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Reflection – Race and Faith – Howard Thurman

July 26, 2019

I have been following Richard Rohr and his daily reflections. This past week he has been contemplating Howard Thurman, a mystic and mentor of mine from Seminary in the 80’s.

This quote is from The Luminous Darkness: A Personal Interpretation of the Anatomy of Segregation and the Ground of Hope

If being Christian does not demand that all Christians love each other and thereby become deeply engaged in experiencing themselves as human beings, it would seem futile to expect that Christians as Christians would be concerned about the secular community in its gross practices of prejudice and discrimination. If a black Christian and white Christian, in encounter, cannot reach out to each other in mutual realization because of that which they are experiencing in common, then there should be no surprise that the Christian institution has been powerless in the presence of the color bar in society. Rather it has reflected the presence of the color bar within its own institutional life.

On the other hand, if Christians practice brotherhood among Christians, this would be one limited step in the direction of a new order among men. Think of what this would mean. Wherever one Christian met or dealt with another Christian, there would be a socially redemptive encounter. 

As I look at the world today, I have been spending time in contemplation with Dr Thurman and Thomas Merton as I seek to find a way through the darkness that is a present day racist and hate-filled nation and world.

May God have mercy upon us and lead us from the darkness of this hate-filled nation and world into the light and hope which is promised in John 1:5 — The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

From our lips to God’s ear, let us pray and let us act!

  1. Howard Thurman so often has had a wise word for me. He has been one of my spiritual mentors. Thanks for sharing this piece.

    • I am thankful that Wilson Yates introduced me to him all those years ago! BTW, did you know Don and Jan Crissinger-Clark? They graduated in 84 from UTS. Don was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about ten years ago. He passed away yesterday.

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