White Evangelicals, White Fundamentalists, and White Baptists: White Americans Don’t Need the Gospel or Compassion, especially not the affluent or middle class
I just wondered (Link): in a post on here the other day if writers from Crosswalk have been to my blog before, because within days of me publishing a post on something, the same material is blogged on their site.
I made a post pointing out that many white (middle to upper class) American Christians have a most strange preoccupation with helping dark-skinned foreign people (and Africa seems to be the preferred area, with some churches opting for Haiti).
I wrote more about that odd situation under the “Side Note” section of (Link): this blog post, and (Link): this post.
Also related to this: I have also written in a prior post or two about this annoying new trend among Christian preachers to make ordinary Christians feel guilty or horrible about living ordinary, everyday lives. These preachers are called “Radical” or “Missional.” You can (Link): read about them here.
Anyway, within a day or two of me mentioning the weird attitude by white middle- to- upper- middle class Christians that only dark-skinned people in Africa need the Gospel and need humanitarian aid, and that they seem to believe that the Gospel is not for white middle class Americans, this page appeared on a Christianity Today blog:
(Link): Suburbia Needs Jesus, Too
Not only are most well-off, white American Christians consumed with caring for dark-skinned Africans (that there are also white people born and raised in Africa seems to escape their attention), but when they do bother to look inwards (ie, to help fellow Americans), they only want to extend a helping hand to extreme sob stories, such as the homeless in the inner city, or crack addicts who are passed out in crack homes all day.
If you’re an “average Joe” or “average Jane” Christian, especially if you are white and in the ‘burbs, and/or if you’re middle class, and you are going through a tragedy in your life large or small (divorce, cancer, your dog just died, your mom just died, you just got laid off from your job, whatever your calamity is) most white American Christians will tell you to get over it or get lost.
Most white American Christians will not offer to give you – if you are a fellow white Christian – a couple hundred bucks for groceries, or offer to mow your lawn while you recover from your surgery, nor will they offer to sit and listen as you sob your eyes out.
Oh no. No no no. God forbid a white middle- to- upper- middle class Christian show compassion to any other white/middle class Christian who is going through a tribulation.
Most often, not always, but very very frequently, white, middle class, American Christians will say things to another hurting white Christians when said Christian approaches them for sympathy or help, such as…
- – “You live in the richest nation in the world. You have in-door plumbing. Two thirds of the world have to pee in a hole in the ground in 20 degree weather. You have it better than starving orphans in Africa, so shut up.”
– “You’re not homeless. You’re not an abused wife living in a domestic abuse shelter.
So what if your husband of 25 years just said he doesn’t love you and wants to run off with his 23 year old secretary, who he’s been having sex with the last six months?
You could have life much worse, you know.You still have life more comfy-cozy than those homeless shelter people, so quiet down.”
-“Get over it!”
[I wrote a post about (Link): “Get Over It” here]
– “Stop your crying and whining about your grandma dying last week, you big baby! You should be over that by now!
Don’t you realize how blessed you are? You have central heating in winter and an in-door toilet! Street urchins in India who get sold as prostitutes would give their right arm to have your life.”
Yep, I have been on the receiving end of those types of comments first hand (and in my time of deepest pain), I’ve heard other Christians use those remarks against other hurting Christians, and blowhard preachers (such as John Hagee) like to shout those kinds of things at their audiences.
So, according to a large percentage of white evangelical, fundamentalist, and Baptists, if you’re not a homeless crack addict who has to pee in a hole in the ground, your life is totally great at all times, and you deserve no help, no love, no empathy and no compassion.
When Jesus spoke of the Great Commission, I don’t recall him telling people “feel free to omit white middle class suburbia.”
When Jesus said to love others as you love yourself, He didn’t offer any disclaimers, such as, “Oh yeah, disciples? About the “love one another” command? You can exclude white, middle class Americans from that, and anyone who isn’t living in a homeless shelter, a crack house, and anyone who isn’t living in dire poverty in third world nations.”
Nor do I recall Jesus saying He came to die for the sins of everyone except for white, middle to upper middle class Americans. I think, if you’re going by the Bible, that white Americans are sinners too and need a Savior. White people are not sinless and perfect.
Here is an excerpt from “Suburbia Needs Jesus, Too” by Andrea Palpant Dilley which hits on some of these points (though, oddly, she feels only middle class mothers are the recipients of this “radical” message – they are not):
- The New Radicals mean no harm. In fact, they mean great good. They want justice. They want change. They want complacent Christians pushed out of their comfort zones and into the slums of a suffering world. What’s wrong with that?
Here’s what: Their vision has the potential to leave suburban moms looking like lazy Christians. It’s driven by a stereotypically male way of thinking that often values the dramatic over the mundane and loses sight of people who engage the greater good through the invisible monotony of home-making, childrearing, and other unseen acts of service.
… By New Radical standards, we moms aren’t Christian enough unless we’re serving at a soup kitchen in the inner city or adopting orphans from Ethiopia.
In my early 20s, I lived by this vision. I served the urban homeless, worked with welfare families, and volunteered with orphans in the slums of Nairobi. I beat my fists against my chest in a spiritual war cry for global justice and swore never to set foot in the insular space of suburbia. Nominal, consumer Christians lived in suburbia, I thought. Real Christians were out on the frontlines fighting for great causes. Then I got married, had kids, and settled down in a cookie-cutter neighborhood of Austin, Texas, where I found myself forced to rethink what it meant to follow Christ and serve humanity in the context of the suburbs.
I’m still trying to figure it out. My days are filled with activities that would make David Platt yawn with boredom: I change diapers. I scrub pee out of carpets. I wipe vomit off the kitchen floor.
…The larger Protestant culture has for some time had a tendency to value public, “big time” do-gooders like evangelists, pastors, and missionaries over private, “small time” do-gooders, including mothers and many others. But as per Paul’s heed in 1 Corinthians 12, “There are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one” (ESV).