Understanding race means understanding grace

By June 11, 2015
(Photo courtesy Biblica)

(Photo courtesy Biblica)

USA (MNN) — There are competing narratives circulating about an incident in a planned community called Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.

What started as a pool party with teenagers regressed into a melee that has become a national flashpoint about racism and police tactics. The last 365 days have been brutal on that front: protests that turned to days of violence in Ferguson, MS, and Baltimore, MD.

Carl Moeller, President and CEO at Biblica finds himself wondering, “How did we get to a place where the immediate response of people–black and white–is to defend our viewpoints to the degree that we won’t even recognize injustice, we won’t even recognize brutality…but we also won’t recognize responsibilities for the direction of our culture?”

Although it sounds simplistic, he believes the issue boils down to a culture being shaped by raw emotion. “We don’t live in a complex environment anymore. We want an immediate emotional response to what is happening now, and in so doing, we deprive ourselves of the ability to have a rational discourse on the issues.”

He uses the example of a favorite baseball game or football game: spectators are passionate about the team, and logic doesn’t always enter into the equation. Extrapolate that to major cultural issues like race, poverty, and other similar issues that are fracturing American society. Moeller says if we’re looking at the issue only through the emotional lens, coupled by the instant media phenomenon, it’s clear that we’re not processing the problems rationally.

(Photo courtesy Biblica)

(Photo courtesy Biblica)

The fix? Bible engagement. In order to understand how to BE part of the solution, we have to understand HOW to be part of the solution…it’s part of Truth context. Moeller further explains, “Getting a Bible into someone’s hands does nothing to make sure that the power of God’s Word gets into their lives and gets to transform them.” It’s not Daily Bread devotionals, he says; it’s understanding what God says about issues that haven’t changed over millennia. “When we read the Bible for what it’s worth, we actually see that there’s a context of real life here, and that there were people who struggled with the same issues we struggle with. The problem is: in our culture, we’re not struggling with those issues. We’re just emotionally reacting to those issues because we have no truth context for us to deal with the problem of race relations.”

New Testament letters discuss what a follower of Christ should do with poverty, slavery, race, masters, economics, orphans, and widows.”We’re really trying to get people to understand that the Bible–read in context, read deeply and read well–will actually be the tool that our culture will change through,” adds Moeller.

A couple of the tools Biblica offers to help guide that journey:

(Photo courtesy Biblica)

(Photo courtesy Biblica)

*Community Bible Experience. CBE has one simple goal: to change the way we read the Bible. Less like a reference book, more like a story. For thousands of churches, this 8-week journey has opened up a new conversation about the Scriptures, reigniting a passion for God’s Word. It helps churches immerse themselves in God’s Word, simply by reading and talking about Scripture together. It’s just honest, open conversation about the Bible.

*The Books of the Bible. It’s actually reformatting the Scriptures in the way that they were originally presented to their audience. When you read, you read big, and you read much more in context with the Scripture.

Biblica’s work has changed over the last 205 years. Their mission used to be getting the Bible into people’s hands. Now, it’s getting it into their hearts. Moeller concludes, “My only hope for our culture is that we be able to spread this vision of reading the Bible for what it’s worth, grabbing hold of the deep message of God, of transformation, of love-motivated lives that the Bible talks about, and bring it to our culture in a way that can make a difference, because frankly, nothing else will.”

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