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Race is Not God’s Gift to the World

by Anna Hartge

Matthew 1.18-25 shares with its readers the birth narrative of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In these few verses, one can find conflict, suspense, romance, and even a divine visitation. What began as a cause for concern became a source of celebration. The birth of Jesus Christ, his entry into the world remains the most celebrated of any historical figure or present celebrity. And as we rejoice over this gift to the world, I would ask that we consider the impact of the arrival of race in our lives.

Despite the social shroud of mystery that surrounds race, our inability to grasp the totality of its meaning and to satisfactorily explain its presence in the world, race was not a miraculous conception but a human invention. The birth of race in American society did not satisfy a prophetic declaration or fulfill the divine will of God for humanity. It was not begotten or the result of God’s love for the world. Many have attempted to trace its lineage, comparatively analyzing cultures as it relates to the size and shape of the cranium, the weight of the brain, one’s facial angle, the structure of hair, social customs, and even the possession of body lice but none have proven to be innate cues to race or a determinant of racial character. Unlike Jesus, race cannot be traced back to tribes or societies but the trail of its origin leads back to our tongues. Its lineage is found in our language, the words that we have used over time to describe persons who challenge our concept of the image of God in humanity. We are its parents, a polygamous origin.

Race is with us but it is not for us. Its entry into the world was neither a sign nor a wonder. Consequently, it is not a cause for understanding and it should not be visited with amazement. Race did not enter the world as a gift, evident in the motivation of the benefactor.

Rev. Starlette McNeill

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Pastor Venable December 21, 2010 - 9:55 am

“Its lineage is found in our language,” is such a potent statement. It sums up pretty much my stance on race as well. “Who told you, you were naked?” How did race know it was race before someone told it it was race? Awesome article sister…keep up the good work Woman of God.

Jackie December 21, 2010 - 9:42 pm

Starlette that is profound. Thank you for sharing of your gifts.


Rabbi Allen Podet December 22, 2010 - 9:44 am

This is an incisive and insightful piece, pointing clearly to the artificial and arbitrary nature of racial identity. A single grouping that includes, say, Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice together with their exact opposites in lawfulness, intellect, morality, talent, humanitarian concern, and achievement is by nature a non-sense grouping. Knowing a person’s race tells me virtually nothing about them, not even what colors will look good on them.

george.odom@med.navy/mil December 23, 2010 - 8:30 am

Once again an excellent conversation starter that i will share with my close circle. Race within the intellect of people started by human tongue and not the Lord for the good of his kingdom is a perfect way to sum this up and is what I obtained from this article…May God Be Praised…Keep Writing…

Your Brother in Christ Jesus,

Rev. L. Hargrave December 23, 2010 - 9:34 am

The prophetic voice takes the Scriptures and allows them to point us toward a better understanding, better relationships and a better life. Peace, Blessings and Good Journey

Everheart March 1, 2011 - 12:51 pm

Wonderful Articles,
I must say that race is something not only for the 21th century but Paul dealt with the same problems head on. It takes an every day commitment. Our old nature, with it’s likes nad dislikes must be put to death/dened by ourselves daily.

Col: 3:11 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its {evil} practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him– {a renewal} in which there is no {distinction between} Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, Slave and Freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Thanks for sharing

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