exists. We will not see the gap completely closed but the church is nonetheless responsible for making some headway in this regard. Four, closing the racial divide will take the efforts of all people of all races, of all ethnicities, of all socio-economic levels, etc. This monumental task will require “all hands on deck.” Until everyone feels the wrong inflicted on another person made in God’s image, efforts to eradicate the racial divide will falter. In other words, until everyone understands we are our brother’s keeper, little progress will be made. Dr. King said this, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” That is, until everyone understands what happens to one person or a group of people invariably affects us all because our lives are intricately woven together, our efforts will stall. To be sure, we will achieve some degree of progress but I believe we will experience that proverbial “for every few steps we take forward, we take many steps backward” until we realize and appropriate that we are indeed our brother’s keeper and our lives are all amazingly interwoven. Lastly, there is a cost for remaining passive and quiet about issues related to race in our society and similarly, there is a cost for actively narrowing the racial gap. I believe the latter will cost us more – maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to get farther down the road toward real racial reconciliation? This reminds me of what Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797), Irish orator, philosopher, and politician said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Actively narrowing the racial divide will take good men and women to DO something otherwise, such shameful and racist acts and words like those against McCain and President Obama and others will persist.

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