The Dark Skin Man Did It —  April 19, 2013

The Dark Skin Man Did It

Reflections on Race and Religion

CNN reported this week about the Boston Bombing. Wolf Blitzer and another reporter shared “breaking news” about the suspect.

He was arrested.

He was a man.

He was a “dark skin” man.

Other news agencies jumped on the bandwagon and repeated the same thing, all from credible sources. One problem. It was not confirmed. CNN spent the rest of the afternoon backtracking. Which leads me to my point. Why is it so easy to “go there”? While we have made great progress in race relations, there are still mountains to climb.

What lessons can we learn for our church? Here are three pictures of the church, which depict three very different attitudes. Let’s use a food imagery to convey the message (maybe it’s because today is my 40th day with a no-sugar diet):

1. Different menus.

In many places, different churches are like people going out to eat at different restaurants. Some serve soul food, while others serve tacos, and yet another serves a casserole with potatoes. They believe it’s preferable to have very distinct and specific racial components, and in many places, Sabbath morning continues to be the most segregated time in the week.

2. Melting pot.

Another group believes that the success is becoming a melting pot, where all ingredients lose their individuality and distinctiveness. The code word is uniformity. We all look, think, act and speak alike. Let’s throw them all the pot, and cook them until we have nothing remotely close to what we began with.

3. Salad bowl.

A better way, I believe (and I credit my friend Pr. Allan Machado for this) is a salad bowl approach. In a salad, every ingredient is tossed together, yet each preserves their uniqueness. When combined with the rest on the ingredients, it provides a succulent gastronomic delight.


The best way to confront racism in all its forms is with the gospel. What we don’t confront we condone. What message are you sending people through you lack of confrontation? There is no such thing as an “accidental racist.”

Enjoy your salad.

Thoughts? Share below. Keep comments short, clear and respectful.

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One response to The Dark Skin Man Did It

  1. The problem in our church is a systemic one. We organize along racial lines, which is completely anti-gospel. It is disgraceful that the church is one of the final bastions of segregation. Obviously birds of a feather flock together and where that occurs naturally it is not necessarily a problem. But race is not the only “feather” of groups. There is age, style, geography, etc. Certainly heaven will not be arranged along racial lines and as far as I know bible says that “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God… There is neither Jew nor Gentile.” But in my experience, young pastors are very vocal and in favor of de-segregation (like me), yet when given the opportunity to work together across racial lines the young pastors still endorse the system by maintaining separate youth/young adult/etc committees and events. It is my belief that we cannot expect any widespread “latter rain” until we are actually in “one accord.” We are doing ourselves no favors by continuing to encourage segregation to 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation immigrants or reinforcing pre-civil rights movement segregation and are probably hurting our cause by doing that. Those who doubt our message cite this segregation as proof that the Adventist Church could not possibly be true or “remnant.” We need to toss the salad together and realize that the tapestry of humanity is more than just race or language.