I suggest that if Christians are to account for race in their lives, it must be seen as a matter of discipleship. Race (and ethnicity) constitute a wide set of practices, visual markers, and ways of being in the world that cannot be bypassed or become “post-racialized.” Far from imagining a “post-racial” world, the question of race reminds us of the difficulty of discerning how to live faithful lives. As disciples of Christ, we are continually discovering what aspects of our lives must be conformed more faithfully to the image of Christ, while also consecrating the particularities of our life to glorify the God that created us. The question of race confronts us with the realities of our own formation and of how our lives are shaped by something both illusory and real.
Our lives together are built upon the lies, pain, and blood of racialized life in the West. This necessitates that we recognize the power and effects of racial formation in all American identities, particularly the challenges and possibilities that racial formation poses to our Christian claim that God has called us and that somehow God’s Word has entered into our predicament. Through this entrance, God draws us into life with one another and into God’s own life. To become a disciple is to account for the ways race has formed us and shaped our vision of a Christian life that is disconnected from one another.
Brian Bantum, “Why Christians Can’t Be Post-Racial: Christian Existence in the Murky Waters of Race and Place,” The Other Journal (August 17, 2009).
[Read the Introduction to 95 Theses for Christian Racial & Ethnic Unity here.]