Last week we almost lynched a minister. Seriously. Pastor Reynolds said the minister came highly recommended from a sister church up north, Pennsylvania I think. We're a refined denominational church in the heart of Louisiana. We weren't too keen about a northerner coming into our neck of the woods.
Anyhow, following the obligatory three hymns, announcements and offering, we were introduced to the Rev. James Jimenez. "Please, call me Jimmie or Pastor Jimmie," he stated right from the get-go. That statement alone could have gotten him lynched. We pride ourselves on being traditionalist in every aspect of our church. Jimmy, indeed!
"Ladies, Gentlemen, Pastor Reynolds, thank you for inviting me into your church. It is a privilege to be here with you. However, to be honest, I'm here to mess with your theology. I have heard numerous sermons over the years about how God is colored-blind. I understand the reasoning, I think, behind the statement. God loves us despite the color of our skin or more accurately, despite the color of someone else's skin. And yet, I believe God loves us because of whom He made us to be which includes the color of our skin. In fact, I do not believe that God is colored-blind when it comes…"
One by one every head in the congregation went up as if we were doing a head wave at a football game; lots of anger could be seen on faces too.
Rev. Jimenez raised his hands, "Now wait a minute. Hear me out on this, please."
From the back of the church, Deacon Stone yelled, "Lynch him!"
Raising his hands once more, the Rev. said, "If you want to lynch me once I'm done, go for it. But first, let me explain why I don't think God is colored-blind when it comes to His greatest creation, us human beings."
At this point things were getting a little warm in the sanctuary, even on this cool day. The reverend made another mistake when he took off his suit jacket. One by one he was tearing down decades of tradition. We'd never seen a minister preach half naked before.
"When God created the world, He said over and over again that it was good. When He created the different shades of green for grass, trees and other foliage, He didn't turn a blind eye to it. He said, 'It is good.' When he created the lovely colors and various shades of flowers, He didn't ignore their beauty. He said, 'It is good'. Are you with me so far?"
Dead silence and stony glares were all we could muster. The mood of the place was most definitely black.
"After creating the universe and our world, He then came to His greatest creation, mankind. Mankind made in His image and likeness. After creating man God said, 'It is very good'."
"In creating humans, He gave our bodies the ability to adapt to various skin pigmentations. Luscious, deep-dark skin tones, delicate light hues and every shade imaginable in between. Why would God make silky, black skin and then ignore what He created? Why would God make smooth, copper skin and then pretend it wasn't so?"
Silence continued to permeate the sanctuary, however, more out of curiosity than anything. Amazingly, a few folks even nodded their heads.
"I propose God is not colored-blind. He embraces every aspect of our beings, including the color of our skin. It's no accident my skin is brown. It is part of God's best plan for me. It's no accident my pastor friend here has white skin. It is part of God's perfect plan for him."
"What would happen if, instead of ignoring each other's differences, we embraced those differences and learned from them? What would happen if we laid down our preconceived ideas of one another? Fear and misconceptions would vanish. We would be able to appreciate each other for whom God made us to be. What would happen if I loved you and accepted you as the glorious creation of God that you truly are? Not despite your skin color, but because of ALL that God has made you to be?"
Pastor Jimmie was interrupted a second time by a young boy. The lad stood and began to sing, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
You know, Jimmie wasn't half bad for a northerner.
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